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      Report: N´vei Dekalim May be First to be Destroyed

      N'vei Dekalim residents report they have received information indicating their town's uprooting will begin as early as tomorrow morning. Hundreds of Yassam policemen are on hand.

      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 8/16/2005, 12:34 PM / Last Update: 8/16/2005, 10:28 AM

      Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz said today, however, that the final decision on which towns to destroy first had not yet been made. He said that the decision is up to the army, and that it will be made by tonight. The main consideration, according to Mofaz, is to shorten the expulsion process as much as possible.

      The army forced its way into several Gush Katif communities over the night, including N'vei Dekalim, Gan-Or, Gadid, and others, bringing large containers into the towns in which they hope residents will pack their belongings.

      As of 1 PM, large police forces were making their way into the town, pushing aside the residents trying to stand in their way. Several people have been arrested. Behind the forces was a relatively short line of trucks carrying containers.

      Some families that have withstood the psychological and security pressures of the last five years - close to 6,000 Kassam rockets and mortar shells, the threat of expulsion, the siege, arrests and beatings at the checkpoints, public de-legitimization, threat of losing compensation and belongings, non-solutions for future housing, and much more - have decided to spare themselves the last torture of being subjected to forced expulsion from their homes at the hands of Israeli soldiers. They have therefore decided to pack up today, and ironically, have turned to the army and police for help in bringing the empty containers in and sending their packed containers out.

      Those families apparently number no more than 90, however. It is estimated by both army and Gush Katif officials that more than half the families throughout Gush Katif, and especially in N'vei Dekalim, plan to remain in their homes even after midnight tonight.

      Many containers have also made their way into the twin towns of Gan-Or and Gadid, just south of N'vei Dekalim.

      Defense Minister Mofaz said he estimates that more than half the families will remain in their homes after the two-day "grace" period ends at midnight tonight.

      Early this morning, a large force of some 400 special Yassam unit policemen spent close to an hour sawing open the large metal gates of N'vei Dekalim. Residents had welded the gates shut over the night.

      The policemen arrived in the town with their nametags covered with black tape. A television correspondent asked why the tags were covered, in contravention of previous promises by top police officials. A Yassam policeman explained that the tags shine in the night, and are therefore liable to expose the policemen in the dark.

      In Moshav Katif, one of the three northern Gush Katif communities adjacent to Netzer Hazani and Ganei Tal, about 20 of the 70 families are packing but not planning to leave.

      The two northernmost communities in Sharon's disengagement plan - Ganim and Kadim in northern Shomron - are now empty, after their last families left yesterday. The other two Shomron communities on the list, however, appear to be even stronger than ever. Hundreds of residents in Sa-Nur have not allowed the soldiers to enter to deliver the eviction notices, and Chomesh, too, is now populated by close to 1,000 people, including many youths and children, a Talmud Torah and more. Four new families are living in one house, kibbutz-style. Four of the veteran families of Chomesh left in recent days, headed towards a hotel for the immediate future with an uncertain future afterwards. Several families that are planning to move to nearby Kibbutz Yad Chana are still awaiting final approval for their move.

      Two babies have been born in Gush Katif in the past three days - one as his mother was on her way out of Netzarim, and another one in Ganei Tal last night.

      Most of the families in Gadid are packing and are planning to leave today. They prayed their last Mincha prayer service together this afternoon.