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Photo: Tzafrir Abayov
Just the beginning?
Photo: Tzafrir Abayov
Standoff in Gaza
Hundreds stream to Maoz Hayam to prevent IDF raid; nearby, settlers establish 'Tel Yam' neighborhood in memory of Tali Hatuel
GUSH KATIF - Some 600 settlers and their supporters streamed to the Maoz Hayam hotel Monday night in Gush Katif, following rumors IDF forces planned to storm the building.

 

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a veteran right-wing activist and spokesman for the hotel “guests” told Ynet the hotel has become a symbol of the struggle against disengagement and the government’s policy of expelling Jews from the Land of Israel.

 

“Hundreds of people have come here over the last week in ‘honor’ of the police and the army. It sends a clear message to the prime minister – you can’t make your own decisions. In reality, thousands of supporters will prevent this expulsion,” he said.

 

10 buses within hours 

 

The alarm went out for anti-disengagement activists both inside and outside Gaza to come to the hotel Monday evening. Within hours, some 10 buses full of teenagers arrived from Ramat Gan, Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, Sderot and other settlements.

 

One of the arrivals was 85-year-old Yenta Kockmange of Beit Shemesh, who told Ynet she came “to cry.”

 

“I have a lot of energy for the Land of Israel,” she said. “I say (Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon has lost his mind. I am here, at this hotel, to say that the Gaza Strip, too, is part of the Land of Israel.”

 

Sleeping bags all around

 

The Gaza Absorption Authority, headed by Datia and Aryeh Yitzhaki, organized sleeping bags for those who came without. Inside the hotel, preparations were made for hundreds of people to sleep, some of whom have no intention of leaving the radical-right hotel in coming days.

 

“This is the only way we can prevent the evil intentions of the security forces to illegally enter the hotel,” said Yitzhaki.

 

About two kilometers (1.25 miles) south of the hotel, a group of about 30 teenagers continued to entrench themselves in an abandoned Palestinian house by placing a mezuzah on the doorpost, as well as an armed guard to protect the teens sleeping inside. They also hung a sign on the door saying the outpost would be called “Tel Yam,” in memory of Tali Hatuel, a Gaza resident who was killed with her four children by a Palestinian terrorist last year.

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פרסום ראשון: 06.28.05, 02:19
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