Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Disengagement, 16 Aug. Overview

As reported in Haaretz over the course of the day, significant numbers of settlers are voluntarily leaving Gaza before the midnight deadline that will render their presence ïllegal"and subject to physical removal. On the basis of media reports, it appears that most of the northern settlement blocks of Dugit, Eli Sinai and Nisanit have now been evacuated.

In spite of this up to 4000 settlers likely remain inside Gush Katif with a significant number being hardline supporters from the West Bank and Israel. Today clashes have taken place with Israeli Police and IDF and these can be expected to increase as the Israeli authorities take it upon themselves to remove the remaining settlers and supporters.

Although clashes between settlers and the Israeli authorities may intensify in the next 2-3 days, it is likely thereafter that the situation will calm down as the hardliners are removed. The completion date for the evacuation may even occur within 10 days, as indicated by the IDF today.

Palestinian forces have now deployed around the settlement areas with no reports of clashes with the IDF.


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