Wearing emblematic orange, thousands of Israelis continue to protest at their government’s plans to empty Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. They gathered in Ofakim – the town has now become the focal point of the protest movement after marchers heading towards Gaza were forced back there last night. They had set out from Sderot. A few made it as far as the Gush Katif settlement bloc. Others were picked up in a closed military zone in Kissufim. It is understood all those who got through the massive security operation have been picked up. More people have been arrested in clashes in Kissufim since. Several thousand troops are still deployed at Ofakim while even more pullout protesters ponder their next move. Opposition to the withdrawal, due to start on August 17, has been growing in recent months. In general Palestinians are welcoming the move with celebration parades. But the situation is still tense. Some fear Israel will simply increase its presence in the West Bank and already the government has revealed plans for 72 more housing units there.