The Israeli police reported that right-wing activists apposed to the Disengagement plan blocked on Wednesday afternoon all main junctions across Israel, as part of their wide protests against Gaza withdrawal.

Thousands of Israeli policemen were deployed around the country, expecting massive traffic jams during the rush-hour traffic.

Also, the police barred the Israelis from walking in several areas near the entrances of Jerusalem, in an attempt to prevent the activists from blocking these entrances.

The protestors, and despite all procedures, managed to stop the traffic in the city; the police attempted to disperse them using water cannons.

Several dozens of protestors, all teenagers and children, went to the streets and blocked traffic; the police dragged ten of them into a van, but most of them managed to escape.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that children below 10 years old, chanted “Jews do not expel Jews”, slowing traffic in the streets of Jerusalem.

Aldo, the police arrested four protestors after trying to block a road near mount Herzi, near the burial site of the Israeli slain prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin

A total of 55 protestors were arrested in several areas in Jerusalem.

Young pullout foes also blocked Ayalon highway, which encircles Tel Aviv, and closed traffic on the Glilot junction, and clashed with the police as they repeatedly closed the roads after the police cleared them.

The Geha junction, near Petah Tikva, and Kfar Saba area, were closed by the protestors; five were arrested.

In the Israeli Negev town of Sderot, some 50 settlers gathered and protested, but the roads remained open.

Extremist settlers to block roads Wednesday

Members of the Habeit Haleumi movement (National Home) and other right-wing activists plan to block dozens of junctions and streets in Israel on Wednesday evening to protest the government’s Gaza disengagement plan, an Israeli source reported.

The Israeli police said policemen, both uniformed and plainclothes,  will be deployed on junctions and streets in order to reopen all closed roads. Extra police forces will be called to help clear the roads and deal with any emergency. The police reportedly have a list of 23 junctions were the demonstrators are expected to attempt blocking.

To prepare for the possibility of mass arrests, the police have set up a national command post to coordinate transfer of arrested protesters from prison to court and back throughout the country.

Earlier Wednesday settlers closed the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway by pouring oil and throwing nails on the roadway, Israeli radio reported. Tires of twenty vehicles were punctured. The police needed two hours to clear the road.  

Michael Eitan, a Likud member of the Knesset, said acts such as throwing nails and oil in the street begin to look like terrorism. They “play into the hands of Sharon,” he said, and undermine what he described as the “legitimacy of settler’s struggle.”. 

The Yesha settlers’ council, which protested on Monday without blocking any roads, also condemned the more militant tactics as counter-productive.

Lior Horev, a senior aide of Sharon, held the Yesha council responsible for the violent actions, blaming the group for dispatching the settlers who have turned a Gaza Strip hotel into a headquarters for violent protest.

“They sent the settlers to that bloody hotel; they are acting like an ostrich, looking the other way and ignoring the results of their actions, they sent that girl who kicked a policeman in his head, they sent people who are endangering lives of other people”, Horev said.

One of the drivers who had his vehicle’s tires flattened by the nails is a settler of Qadumim settlement and an opponent of disengagement.

The driver, Gilad Levy, voiced strong criticism of these actions.  

Ben-Gurion airport officials advised departing passengers to leave early for the terminal in case they encounter delays due to road blocking.

The Israeli police said it has conducted preventive arrests of suspected anti-disengagement activists in recent days.

Police commander Yaakov Peleg said Israeli security had uncovered a plan by extremists to disrupt water, electricity and telephone services. 

“After the information of intentions to harm infrastructures was confirmed, we conducted a number of arrests,” Peleg said. “This is a dangerous issue. We are probing the incidents and information,” he added.