Thursday, August 18, 2005

Disengagement, 18 August. Overview

11 settlements have now been completely evacuated since the start of the disengagement on 15 August. While the first two days allowed for the voluntary departure of settlers, those remaining after midnight on 16 August are now in the process of being physically removed. Resistance is being encountered from those settlers who remain, and particularly from the hardline supporters who have joined them. Kfar Darom, Neve Dekalim and Gan Or have become the scene of bitter struggles as the Police and IDF seek to remove the residents and protestors.

The killing of four Palestinians by a West Bank settler on Wednesday led to an initial reaction by Palestinian militias in Gaza with 5 rockets and mortars fired towards settlements. Throughout Thursday during the day there were no further incidents, although two mortars have been fired towards Israeli targets in southern Gaza in the last half hour. Notwithstanding this last attack, it seems clear that both Palestinians and Israelis are keen to avoid any conflict on the ground as the disengagement continues.

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