Senior Israeli disengagement official, Eival Giladi, said on Tuesday that about half of the settlers in the Gaza Strip, have left the Gaza strip of their own will.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nearly 50 percent of the settlers have leftÃ¢â‚¬Â, Giladi said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Troops will begin Wednesday evacuating the remaining settlers by forceÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Giladi is a reserve brigadier and chief of coordination and strategy for the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.Ã‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“in a few days there will be no settlers or infiltrators in GazaÃ¢â‚¬Â, Giladi said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“by evening hours Tuesday, the settlements in the northern Gaza Strip will be largely emptyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of pullout foes set tires ablaze and blocked the mains street leading to Naveh Dikalim settlements, and clashed with the army.
Violence in Naveh Dekalim
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies
An Israeli source reported that settlers and right-wing activists violently clashed with the Israeli soldiers as the army was protecting shipping containers heading towards the Gush Katif settlement bloc.Ã‚Â
The violent clashes erupted by midday between hundreds of settlers and Israeli soldiers and security forces.
Hundreds of security men entered Naveh Dekalim, using force to allow the entry of shipping containers into the settlement for the use of evacuees.
At least 20 settler youths were arrested after attempting to prevent the entry of the containers.
The Gush Katif is the largest settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The violence inflamed while the right-wing activists attempted to block the shipping containers from reaching the homes slated for evacuationÃ¢â‚¬Â, the Israeli police reported, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The containers were trying to reach the homes of the settlers who wish to evacuate voluntarilyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Israeli army Central Command Head, Dan Harel, said that the top priority of the army is to enable the settlers, who wish to leave, to do so peacefully and without interruptions.
Harel added that the army will not display patience towards violent acts.
An Israeli military source reported that the soldiers exercised restraint towards the settlers, and conducted dialogue with them, but when the containers arrived and the settlers started to be violent, the police decided to dispatch the Border Guard Units to the area.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
One policeman was reportedly hurt in his eye during the clashes.
The main scene of clashes was near the local councilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s building in Naveh Declaim, when the soldiers were attempting to allow the containers to reach their destination. Additional forces were assigned in order to bar the pullout foes from damaging the containers.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
The Israeli army hopes to finish evacuating the Gaza Strip settlements within 10 days, despite the fact that thousands of pullout foes infiltrated into the settlements in recent weeks, and are already escalating the opposition against pullout.
Israeli military chief of staff of the Southern Command, Brigadier General Guy Tzur, stated that he expects 200 to 300 settler families to evacuate the settlements in the Gaza Strip of Tuesday.