Israeli military officials admitted that the army failed to completely seal off the Gaza Strip to Israeli civilians, as it had intended to do in preparation for the upcoming evacuation of settlers, Israeli sources reported on Friday.

A number of right-wing activists made use of the focus of 20,000 army and police officers on Kfar Maimon in the Negev outside of the Strip to enter the Gaza Strip, violating an Israeli order against doing so.

After the Kfar Maimon mass protest ended the army refocused their efforts on blockading the Gaza Strip.  The Gaza Strip remained closed to Palestinians, both during and after the protest.

Military sources said that approximately 600 additional right-wing Israelis have entered the area to join anti-pullout forces since the closure was imposed on July 13. However, the settlers’ Yesha Council claimed that 1,000 activists managed to slip into the Gaza Strip on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.

On Thursday morning the Yesha Council chairman, Bentzi Leiberman, told the protestors to go home so that they could return with renewed strength and organization.

Leiberman declared that settlers are coming back to Kfar Maimon on Wednesday with a new plan to enter the Gaza Strip bit by bit.

The army said some non-Gush Katif residents managed to get to the Gaza Strip because soldiers made do with demanding their drivers’ licenses only.  Others cut through the fence near Kissufim crossing point into the Gaza strip.

Other settlers got into the strip by getting out of their cars, walking through the checkpoints, then getting in cars on the other side.

For some time, Palestinians used this method in the West Bank.  The army however, positioned soldiers in watch towers, set up at almost every checkpoint, and the soldiers would shoot at any Palestinian attempting to walk through the checkpoint.

In the settlers case, troops seemed to be lenient about accepting the reasons people gave for wanting to enter the area. People are also taking advantage of invitations by Gush residents to receive permission to enter, and then disregarding the invitation’s expiration date.

Many of the soldiers are settlers and some have anti-disengagement sentiments.  Gush Katif is rife with stories of soldiers or police who have assisted people in attempts to get through the roadblocks.