NERIA, West Bank — In this land of endless history and ethereal beauty, several thousand Jewish settlers gathered on a dozen West Bank hills with makeshift huts and Israeli flags over several days this week to mark an invented anniversary and defy the American president, conveying to his aides visiting Jerusalem what they thought of his demand for a settlement freeze.
Eleven tiny settler outposts were inaugurated, including one next to this settlement in the rugged Samarian hills. A clearing encompassing a generator and a hut with a corrugated metal roof and a ritual mezuza on its doorpost now bears the name Givat Egoz. This is how nearby Neria, with 180 families, got its start 18 years ago.
“We are rebuilding the land of Israel,” Rabbi Yigael Shandorfi, leader of a religious academy at the neighboring settlement outpost of Nahliel, said during the ceremony. “Our hope is that there will be roads, electricity and water.” The message to President Obama, he said, is that this is Jewish land. He did not use the president’s name, but an insulting Hebrew slang for a black man and the phrase “that Arab they call a president.”
None of the hundreds gathered — mostly couples with large families, but also armed young men and teenagers from other outposts — objected. Yitzhak Shadmi, leader of the regional council of settlements, said Mr. Obama was a racist and anti-Semite for his assertion that Jews should not build here, but Arabs could.
Mr. Shadmi said the ceremonies across the West Bank this week honored a moment in 1946 when Zionists established 11 settlements in the northern Negev of Palestine in defiance of the British rulers before Israel was created. It was important for the new outposts to be established while Washington’s emissaries were visiting, he said. George J. Mitchell, the special envoy for the Middle East, who is pressing the settlement freeze, was in the West Bank at the start of the week.
The national security adviser, James L. Jones, and a White House adviser on the region, Dennis B. Ross, held meetings in Jerusalem on Wednesday as part of the negotiations, which also include attempts to get Arab governments and Palestinians to reciprocate if the Israelis agree to the freeze.
“We wanted to do this while they were here,” Mr. Shadmi said. “We’re saying, ‘Mitchell, go home.’ ”
When the settlement of Neria was created in 1991, it had a similar purpose. Yossi Dermer, spokesman for the settlement, said it was known slyly to intimates as “the James Baker settlement” because it was set up to convey a message of defiance before a visit by James A. Baker III, secretary of state for the first President George Bush.
Because West Bank settlements officially require Israeli government approval and the new outposts did not obtain it, the Israeli police have dismantled several of the new ones already. But just as quickly, they are being rebuilt, sometimes a bit bigger. At nearly every outpost, the ruins left by past police actions lie next to newly built huts.
“We’ll build and build, and every time they destroy it we will build bigger and better and prettier,” asserted Tirael Cohen, a 16-year-old girl who lives at Ramat Migron, an extension of the unauthorized Migron outpost, not far from Ramallah, a large Palestinian city in the West Bank. Ruined corrugated metal and pieces of wood were strewn on the ground nearby.
Tirael has lived at Ramat Migron for a year and a half with 10 other girls, and, at a religiously modest distance away, 10 boys live in a separate structure. The girls cook, the boys build and maintain, and all study at nearby religious academies.
About 40 religious girls from within Israel and West Bank settlements spent three days at Ramat Migron last week in what they called “spiritual preparation” for coming battles over the land.
On the outside wall of the kitchen is a rabbinical quotation about the need to redeem the land of Israel. It says “bare mountains and deserted fields cry out for life and creation,” and adds: “An internal revolution is taking place here, a revolution in man and the earth. These are the true pains of salvation.”
The Migron outpost itself is expected to be taken down because it is built on land that, according to a court case, belongs to private Palestinian families. Centuries-old olive trees dot the landscape.
The Obama administration is hoping to help establish a Palestinian state in nearly all of the West Bank next to Israel. One major challenge is what to do with the 300,000 Israeli Jews who have settled here over four decades, often at their government’s urging.
Many could be incorporated into Israel through a border adjustment; others say they would move if compensated. But some, like these outpost settlers, say they will never move because they believe they are fulfilling God’s plan with every hut they put up. They are likely to be a major stumbling block to any attempt to find a two-state solution.
At the Neria outpost celebration, Noam Rein, a father of 10, looked out across the hills at Ramallah and called its presence “temporary.”
He added: “The Torah says the land of Israel is for the Jewish people. This is just the beginning. We will build 1,000 homes here. The Arabs cannot stay here, not because we hate them, but because this is not their place.”
Among the religious leaders who spoke at the ceremony, Rabbi Yair Remer of Harasha, a nearby outpost, noted that Thursday was the Ninth of Av, a Jewish day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the ancient temples. He suggested that the best way to cope with the tragedy of Jewish history was to do what the young builders of this outpost were doing.
“The land rejoices because its children are returning to her,” he said, referring to Jewish settlers, making no mention of the 2.5 million Palestinians here.
Tirael, the teenager from Ramat Migron, put it another way: “I believe that every inch of this land is us, our blood. If we lose one inch, it is like losing a person.”