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"Settlers and Palestinians hurled stones at each other in the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday before Israel Defense Forces soldiers separated the two sides," the army and Palestinian witnesses said.

"Two Palestinians and two settlers were injured in the clashes," they said. One of the Palestinians is a researcher with the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

An IDF spokeswoman said the clashes erupted near a building whose ownership is disputed. Settlers have been defying a November 16 ruling by Israel's High Court that they must leave what they dubbed the "Peace House" or face eviction.

About 150 settlers, some armed, moved into the building, on the boundary line of Palestinian neighborhoods, in March 2007, saying they had bought it from its Palestinian owner. The man denies having sold the building.

The Defense Ministry said it was negotiating with the settlers to leave the building voluntarily within a 30-day period allowed under Israeli law.

Hebron, in the West Bank, has been a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Some 650 settlers live in fortified enclaves guarded by IDF troops in the heart of the city of 180,000 Palestinians.