Gaza pullout continues: police meet opposition

Gaza pullout continues in Israel, it is due to finish in 38 hours. Whereas security forces detained 50 Israelis for clashing with police and soldiers who were attempting to help Gaza settlers leave before the Tuesday midnight deadline for voluntary evacuation. Crowds of protestors barricaded themselves in their communities, burned tyres and locked arms in a show of defiance.

Convoys of buses, trucks and other vehicles carried security forces into Gaza from Israel at Kissufim crossing. For weeks the security forces have been training for scenarios that include violent resistance.

Buses carrying troops rolled into the settlement of Ganei Tal. Israeli media reports said residents of Ganei Tal agreed to leave peacefully by 1 p.m. (1000 GMT), Reuters says.

But confrontation loomed at Neve Dekalim, the biggest of the 21 Gaza settlements, where hundreds of ultranationalist youngsters who slipped into the community of red-roofed homes over the past several weeks holed up in a synagogue for a possible last stand.

"We feel the residents' pain," Israeli police commissioner Moshe Karadi told The Jerusalem Post. "But we will do our job and are entering with our full force to show the settlers that we are unstoppable."

Meanwhile Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat appealed to both sides to set the negotiation range immediately, Xinhua informs.

"We must re-engage immediately in negotiations the day after this engagement to revive hope in the minds of Palestinians and Israelis that peace is doable and to revive hope you need to identify a set of negotiable issues agreed between the two parties for the permanent status negotiations; that's Jerusalem settlement, borders, refugees and water, " said Erekat.

He said both sides should work together to make Palestinians and Israelis believe that peace is possible in the conflict-ravaged area.

The Gaza pullout, hailed by Palestinian militants as a victory and assailed by its Israeli opponents as surrender to violence, will mark the first removal of Jewish settlements from land that Palestinians want for a state.

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