Tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating throughout Israel in the widest protest so far against the Gaza pullout plan.
At Jerusalem’s main entrance, campaigners urged motorists to pull over for 15 minutes to think about the withdrawal. There were similar scenes at intersections nationwide, as protestors held up signs reading “Jews don’t expel Jews”.
A large contingent of riot police had been deployed but despite some scuffles, there were no signs of violence or attempts to block traffic like in previous rallies.
“We’re trying to stop the daily life in Israel in order to make the people and the Knesset rethink this horrible plan which is to be able to destroy the Israeli democracy, the Israeli unity,” said Effi Eitam, a right-wing member of the Knesset. Opinion polls show a majority of Israelis approve the government plan to pull out from all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and 4 out of 120 in the West Bank.
In another sign of defiance to the plan, a group of right-wing protestors has set up an illegal outpost in the flashpoint Gush Katif area on the site of a settlement destroyed just 24 hours earlier by Israeli bulldozers.