Around five thousand soldiers and policemen started a rehearsal on Monday for the pullout from the Gaza Strip, shortly before the start of the operation, Israeli sources reported.

Three army divisions started training immediately after an Israeli government decision to forward the pullout slated to begin mid-August to the beginning of the month.

The army constructed a mock settlement to make the training more real.  The training includes evacuating small homes as well as big buildings.

Training is taking place in two military bases in Israel called Tze’elim and Julis, in the south of Israel.  The division to be responsible for the army’s part of the pullout also started training simultaneously.

The army has also rented a school building in the town of Ofakim where the forces will study the theoretical aspects of the disengagement.  Ofakim is targeted by the settlers’ new plan to disrupt disengagement.  It is proposed to be used as base for protestors to carry out activities.

Houses for the evacuees are almost ready.  The head of the Disengagement Administration (Sela), Yonatan Bassi, Monday toured the housing that will be put at the disposal of the evacuees inside the Green Line.

It is not strange to realize that settlers, who were ideologically planted in the Gaza Strip in the early seventies almost, can not believe, or do not want to believe, that the same system and person who planted them there is going to remove them, local observers say.

Bassi said that many of the settlers are beginning to realize that they will really have to evacuate their homes.

‘They come to us and burst into tears. It’s a painful process and woe unto us if we do not go through it as brothers,’ he said. ‘We have psychologists and social workers to deal with all the evacuees. Many people are threatening to do terrible things. They even say they will commit suicide.’