Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has arrived in the United States, seeking President Bush's strong endorsement for Israel's scheduled withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

The two leaders are to meet Monday at the president's Texas ranch, for talks also expected to focus on Israel's plan to expand its largest West Bank settlement.

Israel insists on building 3,500 new homes in the Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem. But U.S. officials have said the plan is at odds with the U.S.-backed "roadmap" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

In Jerusalem, Israeli police deployed in force Sunday to head off ultranationalist Jews who threatened to occupy a site sacred to Muslims and Jews.

Authorities say about 200 protesters were blocked from entering the hill-top compound known to Muslims as the Nobel Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.