Israeli police have cracked down on ultra-nationalist demonstrators trying to block one of the main roads into Jerusalem.
The government has authorised tough tactics to break up the crowds protesting against the planned pullout from the Gaza Strip. Young radicals have been trying to disrupt rush-hour traffic. Around 6,000 police have been deployed for the operations across Israel. Children have been taking part in some of the demonstrations. Police have been systematically arresting those they consider to be ringleaders. The protesters oppose the evacuation of all 8,500 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, a plan that is due to go into action in mid-August. Near Gush Katif in southern Gaza hardline settlers from the West Bank were dragged out of a derelict building on Palestinian territory. Nine people were arrested. Mainstream settler groups have called for passive protest. Hard-line nationalists see the land as their Biblical birthright. Polls show a majority of Israelis support the project to withdraw from the coastal strip.