JERUSALEM (AP) _ In their first open confrontation with Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Jewish settlers mobilized today against the planned evacuation of 15 West Bank hilltops.

The settlers said they would protest in nonviolent ways but would not voluntarily leave the outposts. If soldiers dragged them and their mobile homes away, settler spokesman Yehoshua Mor-Yosef said, they would return ``again and again'' with tents.

The settlers were fuming over Barak's announcement Tuesday that 15 illegal outposts would soon be removed, and that the residents of 16 other outposts would be barred from continuing construction.

Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Haim Ramon said it would take a few days for the evacuation to begin. He said he hoped ``heated talk'' about resistance would not materialize.

The evacuation plan has threatened Barak's uneasy pact with the new, more moderate settler leadership.

Barak had pledged to include settlers in decisions about their status in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for their promises not to surprise him with new settlements.

But Mor-Yosef said Barak crossed a line in ordering the outposts evacuated.

``If we agree now to evacuating settlements,'' he said, ``it will be even harder (to stop) later.''

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh warned that failure to comply with the government's decision would jeopardize future cooperation with the settlers, who have tried to influence settlement policy through dialogue.

The settlers also have wanted to avoid belligerent demonstrations, which might alienate other Israelis ahead of a referendum on the final agreement with the Palestinians. The Palestinians want full control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they plan to establish a state.

Barak, though, said he wanted to annex most West Bank settlements, and the settlers have insisted the settlements shoulf remain with Israeli.

Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy, a patron of the Jewish settlement movement, strongly protested the planned evacuation. But he said he would remain in the government to soften future blows, his aide, Yitzhak Rath, said.

Levy, who is from the National Religious Party, has used his state position to issue bids for 2,600 new homes for Jews in the West Bank, a move Barak approved Sunday.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the construction was crippling efforts to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians by February.

``If these (bids) are carried out, it will deprive the peace process of credibility,'' Erekat said.

Erekat rejected Barak's distinction between state-approved settlements and illegal ones, saying that all settlements were illegal under U.N. resolutions governing occupied territory.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem during the 1967 Mideast War.