Jewish protesters clashed with security forces after they entered two Hebron homes that had been evacuated.
Police and soldiers used stun guns and tear gas Wednesday afternoon to quell rioting by dozens of protesters after they were removed from the Shapira House, a three-story building that the Jewish community of Hebron said it purchased. The house was evacuated and sealed by a High Court of Justice order in May 2006.
The protesters then entered another home that had been evacuated of Jewish residents.
Some 30 settler youth were arrested on Wednesday. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was scheduled to meet with settler leaders Wednesday evening to discuss ways to calm the situation.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday decried the youths’ actions at a state memorial service for Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.
“There are some phenomena which are intolerable, and my government will not be able to accept them,” Olmert said. “The dispute over the land of Israel is legitimate, and the desire to leave a mark of Jewish presence in the holiest and most important of our cities is obvious. However, this desire cannot be more powerful than a court decision.
“I love the Jewish community of Hebron and have an enormous respect for its devotees, residents and guardians. However, once the Supreme Court of Justice has ruled that a specific structure should be evacuated, it will be evacuated. I will not allow anyone to challenge Israeli democracy.”