Settlers, who have relatives buried in the cemetery of the Gaza Strip settlement of Neveh Dekalim proposed to keep the cemetery in place and provide them with a free passage after the Israeli pullout.

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, they also said they oppose having the graves disturbed without their permission, warning petitioning the High Court of Justice if their wish is not respected.

‘Why won’t the state consider leaving the cemetery in place, even if the bereaved families are expelled from Gush Katif, in a way that will allow the bereaved families reasonable and secure access to the cemetery whenever they want it?’ the letter said.

The Disengagement Law requires coordination between the government and the families of the dead regarding the place to which the graves would be moved, but does not require family approval for the graves to be disturbed.

Settlers’ demand is seen as another tactic to add obstacles to the evacuation process.

The demand to keep a free passage open to settlers in order to be able to visit the left behind cemetery “whenever they want”, would require keeping Israeli troops deployed deep inside the Palestinian Strip, which would turn the pullout into a mere redeployment of troops inside Gaza.