Tzviki Bar-Chai, the Yesha Council's leading representative in Gush Katif, says that the army has broken its word regarding the way in which it would bring in the large moving containers. "We made a deal with them, they broke it, and everything is off," Bar-Chai said. "This is the manner in which those who are sending the army on this despicable mission have been acting all along. It's very hard for Ariel Sharon to see these pictures of most of the residents refusing to even pack, and therefore he wants to show violence and police clashing with these wonderful residents."
The situation in N'vei Dekalim is now described as a "potentially explosive stalemate." Special Yassam police forces are in the process of trying to bring in containers for the minority of families who wish to pack up. Protestors have tried to impede their progress, burning trash containers and the like, but the police are making their way slowly along. Several communal leaders have called for the residents to allow the police to advance. Voices of protest were raised, but it appears that the stormy atmosphere has calmed down somewhat.
Several IDF generals in the reserves are on hand, saying they wish to make sure there is no violence or bloodshed. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan said that the problem is the lack of leadership, both on the national level and in N'vei Dekalim as well. Gen. (res.) Yoram Ya'ir, wearing a shirt reading "With You," says he is trying to find compromise solutions as well.
Earlier this afternoon, three large meetings were held in N'vei Dekalim, for various groups. Arutz-7's Yishai Fleisher reports that Tzviki Bar-Chai, speaking at one of them, said, that 60% of the residents are not planning to leave. This announcement was greeted by applause. He then said that 15,000 troops are arriving tonight to help residents leave, and that the forced expulsion is expected to begin at 5-6 AM tomorrow morning.
The army believes, Bar-Chai said, that by 12 noon N'vei Dekalim wil be empty. "No one knows, however, what will be the reaction of the international community, or of the Arabs, or of the Jews," Bar-Chai said.
This afternoon at 4:30 PM, a special hour-long Mincha prayer service is planned in the main synagogue, as well as the dedication of a new mikveh (ritual bath) in the city. "Arik Sharon does not rule the world," Bar-Chai told the assembled, "and he too shall pass."
"There are all kinds of crazies here," Bar-Chai said, "and so it is important that we follow the leadership." He was referring to the leadership that is trying to find a compromise with the army that will enable the containers to be brought in.
A person in the audience then asked, "But we know that there is a split in the leadership, and that some wish to take a tougher stand."
Fleisher reported that murmurs of approval were heard both after the above comment and when Bar-Chai spoke, and that there are definitely two streams of thought among the public.
Amanah settlement organization head Moti Yogev then spoke, saying, "We must protect the synagogue, which is an important symbol... I have seen the troops that are arraigned against us, but even if we lose, in the end we will be strengthened."
Some feel that the army and/or police will try to make a move to begin the expulsion at 8 PM this evening. The residents were advised to keep their children with them starting at that hour, to avoid having their children snatched away by the expulsion forces.
It was similarly resolved - in some circles - that at 8 PM tonight, the visiting youths should come to the central synagogue complex. Other reports are that the youths should assemble earlier. The boys are to gather in the Ashkenazi shul, and the girls - including close to 1,000 high school girls who have gathered over the past few weeks in the local ulpanah (religious girls' high school) - will be in the Sephardic synagogue. The stated purpose is to show a united front, and to protect the synagogues.
"There is no question," Fleisher said, "that they want to calm down the atmosphere in this way. But there is also a more cynical approach, which says that their goal is to try to centralize all the 'visitors' in one place... It's obvious that not everyone will go along with this decision. There are some who say straight out that the Yesha Council is too placid and is acting as if it doesn't really want to win."
Fleisher later met with MK Uri Ariel, who said. "There are two approaches - one that is more passive, and one that is more activist. I personally favor the latter, such as blocking Kisufim and other areas in the country." Asked if the passive approach could possibly hurt the struggle, Ariel answered in the affirmative.
Col. (res.) Moshe Leshem, head of the Gamla Shall Not Fall Again organization, also took part in the conversation. He said that the two objectives have to be the Temple Mount and the Sharon family's Shikmim Farm. He did not elaborate, but added, "The soldiers' motivation can be rated at 3-4, while ours is 9-10; this outweighs their numerical advantage."