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      Soldiers Destroy Beachside Buildings in Gush Katif

      Security forces razed ten abandoned Arab-owned buildings early Sunday afternoon along the Gush Katif sea-shore, fearing they will be used to house more Jewish Land of Israel loyalists.
      First Publish: 6/27/2005, 8:14 AM / Last Update: 6/26/2005, 2:30 PM

      Asked by one of the residents what they were doing, the soldiers answered, "We're just fulfilling orders."

      Local Jewish residents attempted to block the destruction, and some even lied down in the way of the bulldozers. Two people, including a journalist, have been injured in clashes with the army, and several were arrested.

      The buildings, some 10 in number, are under the ownership of Arabs and were used as restaurants, but have not been in use for over ten years.

      Last year, after the massacre of the Hatuel family by Palestinian terrorists, Jewish residents wished to implement an "appropriate Zionist response" by building a new Jewish point of settlement in the Land of Israel in these buildings. "The police, however, warned us not to enter that area," one nearby resident told Arutz-7 today, "as it was 'Arab-owned.' But now, there is no law and no judge, and the army and government do whatever they want, they simply come in wantonly and destroy the buildings."

      The structures that were destroyed in this morning's relatively quick operation were similar to the ones in nearby Shirat HaYam that were recently renovated - in some cases, practically rebuilt - in order to house Jews from around the country. Shirat HaYam is a beachside community of some 20 families, just to the south of the buildings that were destroyed this morning.

      Asked why she thought the structures had deserved the wrath of the authorities, the Shirat HaYam resident said, "They apparently learned of plans by our Kela Agency - Gaza Absorption Authority - to bring in more dozens of people to live there, and so this is their response."

      Aryeh Yitzchaki, a leading figure in Kela and in the efforts to bolster the Jewish presence in Gush Katif, said over the weekend that "three more outposts are being planned, similar to the Maoz HaYam (Sea Fortress) Hotel that has earned such a place in the headlines." Asked this morning if the other two still remain, he said, "Don't worry, we'll settle this place as well - and others as well. Right now this place looks like Stalingrad, but we'll turn this into a Jewish outpost, too."