35 families left in north Gaza
Settlement of Dugit turns into ghost town, with only one family remaining in community. Three more families left in Elei Sinai, 31 in Nisanit. Earlier, residents in several Gush Katif settlements prevent forces from serving eviction notices. IDF officials: It’s the settlers’ loss
Police officials say there are only 35 families remaining in all northern Gaza communities, including 31 in Nisanit and three more in Elei Sinai. About 100 families have already left or are expected to leave in the next 24 hours.
Emotional confrontation in Morag (Video: Yaron Brenner)
Earlier, security forces decided to give up on the plan to serve eviction notices in Neve Dekalim, where residents showed strong resistance to the presence of troops.
Meanwhile, IDF Southern Command Head Dan Harel and Army Chief Dan Halutz toured Gush Katif Monday and were planning to speak to residents. Halutz briefly spoke with soldiers at the gate to Neve Dekalim, but when he attempted to enter Morag, local residents blocked him.
IDF sources said the failure to serve eviction notices is the settlers’ loss.
“This operation was meant for them, to offer them a helping hand and assist them,” one officer said. “We have no intention to confront them – in the places we went into, we saw how much the soldiers can help.”
Golani brigade commander faces settlers (Photo: AFP)
However, the officials admitted that as notices were served, forces were also collecting up-to-date intelligence information regarding developments in each community.
The forces handing out the eviction notices were supposed to reach every settler home and fill several forms at the end of each visit. The forms are relayed back to headquarters, thus allowing officials to receive the latest information available.
The forms include such information as the number of people in each home, whether all of them were present, and any radical statements made by settlers. Soldiers were also instructed to note whether there were any signs the families were packing or an indication of guests staying at the house. Troops were also asked to look for indications settlers were planning to barricade themselves.
Mofaz: We won’t storm in
Soldiers and police officers were able to enter the settlements of Morag, Gan-Or, Pe’at Sadeh, and Shalev, and serve the eviction notices. Forces later headed to Netzer Hazani, Katif, and Atzmona. The troops also arrived in Ganei Tal, but were blocked by singing residents at the entrance.
Meanwhile, the eviction notices are being delivered in Gadid and Bdolah, also in Gush Katif.
Earlier, forces encountered stiff resistance at Gush Katif’s “capital,” Neve Dekalim, were hundreds of settlers gathered at the closed entry gate. Troops eventually made their way into the community through the industrial, but the sides later agreed that no notices will be handed out. The protesters, meanwhile, agreed to clear the access road to the community, which they blocked earlier.
Security forces have no intention of clashing with settlers that have blocked the entrance to their communities in a bid to prevent troops from handing out evacuation notices, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says.
“We won’t storm in,” he said. “Our policy is to offer assistance in any way possible. Today is a difficult day and we are aware of it.”