MITZPEH YITZHAR, West Bank (AP) _ For more than a year, 10 young Jewish men lived in tents on a sun-drenched West Bank hill, sleeping on the ground and dreaming of a permanent presence in this disputed land.

That ended, at least for now, in a violent confrontation between the 10 men, backed by hundreds of other settlers, and Israeli soldiers who dismantled the makeshift outpost as dictated by a U.S.-backed peace plan.

Under a baking sun Thursday, the two sides fought a desperate tug of war over each chair, table and brick on the barren hilltop. At times they looked like two brawling football teams battering each other on a dusty sandlot field, with injured players hauled away on stretchers. About 30 people were hurt, none seriously.

Many Orthodox Jews among the settlers and their backers believe Israel has a God-given right to the West Bank, and settler rabbis have forbidden abandonment of any territory. Others believe the settlements are vital to Israel's security.

Critics counter that the settlements force Israel to maintain a military presence in the West Bank. A majority of Israelis favor a peace agreement that includes leaving all or most of the territory.

The confrontation Thursday played out before reporters and cameras and gave a hint of what might come should Israel try to evacuate any of the 150 settlements it has authorized since 1967. About 220,000 Israelis live in authorized settlements, compared with a few hundred in all the outposts.

Settlers threw purple paint onto the windshield of a military bulldozer to block its progress and set tires on fire to prevent military reinforcements from moving in.

Soldiers pushed forward forcefully, taking apart the makeshift structures and pushing settlers to the ground.

Itzik Sandroy, 22, who founded the Mitzpeh Yitzhar outpost months ago, certain that he was fulfilling a biblical injunction to populate all of the Land of Israel with Jews _ including those parts with a Palestinian majority.

Sandroy prayed as soldiers advanced on his tent in mid-afternoon, ripping out tables and file cabinets.

He said he was not afraid to stay in an area where many Palestinians live. ``God is with someone willing to sacrifice his life for the Land of Israel,'' he said.

Yossi Peli, 34, from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, said he had seen similar struggles in the past, and that one way or another most unauthorized outposts still survived.

As the setting sun washed the hills in a soft pink light, the settlers stacked cinder blocks on the foundations of their ruined homes, waiting for the next confrontation with the army.

``Tomorrow we will be here again on this hill, or on other hills,'' Peli said.