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GANEI TAL, Gaza – Anti-withdrawal activists later this month plan to bring tens of thousands of protesters by car and foot to Gaza’s Jewish communities to stop this summer’s planned evacuation, a major activist group announced tonight.

The Yesha Settlers Council said it will lead a massive protest march on July 18 to bring tens of thousands to “aid our brave brothers” in Gaza and “halt the disengagement plan” currently scheduled for Aug. 15.

The council directed protesters to start out in cars and buses, and to continue by foot if vehicles are stopped by Israeli security forces.

According to the Yesha Council, “A huge operation will be launched [July 18], aimed at delaying the [evacuation] plan by transferring many people to Gush Katif (the main area of Gaza’s Jewish communities). Starting in the morning, convoys will depart from all cities and all towns across the country. After convening in the afternoon, the people will set out in convoys to the Gush. Wherever police officers decide to stop the vehicles, we will start walking.

“The aim is to reach the Gush Katif settlements within two or three days and populate the settlements with hundreds of additional families. Reaching the Gush and the rate of progress depend on the responses of the authorities. Even if military and police forces try to prevent the advance of the protesters, they will continue to advance on foot until they join our besieged brothers in the Gush,” the council said in a statement.

Yesha leaders said guides would be placed throughout the route to direct those traveling by foot to Gaza. It said the organization will provide marchers with food, drinks, shaded areas and tents for overnight lodging. It will also set up first aid stations along the route, the council said.

“The public who loves the land of Israel is being called to save the Jewish settlements from evacuation by the Jewish authority,” the Yesha Council said. “Men and women, young and old, secular and religious will be prepared for a change in lifestyle and a prolonged absence from work and investment of personal efforts.”

The march was agreed to by all anti-withdrawal organizations and is endorsed by various rabbis from all segments of Judaism, the ouncil announced.

The Yesha Council last week led two major protests in Israel, one that blocked traffic throughout the country for several hours, bringing out thousands of supporters and demonstrating the group is capable of mobilizing large numbers.

The organization recognized its announcement tonight might prompt the Israeli Defense Forces to close off Gaza early in a bid to stop activists from flooding the area.

“If they do, we’ll start the protest early,” a senior Yesha leader told WND.

Israel 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 Israelis accuses of inciting violence, had taken up residence in the hotel in recent months.

The IDF Friday 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 . It explained the ban on goods would make it difficult for protesters to sustain themselves for long periods of time.

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?”

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