"The Gaza Strip has been closed today based on the decision of the Israeli government and today another phase begins," said Brig. Gen. Guy Tsur, a
Today marked the day in which Isreal is forcing its residents to move out of the Gaza Strip and back into mainland. The withdrawal, marking the
first time Israel gives up settled land claimed by the Palestinians for their future state, comes after months of political wrangling and mass
protests. On Sunday, Israeli troops took up positions to launch the evacuation and Palestinian security forces fanned out to prevent militant
Israel lowered a road barrier sealing the Gaza Strip to Israeli civilians at midnight Sunday _ signaling the start of a historic withdrawal that
will end its 38-year occupation, redraw borders and reshape prospects for Mideast peace.
But several hundred settlers vowed to stay in their homes and ignore orders to leave Gaza within 48 hours. They were reinforced by up to 5,000
hard-line activists from outside Gaza who planned to block forceful evictions.
Trouble surfaced shortly after the ceremony when hundreds of protesters from the largest settlement, Neve Dekalim, blocked the main road, stopping
army vehicles and scuffling with soldiers. At Netzer Hazani, troops cleared three highway lamp posts that had been stretched across the road to block
them from passing.
At the border, soldiers lowered a red road barrier at the Kissufim Crossing between Israel and Gaza, with a sign on the barrier reading: "Stop, entry
into the Gaza Strip and presence there is prohibited by law."
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Squads of Israeli soldiers entered the first Gaza settlement on Monday hours after the army set a 48-hour deadline for settlers to evacuate all
Jewish enclaves in the occupied territory under a pullout plan.
Dozens of troops moved into the northern Gaza settlement of Nissanit to secure the mostly secular enclave, which was already almost completely
abandoned, witnesses said. Some settlers in the main Gush Katif settlement bloc, further to the south, hav vowed to resist evacuation.
Ignoring the Deadline, thousands remain:
Cages ready to be used to move defilers:
Thousands of Jewish settlers defied an Israeli government order to leave the Gaza Strip by midnight Sunday, and Israel's security forces were
poised to evacuate the settlers and their supporters in a huge operation that has sharply divided the nation.
The pullout comes a year and a half after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, for decades a leading advocate of settlement building, declared his intention
to withdraw from Gaza. Mr. Sharon has argued that Israel can no longer afford the costs of maintaining 21 heavily fortified Jewish settlements in the
coastal strip, and that Israel's security will be strengthened by removing them.
After nearly five years of Israeli-Palestinian bloodletting, Mr. Sharon's initiative marks the most important political development of recent years
and is sure to shape future relations between the two sides.
If the Israeli withdrawal goes relatively smoothly, and if the Palestinian leadership can establish order in Gaza, it would increase the prospects for
a return to negotiations. But if the pullout or its aftermath leads to further conflict, Gaza could represent an impediment to any future peace
efforts.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
For the most diehard Jewish settlers, the last view of their doomed homes on the Gaza coast is likely to be from a cage as it swings high over
the uniform red roofs, whitewashed walls and neatly tended gardens to deliver them to the security forces.
At midnight, as the deadline passed for Israelis to leave the 17 condemned settlements in the Gaza Strip and four small ones in the northern West
Bank, the government was still banking on most of the 8,000 settlers going quietly.
Prime minister Ariel Sharon has tried to lure them out with generous compensation packages far above the true value of the properties left behind and
with appeals to consider the national good.
But at the same time, the army has spent months planning for the unwelcome prospect of prising out those who intend to make a last stand in defence of
Israel's most controversial colonies. Tens of thousands of soldiers and police have been trained to remove the settlers "with determination and
sensitivity", riot control methods have been softened up from those used against Palestinians, and plans have been laid to move the last settlers by
sea if all else fails.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
This must be a very traumatic event for the people living inside the Gaza Strip. I'm sure most of them realised it was coming sooner or later, but
regardless, to be forced to move from your home must be antagonizing.
Though, on the flip side of the coin, returning the contested land to Palestine is a good first step to possibly end the conflict in that region.. I
hope things boil down, and the land is used for settlement, and not a terrorist base like many Israeli politicians claim.. We shall see..
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[edit on 16-8-2005 by John bull 1]