August 15, 2005



From FoxNews: Gaza Settlers Confront Israeli Soldiers.

On the first day of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip, some Jewish settlers weren't going quietly.

Many had evacuated their homes ahead of the official start of the pullout just after midnight Monday. But those who refused locked the gates to their settlements and clasped hands, forming human chains, to block soldiers from delivering dreaded eviction notices.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in a televised speech that the Gaza pullout was a painful step, both for the nation and for himself, but that it was essential for Israel's future.

A grim-looking Sharon said it is now up to the Palestinians to clamp down on militants and stop violence. "To an outstretched hand we will respond with an olive branch," he said.

Last week Little Green Footballs noted a response from one Palestinian terrorist group in this article.

... Hamas' founders and top political leaders gathered on the same stage for the first time in a decade, vowing to go on fighting Israel and claiming victory for the impending withdrawal.

UPDATE I -- Aug. 16: From CNN: Israeli forces arrest 50 at Gaza settlement.

As a midnight deadline to voluntarily leave Gaza approached, Israeli police arrested about 50 protesters Tuesday at the settlement of Neveh Dekalim, Israeli security sources said.

The demonstrators were trying to block vans that were coming to ferry out departing settlers.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned, "We will take action against anyone who violates the law."

UPDATE II: From Daniel Pipes: A Democracy Killing Itself (via For Zion's Sake).

Sharon won the prime ministry in early 2003 by electorally crushing an opponent who espoused unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Sharon declared back then: "A unilateral withdrawal is not a recipe for peace. It is a recipe for war." For unknown reasons, in late 2003 he adopted his opponent's policy of leaving Gaza, thereby reneging on his promises, betraying his supporters, and inflicting lasting damage on Israeli public life.

To Palestinian rejectionists, an Israeli retreat under fire sends an unambiguous signal: Terrorism works. Just as the Israeli departure from Lebanon five years earlier provoked new violence, so too will fleeing Gaza.

Meanwhile, Massive Hamas demo celebrates Israel pullout and Hamas leader: Gaza withdrawal "beginning of the end for Israel" " (via Little Green Footballs).

UPDATE III -- Aug. 20: From Reuters: Hamas threatens more attacks after Gaza pullout (via Little Green Footballs).

Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas said on Saturday it would fight to drive Israel out of the West Bank and Jerusalem after the Jewish state completes its withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip this year.

"Gaza is not Palestine," a masked spokesman for Hamas's armed wing told a news conference in Gaza City.

"As for Jerusalem and the West Bank, we will seek to liberate them by resistance just as the Gaza Strip was liberated," said the spokesman, surrounded by gunmen and militants with rocket launchers.

He did not explicitly say Hamas, committed to destroying Israel, planned to abandon a truce at the end of 2005.

Hamas is "committed to destroying Israel." Can't get any more explicit than that.

Posted by Forkum at August 15, 2005 08:02 PM