Skip to comments.Last Gaza Settlers Forcibly Removed [kicking and screaming]
Posted on 08/17/2005 4:51:54 PM PDT by SJackson
NEVE DEKALIM, Gaza Strip, Aug 17 (MASNET & News Agencies) - The last Jewish settlers have been dragged kicking and screaming out of the Gaza Strip as Israel moved to end 38 years of occupation of the Palestinian territory through a forced evacuation.
Backed by bulldozers, Israeli forces fanned out through the Mediterranean seafront territory on Wednesday, marching through makeshift barricades into seven settlements after hundreds of families defied a midnight deadline to leave voluntarily, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).
With emotions at fever pitch over implementation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan, a Jewish settler grabbed a gun from a security guard and killed three Palestinian laborers in a West Bank settlement, and an Israeli woman suffered severe burns after setting herself alight, reports news agencies.
Thousands of unarmed soldiers marched house-to-house in Gaza's Jewish enclaves, ordering people out and in some cases breaking down doors when they refused. Police grabbed protesters off the streets and pushed them into waiting buses, reports Reuters news agency.
As smoke rose from tires set ablaze by protestors, emotions ran high with sporadic scuffles breaking out during the historic operation pitting Jew against Jew.
Sharon, who risked his political career on the pullout and has been vilified by settlers who once considered him their champion, said he had been moved to tears seeing Jews being hauled from their homes.
In the main settlement of Neve Dekalim, a group of nine elderly women were dragged kicking and screaming on to a bus by around 50 police and soldiers.
"He [Sharon] has destroyed our lives and it's just one big party for you," screeched one of the women in her 60s.
In the tiny enclave of Kerem Atsmona, settlers walked out of their homes with their hands up, branding yellow Stars of David to imitate the ones worn by Jews during the Nazi persecution in Europe.
Protestors shredded their clothes in a traditional act of Jewish mourning in the southern settlement of Morag while members of a New York-based ultra-Orthodox movement threatened to commit mass suicide.
In Neve Dekalim, where hundreds of religious Jews were barricaded in a synagogue, there were scenes of chaos as security forces loaded youths on to a bus, with one boy smashing a window on the vehicle and clambering out of the back before being intercepted.
In one synagogue, radical youths who had slipped into the main settlement bloc sang a melody some Jews sang on their way to Nazi gas chambers, reports Reuters.
But elsewhere there were signs of settlers resigning themselves to evacuation as they hugged soldiers before filing quietly onto buses taking them to Israel, the news agency reports.
Bur Israeli troops had to contend with a hardcore of 5,000 ultra-nationalists who had reached Gaza enclaves in recent weeks, reports Reuters.
Ultra-nationalist Israelis see the West Bank and Gaza Strip as land bequeathed to the Jews by God, the news agency reports.
The operation marks the first time Israel has withdrawn from Palestinian territory captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and has raised hopes in the international community of a new breakthrough in Middle East peace.
By mid-afternoon, officials said more than half the settlers and their "human shield" protestors had been evicted from Gaza.
"By now we're over 60 percent out... The number of infiltrators has been halved," Sharon aide Ranaan Gissin told reporters.
Planners of Sharon's disengagement plan indicated the operation, which has deeply divided the nation, would be over in a matter of days despite diehard radicals in some areas barricading themselves behind trenches and barbed wire.
After giving the area's 8,000 settlers 48 hours to leave voluntarily following the formal start of the pullout on Monday, joint teams of thousands of soldiers and police rolled into a series of settlements at daybreak.
In Neve Dekalim, some 10,000 members of the security forces were on hand as troops also moved in to at least six other southern settlements - Bedolah, Ganei Tal, Kerem Atsmona, Morag, Slav and Tal Katifa.
Police quickly declared Bedolah, Tal Katifa and Kerem Atsmona empty and said that only a "handful" of settlements were causing problems.
In several of the settlements, including Neve Dekalim, army commanders tried to persuade residents to leave voluntarily, reports the AP.
Settlers who resist could lose a third of their state compensation, ranging from $150,000 to $400,000 per family.
Seventeen-member evacuation squads had been training for weeks, practicing scenarios that included violent resistance. More than 50,000 police and soldiers were deployed in Israel's largest military operation other than in wartime, reports Reuters.
The first group of Israelis to be dumped out of Gaza hurled abuse at soldiers manning the Kissufim border crossing.
"Why are you enjoying this? People are being kicked out of their homes," screamed one of the 30 passengers out of a window.
In Neve Dekalim, Palestinians, who see settlements as the most hated symbol of occupation, watched and cheered from nearby rooftops, reports Reuters.
Sharon, once the pioneer of Israel's settlement program in occupied Arab land, said he had been moved to tears witnessing the Gaza events unfold and pledged settlement activity would go on.
"When I see these families with tears in their eyes and police officers with tears in their eyes, it's impossible to look at this without weeping yourself," he told reporters.
Sharon voiced sympathy for the evacuees in a televised address. He urged them to blame him alone and not attack troops, reports Reuters.
"I am responsible for this. Attack me," said Sharon.
Polls show most Israelis back the withdrawal but rightist opponents call it a reward for Palestinian violence, the news agency reports.
Police chief Moshe Karadi said that the operation would be completed much earlier than the initial three weeks scheduled while an army spokesman said it would be over "within a few days".
The Gaza pullout is to be accompanied by a withdrawal from four small West Bank settlements. Security officials have expressed fears that the West Bank pullout could be more violent, given the land's biblical significance to observant Jews, reports the AP.
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas appealed for calm and urged Muslim clerics to preach against internal fighting and advocate unity during the pullout.
"The Israeli occupation is leaving today. Let us allow them to leave and let us not give them any reason to delay," he said.
Thousands of Palestinian security forces have been deployed around the Gaza Strip, stronghold of the Hamas movement and home to 1.3 million mainly impoverished Palestinians.
But the Gaza pullout could be complicated by the West Bank shooting spree, which drew condemnation from the Palestinian Authority and threats of revenge from Palestinian militants mostly inactive during the withdrawal, reports Reuters.
Police said the assailant, a driver, was taking Palestinian workers to jobs in the Shiloh settlement when he forced a security guard at knifepoint to hand over his gun and turned it on the occupants of his car. The gunman was later arrested, the news agency reports.
There was no immediate word on the motive for the shooting, which came almost two weeks after a religious army deserter trying to disrupt the pullout shot dead four Israeli Arabs aboard a bus in northern Israel.
Sharon has argued that the Gaza pullout will enable Israel to keep hold of its large West Bank settlements, where the vast majority of Israel's 240,000 settlers live alongside 2.4 million Palestinians, by easing international pressure for a more comprehensive pullout.
"True they [settlers] had a dream, and I did, too, that can we hold on to all the territory, or most of the territory, but things have changed," Sharon said.
He made clear that the settlement program would continue unabated on land the Palestinians see as an integral part of their promised future state.
"Settlement is a serious program that will continue and develop," he said.
The army intends to pull out the last troops from Gaza in early October, turning the land over to the Palestinians. The World Court calls the settlements illegal. Israel disputes this, reports Reuters.
They are right on top of us, We will never be able to truly understand this city if something isn't done about those homes.
Not the Gaza homes. The homes in Spain. The West seem to be causing these folk problems everywhere.
Fast forward a few decades, and you could very well be looking at the southwest U.S.
Remember these images folks. This will be the American southwest in a couple of decades.
I'm trying to remember the last time this court came up with a favorable ruling for the U.S. or Israel.
I don't seem to recall them coming up with any negative rulings with regard to the Palestinians either.
I thought the same thing and share your sadness for the displaced families. In listening to Michael Medved, a devout Jew, he thought it was best. The justification: 6,500 Jews surrounded by 1.5 million Palestinians with no hope of real expansion, i.e., never would be a true Jewish state. Combined with the security issues (and costs), Medved opined Sharon was correct (and that 60% of Israelis agreed)....
Sad to think that Sharon would be stupid enough to give up the Gaza strip to MURDERS! The terrorist won! Plain and simple! They have been emboldened further to continue murdering Jews and gentiles until they rule Jerusalem! Sharon doesn't have an inkling of an idea what he just did! You know that saying the Jewish folk always say, NEXT YEAR IN Jerusalem, well, the Arabs are saying Next year Jerusalem and the year after that, the Jewish nation into the sea! Thanks a million Sharon you have just signed your own peoples death certificates! Hamas motto: Terrorize a nation and you'll be rewarded FREE LAND! So sad and frustrating!
A human tragedy, regardless of one's opinion of the withdrawl. There was a beginning of civilization there, which I suspect will be lost.
Once a terrorist, always a terrorist.
There is nothing, nothing the Jews could do to become the Pali's "friends."
It's sad, but in a couple days, it will be time to put those thoughts in the past. There's still a war going on there.
For better or worse, that's essentially the rationale of Sharon's withdrawl. Educated from birth, meaning with an immediate change, not happening, a "peace partener" might emerge in a generation or so.
Quote: "It's a good first step on our way to Jerusalem"
Me: "Where should the Jews live after the Palestinians throw them out?"
Him: "Who cares"!
He's been in this country 18 years!!!
"A human tragedy, regardless of one's opinion of the withdrawl. There was a beginning of civilization there, which I suspect will be lost."
People are missing the point. Bush and Sharon made a trade. This is what Bush got (the Gaza pullout). Sharon got: Bush's outright rejection of the Palestinian Right of Return, still officially "on the table" in the negotiations and acceptance of the idea that Israel will hold onto some West Bank territories permanently.
Both statements were unprecedented moves of support by a US president. The trade was worth it. Having agreed to the deal, Sharon had to pay up on his end.
Now Hamas and the PLA face a quandry. They can no longer simultaneously claim they want peace with an Israeli withdrawal and that they want to kill all the Jews. They have to choose one.
The Palestinians want the Jews dead and won't be happy until they are!
Possibly, but I doubt it. These folks have been at this for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, as I said, the Pali's will be relentless in their mission to eliminate the Jews completely.
Just as OBL and his pals want to eliminate the US.
I'll bet you 10 FReeper Bucks the Pali's will continue to talk peace and kill Jews. Just as they have been doing for many years.
"I'll bet you 10 FReeper Bucks the Pali's will continue to talk peace and kill Jews. Just as they have been doing for many years"
True. I mispoke to an extent. I am merely saying this will make the situation more obvious.
Y'all please pardon my pessimism, OK? I just have a hard time getting all excited about this. The Pali's have done NOTHING to prove they've turned over a new leaf.
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