A week before disengagement, the IDF has started preparing residents for evacuation: Monday, IDF officers distributed two letters to the secretaries of all settlements slated for evacuation.
The first letter, signed by IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, informs residents all border crossings into the Gaza Strip, and that from that time only security forces will be permitted to enter the Strip.
The second letter informed residents about August 15 and 16, next Monday and Tuesday. It said IDF and evacuation forces will be available to assist residents leave their homes, but that they would not begin evicting people until August 17.
The defense establishment will even assist residents to get their cars out of Gaza by securing usual traffic routes, but this will end next Wednesday when forces begin the actual pullout.
IDF forces told Ynet the letters were intended to explain to residents what is expected of them in the coming days, as part of an attempt to maintain dialogue with evacuees and to give them time to prepare.
At the same time, it is expected that some residents will refuse the letters and could publicly tear up or burn them in protest of the pullout.
The IDF says it has factored into its preparations those settlers waiting to the very last minute to make a decision.
Partial text of the letter
The letter says, “On Tisha B’av, the day in which the Jewish People mourns the destruction of its holy temple, with hope and prayer for it’s rebuilding, and out of a deep belief that out of tragedy will sprout redemption and following destruction, the ruins will flourish.
“Sunday night, after Tisha B’av ends, the Gaza Strip will be closed to Israeli citizens. Travel to and between Israeli settlements in Gaza will be prohibited.
“On the morning of August 15, 2005, security forces will serve evacuation orders for each of your homes. Residents who choose to leave before midnight on August 16, 2005 will receive as much help as possible from IDF soldiers and moving companies, in order to allow residents to pack their belongings and public property.
“Residents who choose to leave at this stage will be permitted to leave in their private automobiles.
“In addition, those who choose to leave at this stage will choose the manner in which they bid farewell to their homes. Personal affects that are packed by August 15, 2005, and during August 15-16, 2005 should be placed in one room.
“The IDF will make every effort to remove all private (not business) belongings, without respect to amounts or the number of moving trucks required, as long as this does not exceed the amount specified in the law authorizing the disengagement plan. As houses are packed and belongings packed into boxes, the head of each household will be permitted to enter and assist the packing process."
Beginning on August 17, 2005, security forces will remove all remaining residents. Afterwards, moving companies will be employed to pack no more than two trucks of personal belongings.
Residents who leave after August 17, 2005 will not be permitted to return to their homes to assist with packing, in accordance with the law authorizing disengagement, and they will lose a considerable portion of their economic rights.