Settlers help infiltrators into Gaza
Photo: Ilan Marciano
Not all infiltration attempts are successful
Gaza squatters sneak in quietly
Like something out of a James Bond movie, settlers from the Gaza settlement bloc of Gush Katif use collaborating drivers and children with fake aliases to smuggle in right-wingers to the area despite a military ban; Organizer says there are 'thousands of ways' to bring in supporters to help resist the pullout
GUSH KATIF, Gaza Strip - Dozens of right-wingers, including children, continue to smuggle into Gaza settlements despite a military closure, Ynetnews has learned.
Police said last week that hundreds of opponents of Israel’s planned pullout from all 21 settlements in Gaza and four of 120 in the West Bank have infiltrated into Gush Katif, Gaza’s largest settlement bloc. Settler leaders say the figure is much higher.
Gush Katif youngsters help the infiltrators reach the settlements by using their relatives’ identification cards to bypass military checkpoints. They then smuggle then in through alternative routes.
The entrance to Kibbutz Reyim has turned into a meeting point for infiltrators. Small children learn to use fake names, including those of their parents.
Right-wingers have vowed to reach Gush Katif ahead of the withdrawal on August 17 and stay there in order to help the some 9,000 resident settlers resist being evacuated.
One of the organizers of the smugglings and a mother of 11, who identified herself as “R,” said she has been waiting in the area since 2 a.m. for the first family she will help enter Gush Katif. R’s cellular phone won’t stop ringing.
Drivers report military movement to her after they pass checkpoints, to ensure the coast is clear.
'Thousands of ways to bring people in'
“I am already hosting three families,” she said. “The infiltration into Gush Katif will continue until we break through the Kissufum border crossing. There are a thousand ways to bring people into Gush Katif. Even 50 people can complete a mission successful, and soldiers also wink and let us pass.”
An East Jerusalem resident who refused to be identified said he would help settlers from from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar smuggle into Gaza.
“Go to Kibbutz Reyim,” he told their driver. “Cross it and go out the back way. Drop them off there and have them cross the roadblock by foot. Watch out for watchtowers. You must cross from the other side.”
Organizers of the infiltrations say that military officers at checkpoints ignore the smugglers during predetermined hours and allow them to cross by car without intense security checks.
Such tactics are so successful, right-wingers say, that they say they have distributed fliers that read: “Volunteers with cars are needed for one hour a day.”
“I recognize maybe 15 residents of the settlement out of the 70 worshippers,” a Gush Katif resident said, glancing at a crowd praying nearby.
Meanwhile, thousands of rightists have flocked to the southern town of Sderot to participate in a mass anti-pullout rally. Organizers say they will later make their way to the city of Ofakim and spend the night there before marching toward Gaza.
Such a move would mark the second attempt by rightists to reach Gush Katif since the army imposed a military closure on Gaza to Jewish
non-residents last month.
Police are concerned ultranationalist Jews who reach Gush Katif will engage in violent confrontations with evacuating forces. Forces clashed with thousands of anti-pullout protesters in the village of Kfar Maimon last month when police sealed them inside to stop them from embarking on a planned march to Gaza.