Monday, August 22, 2005

Disengagement, 22 August. Overview

The IDF acknowledged at 7.40 this evening that all Israeli civilians have now left the Gaza Strip. This follows the departure of around 80 families who left Netzarim settlement this afternoon meaning that all 21 Gaza settlements comprising approximately 8500 people have been evacuated in little over one week.

The focus of the Israeli authorities is now on returning those possessions left behind by the settlers, as well as continuing the demolition of homes that began on Sunday. Given the speed with which the settlements have been evacuated over the last week, a completion of the whole process may occur sooner than expected. (The IDF stated towards the end of last week that they expected completion by 2 October).

The French journalist seized on 14 August was released safely in Gaza city this afternoon. There is still little information regarding the identity of his kidnappers and the reasons for the abduction.

Palestinian Reporting

Hamas supporters gathering

Around 5000 Hamas supporters are currently gathering in Omar el Mukhtar street in response to the call by Hamas to congregate in front of the PLC.

Palestinian Reporting

Dismantling of Mahfoza base

At 6.00pm, the IDF began to dismantle its former base at Mahfoza directly to the west of Abu Houli junction. This base was targeted by Hamas in June 2004, when it was blown up and one soldier killed.

Palestinian Reporting

Departure of Netzarim settlers

Haaretz is reporting that bus loads of settlers have now left Netzarim settlement and are en route to the Western Wall. Netzarim is the last of the 21 Gaza settlements to be evacuated.

Israeli Reporting (Haaretz)

Hamas march in Gaza city

Hamas movement is requesting its supporters to march on the PLC building after the fourth prayers this evening. The call comes in response to the continuing departure of Israeli settlers from Gaza.

Palestinian Reporting

Kidnapped French Journalist Released

The French Journalist who was kidnapped on 14 August was released at 1600hrs today.
Now he is now at the police headquarters in Gaza City.

Palestinian Reporting.
There are currently no other details about who was holding him and why.

Controlled explosion at Kfar Darom settlement

The IDF conducted a controlled explosion outside the western fence of Kfar Darom settlement at 2.30 pm.

Palestinian Reporting .

Coastal Road. Reopened.

The Coastal road has reopened for movement in both directions. Two IDF tanks are monitoring the road from the north west of Netzarim settlement but are not interfering with the flow of traffic.

Palestinian Reporting

Islamic Jihad

Up to 100 masked, Islamic Jihad gunmen have left Al Awda mosque in vehicles for Al Nayma square in Rafah. The celebratory procession is related to the continuing Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Palestinian Reporting

Karni and Nahal Oz crossings closed

Karni and Nahal Oz crossings have remained closed today, as was earlier advised by the IDF. The closure coincides with the evacuation of the nearby Netzarim settlement.

Palestinian Reporting

Dugit demolitions

The IDF is continuing the demolition of former settler homes in Dugit and this is expected to be completed by Monday afternoon.

Palestinian Reporting

French Journalist

One week after the abduction of the French journalist on 14 August, there is still no knowledge of his whereabouts.

Palestinian Reporting

Abu Houli Junction.

Abu Houli junction opened at 10.45 pm on Sunday and closed again at 5 am this morning.

Palestinian Reporting

Gaza Security Assessment

Although the head of Southern Command, Major General Dan Harel stated on Sunday that coordination with the PA had been "very good" since the start of the disengagement, the Head of Military Intelligence, Major General Aharon ZeƩvi Farkash reported to the Cabinet his assessment that there will be an increase in attacks by Palestinian factions against the IDF once all the settlers have exited Gaza.

Israeli Reporting (Haaretz)

Evacuation Update, 22 August

Sunday saw the first demolition of settler homes in Nisanit, Dugit, Peat Sadeh and Ganei Tal. The Yad Mordechai junction, north of the Gaza Strip was closed to vehicular traffic last night as Elei Sinia and Nisanit settlers marched northward.
All the Gaza settlements have now been evacuated with the exception of Nezarim whose residents will leave from 9 am today.
Following the withdrawal of all the settlers, the IDF will then concentrate on removing the personal belongings and possessions that were left behind. Thereafter, the homes will be destroyed, with the IDF finally destroying or relocating army bases and infrastructure.
Palestinian Reporting

Coastal Road Convoys

The IDF closed the Coastal Road at 05.30 am this morning to coincide with the evacuation of Netzarim settlement. In spite of this, movement between north and southern Gaza has been possible since 8 am with the IDF allowing 20 vehicles at a time to move alternatively in both directions. Palestinian National Security Force are responsible for the convoys.

The Coastal road is expected to reopen at 7.00 on Monday evening.

Palestinian Reporting