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Gaza wrapped up; West Bank next
by reposts
Monday Aug 22nd, 2005 9:53 PM
HOMESH, WEST BANK -- With virtually all Jewish settlers evacuated Monday from the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces began moving early today on two West Bank settlements where commanders fear there will be violent confrontations with anti-withdrawal activists.
At least 5,000 unarmed troops equipped with riot gear were to enter Homesh and Sanur to remove remaining families and an estimated 1,800 ultranationalist protesters who have infiltrated the two settlements in recent weeks.

The isolated settlements are two of four in the area set for evacuation as part of the government's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and a small corner of the northern West Bank.

On Monday, the army finished clearing out Netzarim, the last of the 21 Gaza settlements to be emptied. Like their 8,000 neighbors ahead of them, the 500 people of Netzarim prayed one last time in their synagogue. Amid tears and angry shouting, they left in a convoy of cars and armored buses. One family was mistakenly left behind and will leave today.

Residents said they would go to Jerusalem, to pray at the Western Wall, then move together to dormitories at the University of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, a settlement in the West Bank. Before the school year begins, they will move again, as a collective, to reestablish Netzarim, probably in the Negev Desert, said Shlomit Ziv, 35, a teacher.

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Israel finishes evacuation of Gaza settlements

Troops went house to house clearing out Gaza's last Jewish settlement yesterday to wrap up Israel's historic pullout from the coastal strip, even as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would expand large West Bank settlements.

More than 5,000 troops meanwhile headed to two militant West Bank settlements that are to be evacuated today. Security forces braced for confrontations, saying some 2,000 ultranationalist youths holed up there planned to resist violently. Security officials said militants had hoarded stun grenades and tear gas canisters, and planned to hurl burning tires onto rivers of cooking oil.

In Netzarim, the about 600 residents of the farming community, one of Gaza's first settlements, were not expected to put up a fight after reaching an agreement with the military on a quiet departure. After midday prayers, Netzarim settlers were to drive out of Gaza in more than 30 armored buses and head to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest shrine, and from there to temporary homes in a West Bank settlement.

Yesterday morning, workers removed a Jewish candelabra, or menorah, from the roof of the synagogue before troops entered in large numbers and told residents and an unknown number of sympathizers it's time to go.

"We need a miracle so that we might stay here again tonight," said Jonathan Weinberg, 21, who came to Netzarim from the West Bank settlement of Hashmonaim to reinforce the settlers here.

Around midday, hundreds crowded the synagogue for final prayers.

Some residents found solace in continuing with their everyday lives. Workers poured concrete to create a foundation for the roof of the Meshulami family's new house.

Shlomo Keshet, a resident of Netzarim and the father of five, was packing car seats into the family van and preparing to relocate to a dormitory in a college in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Residents, he said, agreed not to resist evacuation violently.

"We agreed not to fight or to cause problems," Keshet said.

"They are very bad neighbors," said Saadi Helo, 44, a Palestinian farmer. "They turned our lives into nightmares. They occupied the land, leveled our farms, demolished our houses, killed our beloved and spared no effort to attack us."

Many Evicted Gaza Settlers Go to West Bank, at Least at First

OFRA, West Bank, Aug. 22 - A distraught Yuval Unterman was carried from his home by Israeli soldiers in a Gaza Strip settlement on Wednesday. After five hours in his family's hot, cramped station wagon, he and his wife and children took up temporary residence in this West Bank settlement.

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by more
Monday Aug 22nd, 2005 9:54 PM
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza — For Abdel Halem Kanan, Israel's withdrawal from Gaza means he might return to the Mediterranean Sea.

Before the Palestinian uprising began in 2000, Kanan was a fisherman who earned a living aboard a 40-foot wooden boat launched from the beach at the Jewish settlements in Gush Katif.

The uprising prompted Israel to close the beach. "I was free, and then I lost my freedom," says Kanan, 34, a father of five who has since been working as a farm laborer. With Israel's pullout, he plans to go back to fishing. "I will be free again soon."

Palestinians in Gaza are celebrating the Israeli withdrawal. But nearly five years of conflict have left Gaza and its 1.4 million residents — who were already poorer than West Bank Palestinians — even more impoverished and isolated.

"The economy is the most important challenge" in Gaza, says Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator with Israel. "It's the key to success. I don't think there will be many days (of grace period) after the Israeli withdrawal. We need to revive hope."

If the authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, can't deliver jobs and opportunities, they risk seeing their legitimacy undermined by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that advocate armed confrontation with Israel. "We don't want extremists to say that this (pullout) was the result of suicide bombings and bullets," Erekat says.

Unemployment among the 3.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank stood at 10% in 2003 but has soared to 25%, according to a 2004 report from the World Bank. Forty-seven percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line, the bank says.

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by Haaretz (reposted)
Monday Aug 22nd, 2005 10:01 PM
By David Ratner, Amos Harel and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondent, and Agencies

Thousands of security forces broke down the gates and poured into Sa-Nur and Homesh on Tuesday morning, anticipating stiff resistance to the evacuation from far-right extremists believed holed up in the two northern West Bank settlements.

Troops moved before daybreak to the outskirts of the two neighboring settlements, where about 2,000 extremists are thought to be waiting with an arsenal of weapons, determined to foil the last stage of Israel's historic disengagement.

Talking with TV Channel 10, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said there were no weapons left in Sa-Nur to the best of his knowledge. "We don't want to give police and army troops any excuses to use violence," he said.

Eldad was speaking from a barricaded roof at the heart of the settlement surrounded by activists preparing for the arrival of evacuating forces.

Television images showed rows of police and soldiers, some in anti-riot gear, gathering outside Sa-Nur and Homesh in the northern West Bank, where they will evacuate the few remaining settlers along with a crowd of "reinforcements," many of them West Bank youths known for extremism and rejection of the government's authority.

Israel Radio reported from the scene that dozens of youths were throwing garbage and bottles at the soldiers, shouting slogans against the evacuation.

In Sa-Nur, teenagers armed with iron rods and shields
barricaded themselves in a stone citadel and a nearby synagogue, and poured oil on approach routes. In Homesh, protesters took over vacated bungalows and draped them in razor wire.

The first troops to enter both settlements were to be Border Police trained in dealing with violence in mass protests. In some cases, troops are equipped with batons.

It is also possible that mounted police and water cannon will be used. The head of the police division that includes the two settlements, Superintendent Yisrael Yitzhak, said that police had internalized the lessons of the battle with pullout foes on the roof of Kfar Darom synagogue.

Military officials said the holdouts had a stash of weapons that may include stun grenades, firebombs and rifles. Police spokesman Avi Zelba said two divisions left their West bank staging areas two hours before sunrise on their way to the settlements.

The army arrested before dawn Tuesday Rabbi Shlomo Eliyahu of Safed and one of his students, who intended to enter Sa-Nur, Israel Radio reported.

The two claimed to have permits to enter the settlement, but the troops refused to let them through. Rabbi Eliyahu has made multiple extreme comments in the past, including calling on soldiers and police to refuse orders under the disengagement plan.

Settlers set IDF troop transport ablaze in West Bank
The Israel Defense Forces and police are expecting fierce resistance Tuesday morning when they come to evacuate the settlements of Sa-Nur and Homesh in the northern West Bank. More than 15,000 soldiers and police officers will participate in the operations.

Young female settlers set an Israel Defense Forces troop transport on fire Monday night and punctured its tires near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim, located south of Sa-Nur and Homesh. There were no casualties in the incident.

Earlier Monday night, dozens of pullout opponents were arrested after blocking a road north of the nearby settlement of Kedumim. Police also arrested Kedumim Mayor Danielle Weiss near Bar-On, in the same area, on Monday night.

The main focus of anti-disengagement resistance is expected to be in Sa-Nur, where many activists from the extreme-right Kach movement and members of the hilltop youth are believed to have set up camp. The security forces are acting on the assumption that some of these pullout foes are carrying firearms, but say there is only a slight chance that any shots will be fired.

"Our problem is with these 'reinforcements,' two or three of whom arrived Monday night, who will not listen to the rabbis' instructions," GOC Central Command Major General Yair Naveh said Tuesday. "It may well be that here we will find our next 'lone terrorist.' This is what is worrying us, and, unfortunately, it is out of our control. We are dealing with youths who, as they see it, just want to protect the Holy Land. Sometimes, they cross the lines of what is legitimate."

Defense officials have intelligence suggesting that extreme right-wingers are planning to hole themselves up in various locations in the two settlements. Some of the activists have apparently stockpiled Molotov cocktails and perhaps even hand grenades.

Senior officers believe that opposition will be much fiercer than the scenes at Kfar Darom last week. One of the places that extremists could try to entrench themselves is in the fortress at Sa-Nur. The IDF has already decided that if this happens, the police's special missions unit will be charged with overcoming and evacuating those barricaded inside.

Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi said Monday evening police were prepared for any possible scenario during the evacuation of Homesh and Sa-Nur.

Sa-Nur secretary Yossi Dagan said reports about the protesters' plans to use violence could be chalked up to attempts by security forces to manipulate the public, and said the right-wing activists would resist the evacuation in a reasonable manner.

35 families leave Homesh voluntarily
Some 35 families held a farewell ceremony in the northern West Bank settlement of Homesh on Monday evening and were to voluntarily leave before security forces began evacuating the settlement.

Five youths, as well as a couple and their ten children, left Sa-Nur voluntarily on Monday. They asked to leave the settlement before the outbreak of possible violent resistance during the evacuation of the settlement, and police escorted them to a bus that transported them from Sa-Nur.
by Becky Johnson
Thursday Sep 15th, 2005 9:12 AM
" Military officials said the holdouts had a stash of weapons that may include stun grenades, firebombs and rifles."

BECKY: These unnamed "Military officials" were wrong. No firebombs or rifles were used against the IDF. The protest was noisy, included people barricading themselves in, and harassing the soldiers urging them to stop their actions. But no one was shot or killed.
by Shmuel
Tuesday Feb 7th, 2006 4:57 AM
How do you turn the IDF statement about finding a cache of weapons into an assertion that none of these weapons were used by the settlers? Is this an example of pre-emptive rationalization?
by Shmuel
Tuesday Feb 7th, 2006 5:07 AM
and a job while I'm at it. Otherwise I wouldn't try to bait Ms. Johnson about a post she made back in Sep. I couldn't find something better to do. I'm too much of a wanker. Someone urgently help me...

by Pro-Israel wanker
Tuesday Feb 7th, 2006 6:10 AM
I have nothing better to do than hover over Indybay 24-7 drooling on my keyboard just waiting for someone like Shmuel to step out of line. I'd get psychiatric help, but there's really only one thing that will work. Anybody got a .44 mag? I'll do it myself. Plleeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzz
by gehrig
Tuesday Feb 7th, 2006 7:10 AM
Toothless: "but there's really only one thing that will work. Anybody got a .44 mag? I'll do it myself."

Tell us more about your suidical thoughts, Toothless. There are apparently still dark areas of your psychopathic psyche you haven't splatted all through Indybay yet.