An Israeli military source reported that settlers and far-right activists clashed with the soldiers as the army was preparing to raze abandoned beachfront cottages in Gush Katif settlement, in the Gaza Strip.

The army fears that these cottages would be used by used by anti-pullout activists as barricaded strongholds

The settlers and far-right activists started in recent weeks to refurbish the cottages, which were previously used as “vacation villas” by Egyptians before Israel occupied Gaza after the 1967 war. 

The cottages are located near a hotel which was taken over by the settlers and renamed as Moaz Yam, which means Sea Fort.

The Israeli police was planning to raid the hotel but cancelled the plan after information concerning the planned raid was leaked out.

Many of the cottages are mainly without roofs, windows, and filled with garbage and sand.

Settlers moved over the past few weeks the row of buildings, and started building wood frames for the roofs covering them with red tiles, in addition to pouring new concrete floors.

Also, settlers fixed the walls and installed electrical, water and other equipment turning the cottages into livable homes for the settlers and far-rightists who are slated to arrive in order to counter disengagement.

The Israeli police is weighing the possibility of violent resistance during pullout, police officials drafter new specific open-fire rules for the forces who will take part in the evacuation process during disengagement.

Policemen and soldiers are allowed to use arms only in self-Defense or life-threatening situations; that the use of fire-arms will be the last resort and only “if no other means of containing and controlling the threats is available”. 

Eran Sternberg, spokesman for the Gaza settlers, said that the latest series of government measures aim to delegitimize the “struggle of settlers against disengagement”.   

According to an Israeli military source, soldiers will first warn fleeing suspects and firing warning shots before firing directly at the “suspects”.

If settlers fire at soldiers during disengagement, soldiers or policemen will have to verbally warn before opening fire, and when fire is needed soldiers will fire a warning shot, and only then soldiers can fire at the legs of “the source of danger, or at his higher body if needed. 

Meanwhile, the army will have a freehand to fire at the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip if shooting takes place from the Palestinian side, even if the troops are under no direct threat.

The new open-fire procedure was reviewed and authorized by senior Israeli police legal advisors, the Israeli radio reported.

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