April 27, 2005
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) today told tens of thousands supporters of
Jewish life in Gaza to prepare for a “civil rebellion” to block the proposed
evacuation of Jews from 21 Gaza communities.
Organizers of the massive rally said 80,000 people came, while police, who
usually minimize crowd estimates at right wing protests, said 50,000 people
arrived. Earlier this week thousands of others visited Gush Katif, in southern
Gaza, and thousands more stayed away because of fears of a rerun of last
year’s mammoth Independence Day traffic jam that choked roads leading to Gush
Katif, turning them into the nation’s largest parking lot.
Eldad spoke to the crowd after completing a 13-day march of 220 kilometers
(137 miles) from northern Samaria to Gaza. “An historic injustice is on our
shoulders. We are fighting for our homes,” Eldad told the huge crowd at the
afternoon rally. “If [defense forces] close Gush Katif, no one will travel in
Israel. We will stop the country. No one will fly, no one will travel and no
one will walk if Jews are not allowed to live in every place in the Land of
Eldad, a university professor, called on government employees not to be
“screws in a machine of destruction” and told the crowd to be prepared to be
arrested and go to jail for breaking the new government law that prohibits
crowds from gathering in Gaza during the planned evacuation.
Politicians from the Labor and Meretz/Yahad parties denoucned Eldad’s speech.
Terrorists launched three mortars shells during the march to the site of the
rally. One soldier was treated for light wounds after being hit by shrapnel
from one shell. The other two explosions, and another mortar shell and
Kassam rocket which exploded after the rally, caused no damage or injury.
Bentzi Lieberman, head of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea,
Samaria and Gaza (Yesha), said that if the government tries to evacuate residents,
protestors will non-violently stop defense forces. “The struggle will take
place in every place in the nation where they try to stop us,” he said.
MK Effie Eitam (New National Zionist and former leader of the NRP) said,
“We are calling on the people of Israel to prepare [water] canteens, tents and
shoes if they try to close off our brothers from us in the Gush.” He called
on crowds greet soldiers peacefully and walk around them. “If they close the
roads to us, we will walk on dirt roads, in fields and in groves.”