HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained four Israeli and international protesters and "beat" several others on Friday while violently dispersing a protest against the confiscation of a Palestinian building in Hebron in order to re-establish a Jewish settlement on the site, activists said.
The protest in the flashpoint southern West Bank city began on Friday after noon prayers as protesters marched towards the building owned by the Rajabi family in the al-Ras area in the center of Hebron.
Demonstrators raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in Arabic, English and Hebrew rejecting a recent Israeli court decision to confiscate the building and hand it to Jewish settlers.
Israeli forces fired stun grenades and held protesters away from the building.
Organizers said that Israeli forces detained two international and Israeli activists and tried to detain Palestinians as well but were prevented by demonstrators from doing so.
An activist in the Committee for the Defense of Hebron Anan Dana said the court decision to confiscate the house "would put the lives and properties of thousands of Palestinians who live in the vicinity at risk of more attacks and violations."
He added that control over the building would link the large nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba to a number of Jewish outposts within Hebron's Old City.
An Israeli court decision on March 11, 2014 authorized the confiscation of the Rajabi building, which Jewish settlers claim to have purchased from the Rajabi family.
Jewish settlers took over the building in 2007 for more than a year, during which time Palestinian residents of the area complained of frequent harassment and attacks.
The settlers were forcibly removed by Israeli forces in late 2008, but have since been attempting to force authorities to allow them to return to the building.
Organizers said that another protest will be held on Saturday in Tel Aviv in order to pressure the Israeli minister of defense not to approve the court’s decision, which was made nearly a month ago.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that a "riot of 100 people" occurred in Hebron on Friday.
She said that "soldiers arrived at the scene in order to disperse the riot," adding that "they detained four main instigators: two of them Israelis and two tourists."
Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Jewish settlers in the Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli forces.
Settlers and Israeli forces regularly target local Palestinians for harassment, and many have been forced from their homes as a result.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.