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Report from Chomesh, Gan-Or/Gadid, and Ganei Tal

Tense and charged stand-offs between soldiers/police and residents outside Chomesh, in the Shomron, as well as outside Gan-Or, Gadid, and Ganei Tal.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/15/2005, 7:25 AM / Last Update: 8/15/2005, 9:52 AM

Just south of N'vei Dekalim, the main Gush Katif road leads to a turnoff to the twin communities of Gan-Or and Gadid. At 7 AM this morning, the residents blocked the main gate leading to the two, and held a large prayer service. At around 9 AM, the local brigade commander, Col. Hagi Yehezkel, arrived.

One eyewitness said, "Behind him was a long line of black-uniformed forces, which could not help but leave very unpleasant associations with Jewish history of several decades ago. The officer kept saying, 'We are coming in peace,' but many of the residents attacked him [verbally] very strongly. Even a foreign photographer asked him, 'If your intentions are peaceful, what's this black-uniformed brigade behind you?' Yechezkel muttered something... Local residents yelled at him as he approached, 'Where were you when they were shooting at us? Where’s your morality? We called on you when the Arabs fired mortars at us, but you refused to return fire, not even once.' Yechezkel finally turned back, and the black-uniformed forces boarded the buses. The buses are still there, however."

In Chomesh, in the northern Shomron, the residents have closed the gates, leaving hundreds of people inside. The army is not yet attempting to forcibly enter, and is building an army base outside the community. Most of the original residents of the town have left over the past several months.

In Ganei Tal, a tense stand-off continues. Hundreds of residents are singing within the locked gate, while just outside it, the local police commander talked with Tova, a representative of the town secretariat. Tova said, "We want to be alone with our sadness and our thoughts and our town for the next 48 hours; we ask that you leave us alone and don't bother us with those orders." The police officer, wearing a knitted yarmulke, listened politely, but after a while, appeared to lose his patience: "Tova, what you are doing is not fair. We want to come to each house and talk to each family." He then walked away with the few police and army officers who accompanied him - and the singing suddenly changed into a burst of cheering as the police "retreated."