Yesha Council settlement leaders met on Tuesday evening with Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi and Southern District police commander Uri Bar-Lev,  the Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.

The meeting was conducted shortly before the anti-disengagement protest in the Israeli Negev town of Sderot.

“Pullout protesters plan to head toward Gush Katif on Wednesday,” Yesha leader Pinchas Wallerstein said.

Wallerstein added that more than 500 families in Sderot offered to house pullout protestors.

Fear of Qassams reduces number of settlers in Sderot Rally

Israeli Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said that the Israeli army would limit the number of anti-disengagement protestors in the Israeli Negev town of Sderot to no more than 5000 people, out of fear that Palestinian homemade shells could be fired at the town.

Israeli Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi arrived on Tuesday afternoon at the headquarters of the army command in Sderot prior to the scheduled evening anti-pullout protest.

The Israeli police declared high alert around Sderot. A military helicopter and an observation blimp were flying over the area.

The police allowed 500 buses carrying pullout protestors into Sderot on Tuesday afternoon, while private vehicles are being routed to parking lots outside the city.

The police had originally opposed holding the protest in Sderot, arguing that the protest would place nearly 100,000 demonstrators within range of Palestinian Qassam shells.

Settlers’ leaders and the police were at odds on Tuesday after the leaders vowed that tens of thousands of protestors would ultimately march towards the Gush Katif settlement bloc.

Ezra said the police would divert the protestors to Ofakim, near Sderot, if they saw that more than 5,000 were heading towards Sderot.

“The protestors will be allowed to camp in Ofakim until the end of the week”, Ezra said, ‘but the police will not allow them to set out from Ofakim for Gush Katif’.