Monday, August 22, 2005

The IDF completes the evacuation of settlers fr. Gaza, with residents of the last inhabited settlement, Netzarim (est. 1972, pop. 496, size 1,760 d., hrs. to evac. 7), and 300 disengagement protesters leaving willingly after holding final prayer service, with only minor scuffles with soldiers; Netzarim residents say they have applied to the Israeli government to move to the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The IDF also raids, searches houses in al-Mawasi. Overnight, 10s of armed Jewish settlers protesting disengagement march through at least 8 West Bank Palestinian villages nr. Homesh and Sanur, firing in the air, occupying the rooftops of Palestinian homes, vandalizing property; the IDF intervenes to remove them. During the day, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, occupying 2 houses as observation posts; conducts house searches, interrogations nr. Jenin, occupying 2 Palestinian homes as observation posts. Jewish settlers fr. Eli stone, lightly injure 2 Palestinians. Jewish settlers fr. Einav attack Palestinians, damage Palestinian crops and homes in Ramin village nr. Nablus. A French sound technician kidnapped in Gaza on 8/14 turns up at a PA police station in Gaza City; no group claims responsibility, though there are rumors that he was kidnapped by a prominent clan and was released only after Abbas freed 6 family mbrs. fr. jail. (HA, IMEMC, XIN 8/22; HA, NYT, WP, WT 8/23; PCHR, PR 8/25; NYT 8/28)