|IDF, Police Forces Clear out Gush Katif Hotel|
by Matthew Gutman The Jerusalem Post - June 30, 2005
The IDF and police cleared out the Maoz Hayam hotel in Gush Katif on
Thursday, hours after the IDF declared the Gaza Strip a closed military
The evacuation of the right-wing stronghold - carried out by hundreds of
policemen and soldiers - was completed in less than 30 minutes, Israel Radio
There were no casualties in the operation.
Dozens of arrested activists were crammed onto two buses and removed from
the Gaza Strip after the army pulled them out of their stronghold.
Resistance was relatively light, despite expectations of serious fighting.
The hotel was left smoking behind them as tires burned in the empty
OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel and police\'s southern district
commander, Commissioner Uri Bar-Lev, were at the site during the raid.
Busloads of hundreds of soldiers and policemen were brought into the Gaza
Strip to help with the evacuation. The buses were carrying ladders and
cranes and squads of men in full battle gear to clear out the hotel taken
over by settlers in recent weeks.
Hundreds of far right activists had holed up in the hotel, changing the name
of the hotel from "Palm Beach Hotel" to "The Seaside Fortress".
Security forces arrested two Israeli journalists for attempting to report
the eviction of radical settlers from the Gush Katif hotel.
Channel One\'s Vicko Atwan told The Jerusalem Post that he and Eddie Yisrael
were attacked by the officers. They were held for an hour and a half with
their hands bound behind their backs and not given any water.
"They totally lost their minds," he said, speaking to fellow journalists
waiting outside the Kissufim crossing to the Gaza Strip.
Netzer Hazani resident Michal Matzliach, came walking out of the Gaza Strip
with suit bags in hand. Her son Eitan was scheduled to get married today at
6:30 p.m. She was crying, saying "I don\'t know if even one of the 200 people
I invited to my son\'s wedding will arrive."
She screamed at the soldiers saying "these are your sons too!" Matzliach
told the press that the settlers were being "treated like dogs."
Police set up checkpoints around the northern Negev to bar activists from
reaching Gush Katif, since the IDF declared the Gaza Strip a closed military
zone Thursday morning.
Traffic was backed up throughout the Negev, especially in nearby Sderot, due
to vehicle inspections aimed at preventing disengagement opponents from
reaching the Gaza settlements.
Any cars that appeared to be transporting anti-pullout activists were
Dots of orange were visible among the fields as activists abandoned
motorized transportation and were trekking through
Negev orchards, in order to bypass the checkpoints.
The activists, many in their teens, were equipped with backpacks, sleeping
bags, and water.
Thursday\'s operations constitute one of the IDF\'s final dress rehearsals
prior to the disengagement, which is less than 50 days away.