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Pullout Begins

Fire in Neve Dekalim Photo: AP
Fire in Neve Dekalim Photo: AP
 
Female soldier in tears Photo: AP
Female soldier in tears Photo: AP
 
Praying before the evacuation Photo: Yaron Brenner
Praying before the evacuation Photo: Yaron Brenner
 
Road blocked in Morag Photo: Aya Ben-Amos
Road blocked in Morag Photo: Aya Ben-Amos
 
Soldiers arrive in Gaza Photo: GIl Yohanan
Soldiers arrive in Gaza Photo: GIl Yohanan
 
 

Clashes, tears in Neve Dekalim

Thousands of soldiers, police enter Neve Dekalim, force infiltrators onto buses; heartbreaking scenes at community synagogues. Several other communities to be evacuated Wednesday. In some communities, residents agree to leave voluntarily. Disengagement Authority: About 60 percent of Gush Katif residents already left

By Ynet Reporters
Latest Update: 08.17.05, 12:01 / Israel News

(VIDEO) Evacuation under way: Hundreds of youngsters who barricaded themselves in a Neve Dekalim synagogue Wednesday left it after rabbis and former Knesset Member Hanan Porat instructed them to disrupt evacuation forces. The youngsters, who were told to sit on the ground and prevent buses from leaving, are clashing with police.

 

“We have the power to exhaust the system,” Porat said.

 

Earlier, Thousands of police and soldiers who entered Gush Katif’s “capital” Neve Dekalim Wednesday morning evacuated dozens of infiltrators from synagogues in the community and forced them onto buses.

 

Some of the youngsters left quietly and boarded the buses sobbing, while others clashed with security forces.

  

Evacuation in Neve Dekalim (Video: Channel 2)

 

Security forces asked residents to remain in their homes in order to isolate the infiltrators, but some of the infiltrators stormed a bus and broke its windows. At 10 a.m., a first bus carrying evacuated youngsters made its way out of the Gaza Strip. The youngsters were crying and yelling: “Get out of here, how can you enjoy the expulsion of Jews.”

 

Meanwhile, the settlements of Bdolah, Morag, and Ganei Tal,Tel Katifa, Atzmona, Kerem Atzmona, Gan-Or, and Shalev are also expected to be evacuated on Wednesday.

 
Neve Dekalim: A convoy of security forces entered Neve Dekalim at 8 a.m. Wednesday to prepare for the evacuation. IDF Central Command Head Dan Harel entered the home of Gaza Beach Regional Council Head Avner Shimoni at 8:15, followed by troops who entered the community and began the evacuation.

 

In the first house the soldiers entered, settlers began yelling at them in tears: “Why are you kicking us out of our home? How can you do this? Tell us why.” Family members began breaking everything in the house in order not to leave anything intact.
 
Heartbreaking scenes took place at the synagogue where hundreds of men, women, and youngsters prayed in tears while attempting to smile and sing.

 


Settler removed in Neve Dekalim (Photo: AFP)

 

About 65 percent of residents in the community – more than 300 families – left before the evacuation began. Before the forces arrived, residents were able to hold a morning prayer session, with the cantor crying with the worshippers. Youngsters are expected to barricade themselves in synagogues later in the day and study Torah until they are evacuated.
 
A new Torah scroll was taken into the Ashkenazi synagogue in the community, with rabbis inside unable to stop the tears from flowing.
 
Another touching moment took place after a group of settlers sat down in a circle with several police officers. At one point, dozens of settlers and troops sang songs together, including Israeli classic Ein Li Eretz Aheret (I Have No Other Country,) with dozens of residents joining in.
 
Morag: About 200 police officers entered Morag aggressively in light of information about residents barricading themselves at their homes with sticks and stones.
 

Residents set a garbage dumpster on fire, with black smoke seen rising above the houses. More dumpsters were prepared throughout the community ahead of time with the intention of setting them on fire as well as forced enter the settlement.
 
Ganei Tal: As opposed to ongoing clashes at Neve Dekalim, Ganei Tal residents have agreed to leave their community Wednesday afternoon.

 

"The residents of Ganei Tal have agreed to leave peacefully following the afternoon prayer service at 1 p.m.," said a press release. Residents said they were instructed to leave their homes by community Rabbi Gabi Kadosh.

 

"Some individuals may decide to stay and fight, but the rabbi told us to leave," they said.

 

Around 10 a.m., an IDF force entered the home of Knesset Member Zvi Hendel, who resides in the community. Hendel received the troops in his living with watermelon and said there is no one who can explain to him what utility the pullout will serve.

 


Troops move in (Photo: AFP)

 

“The entire army turned into yes men,” he said.

 

By Tuesday afternoon, just 17 of the 85 families who lived at Ganei Tal had left. Currently, there are approximately 150 people there.

 

Atzmona: IDF sources say the army is negotiating with residents in an attempt to agree on an evacuation Wednesday. Settlers were given an ultimatum to leave by the afternoon. Later, police said the talks failed.

 

Netzarim: Residents are working on an agreement with the IDF that will see them leaving voluntarily early next week. Once a deal is reached, the residents will leave in an orderly manner and the IDF would not have to evacuate the community by force

  
Shirat HaYam: Residents woke up to a tense morning, but quiet has been maintained, with the threat of evacuation in the backdrop. Community spokeswoman Hana Pickar said residents decided to offer strong resistance to the evacuation but not to resort to violence. Decisions in the settlement are taken democratically through a vote, she said.
 
Kerem Atzmona: Yeshiva students staying in the community have agreed to leave voluntarily at 1 p.m.
 
Bdolah: Security forces are negotiating with settlers the possibility of a voluntary evacuation. As a result, the planned forced evacuation has not materialized at this time.
 


Soldiers touched by difficult scenes (Photo: AP)
 
Tel Katifa: IDF commander Agai Yechezkel said the army reached an agreement with residents to refrain from using force.

 

“I assume that before noon the residents will start preparing for their departure,” he said. Sources in the area said a final decision has not yet been made by settlers but in any case it is clear there will be no violence.
 
Netzer Hazani: Settlement leaders and IDF forces agree on a 24-hour extension that would allow residents to prepare for their departure and bring in 400 shipping containers. Community spokeswoman Anita Toker said: “We haven’t committed ourselves to leaving within 24 hours, but the army’s entry today would have led to panic and possibly violence. Our protest would be passive and without violence. About 60 families are still in the community.”

 

60 percent leave Gush Katif
 

Wednesday morning, large convoys carrying soldiers left the army camp at Re'im, near Gaza, on the way to several settlements in Gush Katif. At one point, dozens of anti-pullout protesters blocked the road to Gaza's Kissufim junction, forcing the convoys to stop.

 

The protesters sat on the road, singing the national anthem, and refused to budge, but police forces called to the scene began clearing the road for the buses.

 

A convoy comprising hundreds of vehicles, including buses, trucks, and police cruisers, entered Gaza at 6 a.m. through the Kissufim crossing.

 

Meanwhile, the Disengagement Authority said about 60 percent of Gush Katif residents, or 850 families, left their homes voluntarily before the evacuation began. About 180 families arrived in hotels Wednesday morning.

  

Ynet reporters in the field:

 

Efrat Weiss, Neve Dekalim

Ronny Sofer, Neve Dekalim

Ilan Marciano, Neve Dekalim

Yaron Brenner, Neve Dekalim

Hanan Greenberg, Morag

Roee Nahmias, Ganei Tal

Aya Ben-Amos, Morag

Miri Chason, Netzer Hazani

Ahiya Raved, Shirat HaYam

Tani Goldstein, Tel Katifa

Doron Sheffer, Kissufim

Attila Somfalvi, with the forces

Diana Bahur-Nir, Disengagement Authority

 

 

 

First Published: 08.17.05, 07:16

 

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