Photo: AP
Photo: Reuters
Youngsters who have managed to infiltrate Gaza
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Efrat Weiss
Some 700 families have left Gush Katif. Settler home ready for move
Photo: Efrat Weiss
'Estimates on infiltrators were wrong'
Army officials encouraged by emptying of north Gaza settlements, but admit there may be more infiltrators than previously estimated; most evacuation forces to support pullout tasks in Netzarim, Kfar Darom, Atzmona and Neve Dekalim

IDF sources have admitted the number of pullout objectors who have managed to infiltrate Gaza is higher than previously estimated.


On Monday some 200 more made their way to Gush Katif, only to be nabbed by security forces operating in the area.


The handing out of eviction notices to settlers was carried out, among other things, to offer intelligence information regarding settler preparations ahead of the forced evacuation, IDF sources said.


However, IDF officials are encouraged by the situation in north Gaza, as it seems the vast majority of settlers from Dugit, Nisanit and Ele Sinai will evacuate willingly.


As many families from the area have already left their homes, most IDF forces initially tasked with evacuating northern Gaza settlements will be sent to reinforce the evacuation of “hard-core” settlements in Gush Katif.


IDF officials told Ynet they regard the pullout a success, saying initial estimates said there would be settlements that would not accept the evacuation.


They said they are also encouraged by the fact that despite confrontations between security forces and Neve Dekalim settlers, 36 moving trucks were able to enter the settlement.


More hotel rooms for evacuees


All in all, some 700 families, representing half of all Gush Katif families, have left the area.


Despite the optimism, some 150 Ele Sinai settlers clashed with IDF soldiers late Monday at the settlement’s entrance. The locals set tires on fire and blocked the entry gate. Security reinforcements arrived at the scene to prevent further escalation of violence.


Evacuating forces are scheduled to begin with the “easy-to-evacuate-communities” and ten move on to Netzarim, Kfar Darom and Atzmona, where stronger resistance is expected.


Meanwhile, hundreds of pullout objectors attempted to enter Gush Katif Monday but were stopped at police roadblocks situated throughout the Negev region.


Some 200 people who managed to infiltrate Gush Katif attempted to make their way to the Kissufim crossing, but were blocked by security forces operating in the area.


Moreover, more than a thousand protested against the pullout in several Negev towns, including Ofakim and Netivot.


Government sources have also expressed their satisfaction with the way the pullout is going.


“We anticipated a much stronger resistance – it could have been much worse,” one official said. “Acts of protest such as the locking of settlement gates were expected.”


The Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan decided to increase the number of hotel rooms rented for evacuated settlers from 1,000 to 2,000.


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said during the committee’s meeting, “The settlers must receive complete meals and full-board accommodation.”


Also on Monday it became clear that certain settler groups have expressed an interest in relocating to the Negev; Sharon said the government would work to assist the settlers in the initiative.


First published: 16.08.05, 01:29
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