An Israeli military commander in charge of the West Bank has told an Israeli newspaper that Jewish settlers in the territory have increased attacks against Palestinians and Israeli forces.

In an interview with the Ha'aretz newspaper published Thursday, Major General Gadi Shamni called the rise in settler violence a "very grave phenomenon."

Shamni said the majority of the 300,000 settlers in the West Bank act "normally." He attributed the violence to a few hundred activists.

The presence of Jewish settlers in Palestinian territories has been a major obstacle to the two sides reaching a peace agreement.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said Israel will have to withdraw from almost all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to create peace.

In a separate development Thursday, police questioned Mr. Olmert for two hours about the corruption allegations that led him to announce his resignation. It was the eighth time police have questioned him in their probe, and officials say another round is likely.