Israel evicts settlers from disputed Hebron building

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Israel evicts settlers from disputed Hebron building

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Israeli security forces have evicted Jewish settlers from a building they said they had bought from a Palestinian in the West Bank city of Hebron.

There was no violence during the evacuation which has caused bitter divisions in Israel’s mainly right-wing coalition government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted more time for the settlers to present legal evidence of their ownership claim, which Palestinian authorities dispute.

The decision to evacuate has angered Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman but Defence Minister Ehud Barak pushed for the move.

Earlier, Netanyahu said he would ask the government to grant formal status to three West Bank settler outposts built more than a decade ago without state permission. That has sparked speculation he is trying to appease settler leaders angered by the Hebron eviction.

With Middle East divisions deep and the peace process stalled, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers are expected to meet next week.