Israeli troops might enter the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis during the evacuation, said the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in its online edition on Friday.
The army claims that an Israeli military presence during the evacuation is meant to ensure that evacuation of Gush Katif does not take place ‘under fire’.
Three weeks ago, divisional commander, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, in a meeting of the Southern Command, presented his division’s preparations for the evacuation.Ã‚Â This division will be in charge of the ‘fourth cordon’ for the disengagement which is to act against possible Palestinian attacks.
Taking example of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from south of Lebanon in May 2000, Kochavi expressed worries that the Palestinians are planning to paint the Israeli withdrawal as flight and company that with mortar shelling.
Local observers, however, expressed concerns that an army presence in the area might result in exchange of fire with the resistance groups there.
Israeli soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition at several houses in Khan Younis refugee camp, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, on Friday morning, the WAFA news agency reported.
The fires source was troops based at ‘monitoring’ towers surrounding Naveh Dikalim settlement, west of the city.
If Palestinians open fire at Israeli army, directives are clear; to shoot back.
In fact, Israel is also concerned by fire that might come from anti-pullout Jewish extremists, because the army does not have clear directives how to behave in such cases.
The strange thing, the Israeli military establishment is planning to task the Golani Brigade, which is experienced in fighting the Palestinians, with the ‘second cordon’ for the disengagement to block roads between settlements to prevent evacuation opponents from sending reinforcements.
Colonel Erez Zuckerman, commander of the Golani Brigade said he sees that as obscene, especially that the Golani brigade will be unarmed when dealing with Jewish disengagement foes.
‘From what I heard,’ Zuckerman said on Thursday, ‘I gathered the likelihood of the evacuation being accompanied by fighting has grown. If that is what might happen, it makes no sense for Golani to be left out of this mission. They can always move us at the last minute, but you know how these things unfold: We’re in the second cordon, most soldiers unarmed because of handling the evacuation, in the end they call somebody else.’
Yet, said Haretz, the army may redeploy the Golani brigade from the second cordon and keep it standby, where its mission will be determined according to developments on the ground.
On the other hand, settlers’ newspaper B’Sheva had a different interpretation to the possibility of pardoning the Golani brigade from dealing with anti-disengagement activists.
The newspaper said, that the reason is that the Golani has a particularly high percentage of religious troops, the army is worried the soldiers will refuse orders, and therefore is directing them to positions where they might need to fight the Palestinians.
Despite Zuckerman’s denial of this view, it remains close to accuracy.Ã‚Â A month ago Israeli sources reported about many soldiers from the Golani.Ã‚Â Some Golani officers said they were worried to getr their troops on board for this mission, since many of them did not identify with the mission of evacuating Jews from the settlements.