Daily Israel Report

´Orange Wave´ Upsets Sharon, Bush and Police

Opposition to the government's evacuation plan has sent tremors in the establishment. Sharon has ordered police to clear the roads, the police fear loss of control, and Bush is losing support.
First Publish: 6/26/2005, 2:52 PM / Last Update: 6/26/2005, 1:46 AM

In a massive protest scheduled for Monday, thousands of motorists plan to stop their cars on the shoulders for 15 minutes without actually blocking the roads. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon demanded on Thursday that the police spare no efforts to keep roads clear of anti-evacuation protestors.

Police fear they will not be able to cope with anti-evacuation organizers who plan to "shut down the country" if the government starts to force Jews out of their homes. Police officials are weighing the possibility of declaring a national emergency during the planned evacuation, the Jerusalem Post reports, and asking the public to stay indoors.

The inability of the police and courts to function smoothly was exposed last month when hundreds of youth were arrested for blocking roads. Imprisonment under harsh conditions only strengthened the will of the "orange crowd" and won sympathy from supporters after exposure of bias in the media and courts.

The timing of the start of the evacuation could not be worse for the government because it coincides with the peak summer vacation period. Tens of thousands of families plan to spend their vacations actively supporting the continuation of Jewish life in Gaza and northern Samaria.

American support for Sharon and President George W. Bush also is beginning to crumble. Bush received only 25 percent of the Jewish vote in the presidential elections last year, but he won support from more than half of the orthodox community. Losing their support could cost the Republican Party serious financial and electoral losses in next year's mid-term elections.

"My community is very upset," said Bush backer Dr. Mandell Granchow, a former president of the Orthodox Union. "Bush is turning on Israel."

Susan Rosenbluth, editor of a pro-Yesha New Jersey Jewish newspaper, said many people are angry that they voted for Bush.