Pinchas Wallerstein of the Yesha Council told Channel 2 that he was very pleased with the results of the
meticulously organized protest.
“Despite the threats made on the public, they have come out and are stopped on both sides of the roads all along the length of Israel,” Wallerstein said.
The Yesha Council reports that 40,000 vehicles have pulled over to the side of the road and that more than 200,000 demonstrators are standing outside their cars along Israel’s highways to demand the government rethink the decision to expel 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria.
At 6:30 PM, the busy Bar Ilan intersection in Jerusalem was reported to be blocked by Hareidi-religious opponents of the Disengagement Plan. Thousands of Hareidi-religious protesters from the city of B'nei Brak closed off the main Jabotinsky boulevard between B'nei Brak and Ramat Gan as well.
Intersections and thoroughfares throughout Israel are expected to be blocked on Wednesday in the first act of massive civil disobedience since the "dry-run" on May 17th, during which over 500 activists were arrested.
It was reported that police officers prevented busloads of people, as well as individual cars from making their way to sites designated by the Council for the demonstration earlier Monday evening.
At the Oranit checkpoint, near Jerusalem, police asked drivers where they were headed. When the answer was "to the demonstration," the police detained the drivers for an unknown period. Similar hold-ups at other police checkpoints were also reported.
On the Ayalon Expressway into Tel Aviv, police handed out traffic tickets to the drivers of the hundreds of vehicles that have stopped along the highway's shoulder.
Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council spokespersons said, "Sharon's private police force is already now trying to prevent citizens from exercising their right to protest."
Police Chief Moshe Karadi later informed Avner Shimoni, head of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, that the police interference with and detention of anti-Disengagement protestors at the Oranit checkpoint was a local action that was taken as a result of a mistake. Karadi initiated the call after Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council representatives lodged a complaint against the illegal interference.
Chief Karadi made it clear to Shimoni that the police would not interfere with or prevent citizens trying to join the roadside protests.
Police in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction with the order and peaceful nature of the current "Stop a Moment and Think Again" protest against the government's Disengagement Plan. When asked by reporters about enforcing traffic laws prohibiting non-emergency use of the road shoulders, the police representatives said that there is to be "very selective enforcement."
The protest could be viewed using the Ayalon highway authority’s traffic cameras.
Click here to view the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway.
Click here to view the JNF interchange.