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  • August 17, 2005

    Before dawn the IDF moves troops into Gaza en masse to begin the forcible evacuation of Jewish settlers and disengagement protesters who have not yet left, begins demolishing settler homes in n....

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Before dawn the IDF moves troops into Gaza en masse to begin the forcible evacuation of Jewish settlers and disengagement protesters who have not yet left, begins demolishing settler homes in n. Gaza. By the end of the day, evacuations of Bedolah (est. 1986, pop. 220, size 1,456 d., hrs. to evac. 6), Ganei Tal (est. 1979, pop. 350, size 2,050 d., hrs. to evac. 11), Kerem Atzmona (est. 2001, pop. 24, hrs. to evac. 6), Morag (est. 1972, pop. 220, size 1,300 d., hrs. to evac. 7), Tal Katifa (est. 1992, pop. 60, size 183 d., hrs. to evac. 5) are completed; most residents of Gadid leave voluntarily. Settlers in Atzmona agree to evacuate voluntarily by 8/21, those in Netzarim by 8/22. Settlers who have not arranged their evacuation with the government will be housed temporarily in hotels, mobile homes: e.g., more than half of Morag’s settlers take up temporary residence in the West Bank settlement of Ofra; Israel’s Jerusalem municipality temporarily houses 1,000 Neve Dekalim settlers who have left voluntarily in a Jerusalem hotel. Generally there is little strong resistance; the IDF optimistically says it hopes that the evacuations could be completed within days instead of wks., as earlier estimated. During the day, some scuffles btwn. soldiers, settlers are reported; in some areas settlers set fire to tires and in garbage bins to prevent soldiers fr. entering settlements; at least 2 settlers set fire to their homes before leaving. In Morag, a female IDF soldier is stabbed with a syringe, lightly injured by a disengagement protester. (In total, 13 Israeli soldiers and police are lightly injured during the day.) Gaza settlers and protesters also attack Palestinians: some 200 Kefar Darom settlers rampage through nearby Palestinian areas, set fire to a Palestinian house; 20 Neve Dekalim settlers march through al-Mawasi, spread nails on roads to damage Palestinian cars, try to provoke Palestinian residents (the IDF intervenes, removes the settlers); other Jewish settlers fire on Palestinian homes, vandalize Palestinian greenhouses in the same area. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home, conducts arrest raids in al-Mawasi. Meanwhile, Palestinians in Khan Yunis begin returning to their homes on the edge of town facing the settlements, which they had fled since the start of the intifada in 9/00 because of IDF gunfire. Islamic Jihad mbrs. in some 50 boats, carrying banners and weapons, hold a seaborne victory parade off Gaza to celebrate disengagement. Some disengagement protests in Israel turn violent: a disengagement protester tosses a grenade at an IDF checkpoint in s. Israel, wounding 5 IDF soldiers; a female settler fr. Keddumim in the West Bank sets fire to herself during a demonstration in Netivot, is seriously injured. In the West Bank, a Jewish settler fr. Shvut Rachel steals a gun fr. an Israeli security guard at the industrial area of Shilo settlement, fires on Palestinian workers, killing 4 Palestinians, wounding 1. Sharon denounces the attack as “Jewish terror”; Palestinian Authority (PA) PM Mahmud Abbas calls on Palestinian factions to maintain calm, refrain fr. retaliation. At Sanur (to be evacuated under disengagement), 600 Jewish settlers hold an antidisengagement rally. The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and in Nur al-Shams refugee camp (r.c.), Tulkarm. Also in Hebron, 4 bedouin children herding goats are injured when they accidentally trigger an unexploded IDF phosphorus shell; the IDF says it uses the shells only in training. A 9-yr.-old Palestinian dies of injuries received when she accidentally triggered unexploded IDF ordnance nr. Karmil. (Arutz 7, BBC, HA, IMEMC, NYT, REU, USA Today, WP, WT, YA 8/17; Voice of Israel, VOP 8/17 in WNC 8/18; BBC, HA, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 8/18; MENA 8/18 in WNC 8/19; NYT 8/20; PCHR, PR 8/25; IMEMC 9/22; HA 11/10)