Celebrating the upcoming Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, thousands of Palestinians have been taking part in a rally organised by the militant group Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is facing a challenge from Hamas, a group sworn to Israel’s destruction. It has vowed not to disarm. Palestinian security forces have been preparing to deploy near Jewish settlements in a protective cordon against possible militant attacks. Settlers determined not to leave have been stocking up on supplies. Those who have not gone by Wednesday will be dragged away by the Israeli Army. In Kfar Darom they are ready for a fight.
“We bought a lot of food, a lot of water, only for two weeks, for three weeks, by this time we will wait for our brothers to come and help us, and after we finish the victory, we will send this food to poor man.” Fervently religious hardliners have been joined by withdrawal opponents who have set up camp nearby. Israel has occupied the Palestinian territory since 1967, when Israel successfully fought a six-day war against neighbours Jordan, Syria, Egypt.