Settlers: We are ready to block roads daily

Following the Monday anti-pullout protests organized by an unknown settlers group that calls itself, ‘Habayit Haleumi’ (The National Homeland), settlers say they are ready to block the roads on daily basis.

On Monday, hundreds of pullout foes blocked main roads in Israel as a protest against the pullout from the Gaza Strip.  Nearly 300 were arrested but most of them were released on Tuesday, only those who are suspected of burning tires and assaulting police officers.

One of the leaders of this organization, which police assumes that this organization is behind the blockade of 40 intersections along Israel, said the group is waiting for the government to declare the Gaza Strip a closed military zone.

‘At that point,’ said Avidan Sharabi, ‘we will begin daily blockades. We can keep it up for months, even if each blockade is not as massive as yesterday’s.’

If this happens Israel will face a serious problem, as the result would be daily traffic jams and millions in lost productivity.

Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra, however, downplayed the anti-disengagement activists’ success, saying the police had not even used all the force at its disposal in dispersing the thousands who blocked the roads on Monday.

‘The police has many more tools at its disposal, such as tear gas and truncheons, but we decided not to use them,’ he said, adding that the police would use violence if the drivers who will be stuck on clogged roads will be at risk. 

Ezra said, there was no need for excessive force on Monday, as no one was at risk.

Responding to some police officials’ comments that Monday blockade was only for few minutes and did not disturb the daily life, Sharabi said, ‘People are getting prepared for the next stage. The plans are already in late stages of development,’ said one leading activist. ‘We will be ready as soon as Israel closes Gush Katif.’

Apparently the settlers are recruiting massive numbers of yeshiva students, as most of the Monday protesters were.  They are hoping that by keeping the police busy stopping their actions, the government will find no one free enough to carry out the pullout and the evacuation of the Gaza Settlers.

‘We also hope the police live up to their promise to block us wherever we show up. If they do that, they will not be able to complete the disengagement,’ Sharabi said.

It seems that Tuesday’s release of the held activists will encourage other protestors to join, especially that the police showed some sensitivity to the protesters, most of them teenagers, which has corroded its deterrent.

‘When [our activists] see that arrest is a joke, that the police are not so scary, they will come out in greater numbers… Now, we get two new activists for each one arrested because people are upset,’ Sharabi said.

On the other hand, Israeli police arrested a Swedish Anti-wall protestor in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah on Sunday and deported him on Tuesday.  Police has been violent with Anti-wall protestors using tear gas and sound grenades, and sometimes live ammunition.

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IMEMC & Agencies

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