IDF Explains "Temporary Closure"

The IDF issued a dramatic statement at around noon today, announcing the "temporary limitation of entry to the Gaza Strip."

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, | updated: 13:56

In a statement which appears in full below, the IDF explained that due to violations of the law and order and the harming of a local Arab in a stone-throwing battle between Jewish and Arab youth, the political echelons imposed a temporary limitation of entrance in the Gush Katif area in order to restore calm and order.

MK Effie Eitam [pictured above] said that if the order is in fact merely a temporary measure "to remove the extremists from Gush Katif," then he will not object to it. Eitam is a leading opponent of the expulsion plan who is outspokenly against soldiers refusing orders as part of the struggle to block the disengagement plan.

MK Eitam said that he and other leaders of the struggle against the disengagement, including Yesha Council members, will be meeting this afternoon to discuss the situation. "If we see that this is merely a ruse to cut off Gush Katif totally," Eitam told Arutz-7, "then I will call for everyone to make their way to Gush Katif to protest this."

Eitam declared, "The attempt to isolate our heroic brothers in Gush Katif will not work. We will call on everyone to come and bond with the residents, in order to prevent the fence that was intended to stop terrorists from being used to separate between brothers."

Nadia Matar of Women in Green, among those who were expelled from the hotel today, sharply attacked this approach. Click here to read article. Click here to hear Mrs. Matar and other activists speaking about today's events on Arutz-7 radio.

The Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council has called an emergency meeting in Gush Katif this afternoon. The meeting, set for 4:00pm at the N'vei Dekalim city hall, will be attended by the Council heads, right-wing public figures and representatives of the Gush Katif leadership.

The full IDF statement announcing the temporary closure follows:
"During the past 24 hours, factors opposing the disengagement have radicalized their activities in the Gaza Strip, including repeated violations of the law and order, as well as harm to Palestinian residents of the area and to the security forces.

Updated information exists regarding additional groups of Israelis that are moving towards the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to provide backup for the rioters and to act to further escalate the situation.

A further escalation of this course of action taken by radical elements may have grave effects on the region.

In light of this situation, the GOC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel, signed an order regarding a temporary limitation of entrance and presence in the Gaza Strip. Entrance to these areas will be allowed to Israelis working in the area, providing essential services, to Israelis who are listed as residents of the area, and to others whose entry is permitted by the authorities.

The IDF and the Israeli Police forces plan to act in the near future in order to restore calm in the area. Upon completion of this activity, the order limiting entry to the area will be removed.

It should be noted that this order is not the order of limitation to be issued by the political echelon as part of the preparations for the implementation of the disengagement plan.

The IDF and the Israeli Police are in continuous contact with the leaders of the Gush Katif communities, and are updating them regarding all developments. The IDF and Israeli Police are making every effort to minimize the harm to the residents' daily lives."