Photo: Yaron Brenner
Holding on: Young protesters at Kfar Maimon
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Protesters avoiding conflict with police
Photo: AP
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Waiving the flag of protest
Photo: Yaron Brenner

'Only 1,500 remain'

(Video) Police sources say most pullout objectors have left Kfar Maimon; earlier Yesha Council leaders try to stop anti-pullout activists heading out of Kfar Maimon after planned march to Gaza thwarted by security forces

KFAR MAIMON -  (Video) Thousands of soldiers and police officers are encircling Kfar Maimon, despite the fact that security officials estimate that the remaining protesters are weary and would probably disperse to their homes on Thursday morning.


Police sources said only some 1,500 pullout objectors remain in Kfar Maimon, as thousands of protesters are pouring out of the southern village.


However, the Yesha Council said the number of protesters that are keeping their ground is higher.


A senior police official told Ynet, “We presumed the event was over as thousands of protesters were making their way out (of Kfar Maimon). But then the Yesha Council stopped them.”


“I imagine we will have to assess the number of remaining protesters and examine the possibility they may try to break out at the last minute,” he said.


Security officials said the remaining pullout objectors still plan to march toward Kissufim.


Anti-pullout march leaders are trying to mobilize the thousands of demonstrators still staying behind in Kfar Maimon to participate in a renewed march to out of the village’s gates.



Hundreds of protesters have already started to leave Kfar Maimon for home.


Led by rabbis holding Torah scrolls, the demonstrators left Kfar Maimon after their planned protest to Gush Katif was stopped at the village’s gates.


See footage from Kfar Maimon (courtesy of Reuters):


Security forces escorted them to make sure they do not attempt to make their way to Gush Katif; the roads leading to Gaza have been blocked as a precaution.


The Yesha Council tried to stop those leaving and even scrambled a jeep with a loudspeaker to convince them to stay. Many have answered the call and have stopped in a nearby field, while others have tried outflank security personnel.


Security personnel -- about a division and a half in size -- are on hand to prevent the protesters from heading to Gaza.


Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra arrived at Kfar Maimon to view the situation with his own eyes.


Speaking to Ynet, Ezra said, “The settler leaders never came to me and if they did, the situation would not have been different. We would have not allowed the march to Gush Katif and Kissufim.”


Earlier the protesters sang songs and chanted anti-pullout slogans, while rabbis and settler leaders called on them to march toward Gush Katif to thwart the disengagement.



South Mount Hebron Regional Council Head Tzvika Bar-Hai addressed the protesters, saying, “We are continuing on to Gush Katif.”


Security forces formed a “human chain” in a bid to keep the protesters from breaking out of the village, and no clashes were reported. Mounted officers and trucks with water hoses are also positioned in case things heat up.


Yesha Council Chairman Bentzi Lieberman said at a organization meeting of anti-pullout demonstrators, “We are in the midst of historical process of self-sacrifice, perseverance, determination and non-violence.” 


Going to court


Meanwhile, the residents of Kfar Maimom have petitioned the High Court of Justice to end what they say is the illegal police closure of their town.


According the petition, backed by the 300 families in the town, the police have cordoned off Kfar Maimon and damaged the town's crops.


"They are punishing the residents for no reason, just because they allowed the demonstrators to enter and stay there," Moshe Ben-David, a lawyer representing the families said. "We are asking that the government let the residents return to their normal lives."


The petition asks the court to a temporary restraining order on the police to prevent them from entering the town to expel demonstrators and to prevent them from damaging crops and greenhouses.


The High Court will deliberate Thursday on the petition.


פרסום ראשון: 07.18.05, 23:35
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