Aug. 18, 2005 – Jewish settlers maintained resistance to Israeli soldiers and police who spent Wednesday continuing the forced evacuation of hardline Gaza settlers and thousands of allies who had come to support them.
- Palestinians Look Forward to Removal of Settlements, Troops (Aug 16, 2005)
- Group Calls on Washington to Fund Palestinians, Not Settlers (Aug 18, 2005)
At one entrance to the Gaza Strip, an activist from a West Bank settlement set herself on fire to protest the governmentâ€™s disengagement plan, which most Israelis support. She survived the incident and is in recovery from severe burns over most of her body.
Also yesterday, a settler shot to death four Palestinians and injured a fifth in the West Bank settlement of Shiloh. The victims were laborers who the shooter was supposed to drive back to nearby villages after a day of working at the settlement, according to police. Shiloh is a major settlement that, while illegal under international law, is not slated for evacuation.
In response to the Shiloh murders, the Palestinian group Hamas declared it remains committed to observing a ceasefire declared to enable the Gaza disengagement to go ahead without interruption. But a Hamas official vowed revenge, telling the Israeli daily Haâ€™aretz, "We are in favor of quiet and continue to be committed to it but will not permit it to be unilateral." Hamas is an Islamic social services, political and militia organization, responsible for hundreds of guerrilla and terrorist attacks, with a strong foothold and widespread popular support in Gaza.
Wednesdayâ€™s shooting was the second terror attack by a Zionist extremist against Palestinians in as many weeks, bringing the death toll to eight. The shooter from yesterdayâ€™s incident is in police custody. At the scene the earlier incident, a mob lynched the deserted soldier who killed four and wounded over a dozen on a bus in a mostly-Palestinian town in Israel.
Most incidents surrounding the disengagement on Wednesday were relatively minor. Hold-out settlers continued the split strategy of evoking commiseration, nonviolently resisting and taunting police and soldiers sent to remove them.
The majority of hardliners chose the path of appealing to the sympathies of police and soldiers, as well as Israeli civil society and the international media, making the case that they are being forced to leave homes on land that is their birthright as Jews.
Others opted to resist nonviolently. During hundreds of instances repeated all day Wednesday, mostly unarmed troops and police patiently escorted or dragged settlers and activists who in some cases made their bodies limp.
Still other settlers continued the theme of comparing their plight with that of Jews under the fist of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and â€™40s, a move many Jewish observers of the events have proclaimed alienates the extremist settlers in the minds of potential sympathizers. The Gaza settlers, by contrast to European Jews apprehended by Hitlerâ€™s forces, are eligible for large sums of money with which to relocate in Jewish neighborhoods in Israel or in other settlements.
Few of the Gaza settlers or their supporters were actually born in the occupied territory.
The 21 settlements in the Gaza strip, like the scores of others scattered throughout the West Bank and the area Israel considers East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law. Israel has been under order to evacuate the settlements since the United Nations Security Council declared them illegal in 1979, demanding Israel "rescind" the action of having transferred civilians into occupied territory.