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Israeli military reveals Gaza pull-out strate -

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Israeli military reveals Gaza pull-out strategy

AM - Thursday, 28 July , 2005 08:16:00

Reporter: Mark Willacy

TONY EASTLEY: In less than three weeks the largest peacetime security operation in Israel's history
will begin, and it's fraught with problems. Israel's military has revealed some of its plans for
the pullout of more than 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.

The army says it will operate a series of "circles" around each settlement to be evacuated - the
inner circle of soldiers will remove settlers, while the outer circle will respond to expected
rocket and mortar fire from Palestinian militants.

AM was invited to watch the security forces train for the withdrawal at a base in the desert, from
where Middle East Correspondent Mark Willacy reports.

(Sound of helicopter landing)

MARK WILLACY: Blowing up a massive cloud of orange dust, a Blackhawk helicopter delivers Israeli
Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz to the Tze'elim army base in the Negev Desert.

Along with the army's top brass the, minister has come to watch hundreds of soldiers and police
train for next month's Gaza pullout.

(Sound of Shaul Mofaz speaking)

From a viewing platform, the minister watches security forces drag settlers out of a house.

The settlers are in fact soldiers, but they play their part, by resisting all attempts to pull them
out. Some yell, "Jews don't evacuate Jews". Others call the security teams "Nazis".

SHARON FEINGOLD: There is no enemy, there is no victory. We have to do it with the termination of
the mission.

MARK WILLACY: Israeli army spokeswoman Major Sharon Feingold says more than 50,000 soldiers and
police will be deployed to carry out the Gaza evacuation.

SHARON FEINGOLD: The evacuation will take part in a mode of circles. The first circle will be in
charge of escorting the settlers out of their houses and out of Gaza. We will have another circle
which will protect the civilians should there be fire from the Palestinian side.

MARK WILLACY: The soldiers and police will form 17-member teams, and these teams will be taught how
to remove those who refuse to leave their homes.

Superintendent Carla Oz is a spokeswoman for the Israeli Police Force.

CARLA OZ: They'll come early in the morning, knock on the door, introduce themselves. They won't
explain why they're evacuating them, just how it will be done. They've practiced all kinds of
scenarios, and they've taken hopefully every scenario into consideration.

(Sound of car horns)

MARK WILLACY: The pullout may still be a couple of weeks away, but the police and the army are
already busy dealing with real-life opponents of the evacuation. Thousands of protestors are trying
every day to enter the main Jewish settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds have already snuck
in, and police are hunting them down one by one.

(Sound of police officer speaking)

Here, two undercover officers search a settlement house for protestors.

(Sound of woman speaking)

"They are scaring us," says this settler. "Why are the police asking to see our identity cards? Why
do I need to prove that I live in my own house?" She asks.

When the police and soldiers finally come to remove this family in a couple of weeks' time, they'll
be unarmed. But AM has been told that snipers will be in place in and around the settlements just
in case some settlers or their supporters do decide to take matters into their own hands.

While there is a fear of violence, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz believes only a small
minority of settlers will resist.

(Sound of Shaul Mofaz speaking)

"We think that most of the settlers will leave voluntarily, and in a few days we will start
re-locating those residents to new homes," he says.

"We'll also provide groceries, packing and transportation for those who want it," the minister
adds.

But that's unlikely to tempt a hardcore of Jewish settlers who believe only God can make them leave
the Gaza Strip.

This is Mark Willacy at the Tze'elim army base in the Negev Desert for AM.