Gush Katif Residents Ordered to Leave After Tisha B´Av Fast

Gaza's Jewish residents are refusing to receive the letters from the IDF ordering them to leave their homes by next Monday. Residents say the letters are another attempt to break their spirit.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 09:25

The order, delivered to the municipalities of Jewish towns in Gaza, informs citizens that they are to leave their homes by midnight following the breaking of the Tisha B'Av fast.

The IDF order also dictates that residents of Gaza's Jewish towns will not be permitted to go from one community to another starting Sunday - placing a siege upon the residents who refuse to abandon their homes by the deadline.

"In light of government decisions and upon the order of the Prime Minister, you are required to evacuate your houses and leave the territory of the Gaza Strip before midnight following the conclusion of Tisha B'Av [the Jewish fast day commemorating various national disasters that have befallen the Jewish nation -ed.] (August 14th, 2005)," wrote IDF regional commander Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel. "Beginning from that time, the stage of 'willing' evacuation will end, crossings into Gaza will cease to allow the entry of citizens (only leaving will be permitted). From midnight onward, remaining in the Gaza Strip is illegal [for Jews]. On the 10th of Av (August 15th, 2005) security forces will arrive to evacuate you from your homes and instruct you to leave the Gaza Strip."

A similar letter was sent out by the head of the IDF southern headquarters Brig.-Gen. Guy Tzur. "At the conclusion of Tisha B'Av, the time where the nation of Israel laments the destruction of its Holy Temple with hope and prayer for its rebuilding - and with faith that specifically from the pain sprouts forth redemption and that from amidst the destructions the desolation will blossom - the Gaza Strip will be closed to entry for citizens of Israel. Likewise, movement between the communities in Gaza will not be permitted. On the morning of August 15th, security forces will arrive and hand you orders to evacuate your homes."

The restriction on movement will even apply to journalists, who until now have been allowed free access throughout the area by security forces. The aim of the order is to prevent residents of one community from coming to the assistance of any other community during the eviction of the Jews from Gush Katif. During the removal of a security structure from Kfar Darom Sunday, residents of Neve Dekalim were forcefully prevented from reaching the town by IDF soldiers.

Jewish Gaza residents told Arutz-7 that they refuse to receive the letters due to the fact that they consider them to be "a cheap media ploy by the security establishment." The leadership of the Gaza Coast Municipality, who received the letters in bulk and was instructed to distribute them, said, "We will not cooperate with this act. The army stands poised to throw the residents into the street and wants us to be the tools for this mission."

In response to the refusal to distribute the letter, IDF soldiers at Kisufim Crossing handed out copies of the letter Tuesday to cars that passed through the crossing.

Gush Katif’s spiritual leadership called upon residents Monday to remain in their homes past the legal deadline set by the government.

“We stand before giant and daunting and decisive times,” wrote Gush Katif Chief Rabbi Yigal Kaminetzky in a widely-distributed announcement. “We must not bow our heads. The Nation of Israel needs us here today, strong and more steadfast than ever, since we are the heart and the foundation of the entire struggle…Our sages, of blessed memory, taught us that “even when a sharpened sword is laying on the neck of a person, he must not despair of mercy.”