Defense minister issues a warning: Security forces would not allow lawbreakers to disrupt the disengagement process, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said during a meeting with commanders Tuesday.
“There are some pullout objectors who are in the Gaza Strip illegally…they are exploiting this today in order to disrupt the orderly departure of those families who want to leave (Gaza) in the first 48 hours,” he said.
Gaza Infiltrators caught (Video: Israel Police)
“We’re a democratic country that made a democratic decision,” Mofaz stressed. “For some of the residents this is a difficult and painful process, and it’s a difficult and painful process for us too. But everything must be done within the bounds of the law.”
Mofaz toured the south with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Southern Command head Dan Harel.
"We are presently at the most important stage of the pullout process, which is the stage where Gaza Strip residents are voluntarily leaving, and as long as we succeed in allowing them to leave with confidence, honor and sensitivity, the continuation of this process will be much easier."
Mofaz to Palestinians: Do not hurry with celebrations
IDF troops and Israel Police are faced with one of the most difficult, complex and sensitive missions, Mofaz said.
"We are currently in the first 48 hours of the "Brotherly Hand" disengagement plan, we are making every effort to provide help and assistance and to ensure that the evacuation of the residents is as orderly and safe as possible."
The defense minister confirmed that the order in which the Gaza Strip settlements are to be evacuated will only be determined Tuesday night, following a meeting with defense establishment officials.
Mofaz also sent a firm message to the Palestinians.
"Do not hurry with your celebrations," he said. "The time difference between the stage when Gaza residents are to leave and when the IDF is to leave will be about four weeks to one month, and during this period Palestinians will not be allowed to enter the area - this was relayed to them (Palestinians) at every coordination meeting."
"In my opinion, it did not penetrate into their consciousness, and it is important for us to stress this point, in light of the Palestinian festivities," he said.