posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 07:51 AM
During the past 24 hours, factors opposing the disengagement have radicalized their activities in the Gaza Strip, including repeated violations of
the law and order, as well as harm to Palestinian residents of the area. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided on Thursday morning to immediately
impose a closure of the Gaza Strip
ahead of the implementation of this summer's disengagement plan. Non-resident Israelis are banned from Gaza
Strip in bid to keep out far-right extremists; Gush Katif main roads are closed.
The Israel Defense Forces moved to counter Jewish extremist activity in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, declaring the entire area a closed military zone
and banning entry to all Israelis who do not live in Gaza.
Large numbers of police, Border Police and soldiers Thursday stormed the Maoz Yam hotel in the settlement of Neveh Dekalim. The hotel has for weeks
been home to around 100 extreme right-wingers opposed to the disengagement from Gaza, who had surrounded the area with barbed wire and stockpiled
The soldiers had encircled the hotel earlier Thursday, a day after it had been declared a closed military zone.
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On Wednesday, one Palestinian (after beeing injured by a stone following clashes with ultra-radical Jews resisting the planned pullout from the
territory) was being treated by IDF medics when several of the settler youths attacked him, bashing him in the head with stones. An IDF medic then
crouched beside the prostrate Palestinian and called for an ambulance as he warded off additional attackers. The Palestinian was evacuated to Soroka
Hospital in critical condition. Disgusted, some IDF officers characterized the scene as "a near lynch."
Police have set up checkpoints around the northern Negev to bar activists from reaching the Gaza Strip. Busses full of right-wing activists and any
cars that appeared to be transporting anti-pullout activists to Gush Katif were being stopped. In sharp contrast to the IDF spokesman's repeated
assurances that it would allow transparency and free reporting of events in the Strip during the disengagement from Gaza, reporters have been
prevented from entering the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. The IDF also restricted the entrance of other Israeli and foreign reporters
to the area and has ordered reporters from the Ma'ariv newspaper and Israel Radio to leave the Maoz Yam Hotel immediately, Israel Radio reported.
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[edit on 30-6-2005 by Riwka]