- WND - http://www.wnd.com -

No phone, no light,
not a single luxury

Israeli forces carrying out next month’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank are planning to shut off water, electricity and phone service and block all cell-phone reception if Jewish residents slated for evacuation refuse to leave immediately, WND has learned.

As part of the Gaza evacuation plan, Israeli forces led by the Southern District Police Command will shut off utilities in the first few days to all area residents who refuse to leave on their own accord, senior military officials told WND.

They said the “disengagement” plan includes instructions to stop all electricity, water, gas and telephone services in Gush Katif, the large slate of Gaza’s Jewish communities, a few days after the Aug. 17 evacuation begins.

The officials also said Israel will use electronic equipment to block cell phone reception in the area, a technique used in Palestinian areas during army operations and utilized last week against tens of thousands of anti-evacuation protesters holed up in a farming community.

“The plan is to make it nearly impossible for residents to sustain themselves in Gaza,” said a senior military official. “It’s also about making it psychologically uncomfortable.”

Senior police spokesman Avi Zelba refused to deny the police will cut off utilities during the withdrawal.

“I must stress when we start the disengagement, all policemen and soldiers removing settlers will be without any weapons, not even with sticks. However, we are going to use all means necessary to carry out the disengagement,” Zelba told WND.

The Israeli Defense Forces and select police units will be deployed during the withdrawal in six circles around the Gaza Strip, with 12,000 men and women, mostly police officers, in the inner circle charged with evacuating Gaza’s Jewish residents from their homes.

Communities in Gush Katif do not have emergency generators or large water supplies, Katif spokeswoman Debbie Rosen said.

“A few houses have private generators that can last from a few hours to maybe a day,” Rosen told WND. “We don’t have anything beyond that.”

The plan to shut off electricity likely will also limit the ability of the media to report from the area.

Reporters have been asked to sign a form stating they will evacuate Gush Katif three days before the withdrawal. The IDF has been debating allowing select journalists to stay in the area for a limited period, but for those who may remain, reporting without cell phone service, Internet connection and electricity likely would be difficult.

Meanwhile, 5,000 policemen and soldiers began withdrawal training exercises this week. The training, mostly focused on the ring of forces to be stationed inside the Jewish communities, reportedly will last two weeks and will include both physical and mental exercises.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said yesterday “the evacuation will take up to four weeks, depending on the how many settlers leave of their own free will and how many resist. The shorter the timetable, the better it will be for the state and its citizens.”

Related stories:

Gaza evac ‘disastrous military move’

Palestinians: Gaza evacuation bad for us

Israeli marchers besieged

Israeli multitudes breach police lines

Israel bars media from covering Gaza evac

100,000 Israelis march to Gaza

Related commentary:

No to ‘disengagement’

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?”