IDF Cracks Down and Reports 2,000 Made It Into Gush Katif

An order, given Tuesday, bars friends and relatives of residents from entering Gush Katif. This to stop mass migration of Jews to the threatened communities. First degree family members may enter.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 18:19

According to the defense establishment, the order was given due to the fact that friends and relatives of Gush residents have been staying in Gush Katif after receiving permits to enter the area for visits. According to the IDF, more than 2,000 people have managed to enter Gush Katif, 1,000 of them in recent days.

Arutz-7’s Ariel Kahane reports that Gush Katif residents, and apparently, the security establishment, have no idea how many “guests” are currently in Gush Katif. In recent weeks, tent cities, schools, empty apartments and public buildings have all been filled to capacity with young people and the hundreds of families who have moved to the region to combat the withdrawal. Residents are scrambling to keep up with the influx of new residents and continue to build temporary housing structures and refurbish run-down homes.

Yoel Newman, the head of the “Hospitality Headquarters” in N’vei Dekalim, told Arutz-7 that for a number of days he has been trying to get an idea of just how many people have made it into the region, but has not been able to get a clear picture. “Many of them go from community to community and it is therefore difficult to keep track of how many are here,” he said.

In addition to those living in tent cities and dormitories, the population in many of the communities has swelled due to guests staying in the homes of residents – friends, relatives and new acquaintances. In the community of Netzer Hazani, for example, the population has doubled, due to the availability of spare rooms, in neighbors' homes, being loaned to activists.

Another indication of the rise in numbers is the new shortage of seats in Gush Katif’s synagogues. “Usually at prayer services these days, 25 percent of those present are not veteran residents,” David from N’vei Dekalim told Arutz-7, “and often I do not recognize half of those present.”

Soldiers appeared to be cracking down already Tuesday morning, arresting three teenagers found hiding beneath sacks of carrots on a pick-up truck on its way into Gush Katif.

A bus carrying residents to Gush Katif was stopped for inspection Tuesday afternoon. Adults exhibiting identity cards listing them as Gush Katif residents were permitted to continue, but several youths were ordered off of the bus. Juveniles do not have identity cards, and are therefore unable to prove their area of residence.

The swelling population has already led to a decision by Israel Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi to increase the number of police participating in the expulsion of residents from Gaza and northern Samaria from 9,000 to 11,000.