Thousands of Israeli ultranationalists have suspended their bid to march on Gaza settlements in protest at the planned pullout after police blocked their way.They have turned back to the town of Ofakim to decide what to do next. A similar march was also abandoned last month after security forces kept the demonstrators penned up in a desert town for three days. This time the settler supporters – in many cases entire families – say even if they don’t make it to the enclave of Gush Katif, people will know they tried. In the southern town of Ofakim, thousands of protesters held a rally yesterday. Earlier, police arrested dozens of demonstrators who had sneaked around police lines towards Gush Katif. But potentially the most worrying development for the Israeli government is the help that settlers have reportedly received from some soldiers to infiltrate Gaza. If confirmed, that would be a nightmare scenario for Ariel Sharon, with troops with religious convictions cooperating with settlers. Israel’s pullout from Gaza is due to start on August 17. It will be the first dismantling of Jewish enclaves on territory Israel captured from the Palestinians in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israeli settlers abandon bid to march on Gaza