Settlers dismantle anti-disengagement protest tent (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Nadav Shragai 02/04/05)
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The protest tent opposite the Prime Minister´s Office was dismantled
this week after a month of being manned round the clock by
disengagement opponents, but settlers plan to replace it with smaller
protest tents in cities throughout the country.
Three such tents are already up, in Netanya, Petah Tikva and the
Golani Junction. Others are planned for Tel Aviv and the south. They
will be run by a group called The Right´s Municipal Headquarters,
which has activists in some 100 towns. This group also handled most
of the right´s street protests against the Oslo Accords.
The main protest tent was taken down because occupancy has been
sparse over the past few days.
Another group that is entering the fray comprises members of the
working settlement movement, the Labor Zionist movement that set up
most of the pre-state agricultural settlements. Movement activists
from Nahalal, Ein Harod, Kinneret, Tel Adashim, Alon Hagalil and Kfar
Yehoshua are planning a conference in Nahalal in 10 days aimed at
recruiting additional kibbutz and moshav members. Their
advertisements urge "anyone with a human and national conference to
come and raise his voice against the illegal and immoral attempt to
uproot and destroy the Katif bloc and Northern Samaria." Activists
Adi Lahavi of Kinneret and Ahuvya Tabenkin of Ein Harod explained
that they fear Gush Katif is only the beginning, and will be followed
by a withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Ultra-Orthodox activists have also joined the struggle, though so far
in small numbers. Two weeks ago, dozens of Haredi yeshiva students
from the Mir, Brisk and Ponevezh yeshivas visited Neveh Dekalim in
Gaza; they then recruited fellow students to visit the protest tent
in Jerusalem. The Chabad Movement has been active as well, and
publicly urged its members to attend last Sunday´s mass demonstration
On the political front, lobbying efforts are focusing on the Likud
and Haredi parties. MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism) visited
Gush Katif yesterday and surprised his hosts by announcing that he
favors a referendum on the disengagement - though he stressed that he
would have to clarify this position with his party´s spiritual
mentor, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv. MK Nissim Zeev of Shas, who attended
Sunday´s demonstration, also pledged to seek the backing of his
party´s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, for a referendum.
Settler activists also said that MK Michael Eitan (Likud), who chairs
the Knesset Constitution Committee, is considering adding a clause to
the disengagement bill that his panel is now preparing to make the
withdrawal conditional on a referendum.
Within the Likud, in addition to bolstering ties with the 13 "rebels"
who have pledged to vote against the 2005 budget unless the
government agrees to a referendum, activists are collecting
signatures from hundreds of central committee members on a letter
demanding that the committee convene to pass a resolution
conditioning the disengagement on a referendum. Eliezer Hasdai, who
is spearheading this operation, said he believes that pressure from
the Likud, instead of other parties, is what ultimately will force
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to hold a referendum. (© Copyright 2005
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