KISSUFIM, Gaza — With large numbers of anti-withdrawal activists flocking to the area, Israel may completely close off the Gaza Strip within the next seven days to ensure protesters will not try to stop the Aug. 15 evacuation of Jewish communities, senior military sources told WorldNetDaily.
“We are still in deliberations, but leaning heavily in the direction of closing off Gaza for good this week or early next week,” a senior military official said. “We’re not going to continue tolerating all the activists who are coming in right now.”
A source close to Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told WND, “They are talking about closing [Gaza] as soon as this Thursday, or on Sunday.”
Soldiers at the Kissufim Junction, the main checkpoint leading into Gaza’s Jewish communities, told WND traffic entering the area yesterday was up 800 percent. Most vehicles, they said, were not carrying Gaza residents, but likely protesters scurrying to head off the possible closure.
An IDF spokeswoman told WND, “For the residents of Gush Katif [the main slate of Jewish communities in Gaza] we want to keep the roads open for as long as possible, until right before the withdrawal. But with many activists coming in every day, the [army's] southern command is debating the issue and may have to close off Gaza early.”
Israel last Thursday declared the Gaza Strip a closed military zone, explaining the closure was in response to recent “provocations by right-wing extremists” and was not part of any campaign to start the Gaza evacuation early.
Hours later, Israeli soldiers, police commando units and border guards stormed the Palm Beach Hotel – a seafront building alongside Gush Katif – and forcibly evicted its occupants. Anti-withdrawal activists, including a few Israel accuses of inciting violence, had taken up residence in the hotel in recent months.
Friday, the Israeli Defense Forces lifted the Gaza closure, but ordered a limit on the number of goods and belongings that could be brought into the area, fearing large numbers of activists are planning to move to Gaza . The IDF explained the ban on goods would make it difficult for protesters to sustain themselves for long periods of time.
Since then, heavy traffic has been flooding into Gaza.
New “political checkpoint” near Kissufim Junction. Photo: WND.
The IDF has set up nine makeshift “political checkpoints” leading into Jewish Gaza to screen visitors and turn away people carrying large quantities of food, heavy equipment or protest material, military sources told WND.
Indeed one checkpoint, about a quarter mile from the Kissufim Junction, was erected Friday and currently is monitoring protest traffic. Several cars carrying heavy provisions were turned away the past two days, soldiers stationed there said.
Moshe Feiglin, leader of the anti-withdrawal Manhigut Yehudit political party, told WND, “If they close off Gaza, it would be a tragic mistake because it will result in the shutting down of the country. We will call on tens of thousands of people to march to Gush Katif in protest. They will go and the army wont be able to cope.”
A senior leader of the Yesha settlers council said, “If they shut down Gaza, all hell will break lose. We didn’t do anything in response to [last] Thursday’s closure because they told us they’d open Gaza the next day and they did. But if they think they will shut it down for good, they are mistaken.”
Yesterday the council said it was planning a protest march July 18 to bring thousands of anti-evacuation activists to Gaza to “halt the disengagement plan.”
The organization recognized its announcement might prompt the IDF to close Gaza early.
“If they do, we’ll start the protest early,” said the Yesha leader.
The Yesha council last week brought out protesters to block traffic throughout Israel, shutting down dozens of major roads and highways for up to three hours and demonstrating the council is capable of mobilizing large numbers of activists.
Editor’s note: “ISRAEL BETRAYED?” – the July issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine – is devoted entirely to an in-depth exploration of the controversial forced removal of thousands of Jewish residents from Gaza planned for August, and the likely creation of a Hamas-run terror state many believe will follow. Read more about “ISRAEL BETRAYED?”