Radical Jewish settlers seek image makeover with sushi

Radical Jewish settlers from a West Bank outpost with a reputation for violence have set up a sushi business in a bid to revamp their image, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The culinary venture is being run out of Esh Kodesh, a small unauthorised outpost in the northern West Bank populated by settlers who have frequently attacked local Palestinians.

But residents are seeking to add a different flag to their cap -- making sushi to order for a string of settlements and outposts in the area, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot reported.

The enterprise was set up by a woman called Maayan Shaar, who only recently became religious and decided to introduce her neighbours to the Japanese delicacy, quickly converting them into enthusiasts.

One, who had recently opened a bed-and-breakfast, put the dish on the menu and the word spread, with Shaar and her husband now delivering "to even the most remote hilltops beyond the Green Line," the internationally recognised border between the Jewish state and Palestinian territories, the paper said.

Last week, Esh Kodesh hit the headlines after a dozen of its residents entered the nearby Palestinian village of Qusra, and were beaten up by locals fed up with being systematically harassed.

Palestinian officials say Qusra has suffered "continuous assaults" by the settlers, who have shot at them, burnt crops and uprooted their olive trees.

Israel's Peace Now settlement watchdog also said Esh Kodesh residents had "repeatedly attacked" Palestinians in the area, and it urged the government to tear down the outpost.

Outposts are small settlements, often located on hilltops, which are set up without government approval and usually consist of little more than a few trailers.

The international community considers all settlements built on land seized by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War to be illegal.