Kfar Darom settlers vandalize truck and two IDF bulldozers
Residents laying concertina wire, barricades for possible Thursday evacuation; Kfar Darom rabbi says residents won't harm soldiers.
Kfar Darom residents began preparing Wednesday for the possibility they might be evacuated on Thursday, laying concertina wire and large concrete blocks around the Gaza Strip settlement's synagogue and metal barricades at various other locations.
Residents on Wednesday afternoon vandalized two Israel Defense Forces bulldozers stationed at the hard-line southern Gaza Strip settlement.
Settlers cut cables on the D-9 machines and poured sugar into the engine. Kfar Darom residents also punctured the tires of a truck that had come to assist them.
An argument broke out when one settler yelled at another not to damage IDF property.
At the same time, settlers held a mass prayer at the synagogue. Preparations were being made on the structure's roof for the anticipated arrival of evacuating forces. Settlers were gathering steel objects, water containers and washrooms in order to prepare for an extended stay. They also cached bread, canned goods, pasta and fuel for a generator.
Kfar Darom rabbi Avraham Shreiber said Wednesday that the residents and the many supporters who have joined them and are now living in a tent encampment at the northern end of the settlement would not direct violence toward Israel Defense Forces soldiers or police officers.
However, Shreiber also said that when the IDF demands Jews demolish their homes rather than fighting an external enemy, he sees no reason to forbid people from harming equipment being used by the evacuating forces.
"I expect that the media will broadcast and feel the feelings of destruction that we are feeling from the pictures and voices from other settlements," Shreiber said.
Kfar Darom council member Yossi Hadad said "There will be no violence directed at soldiers and police officers. That is not possible from our perspective. We fought together with them and they fought together with us here over the years. We will attempt to convince the soldiers and police to go to their commanders and tell them this action they intend to carry out is disastrous and patently immoral. This will be done with the hope that it will get to the highest level of command and that there will be second thoughts."
Kfar Darom Secretariat Chairman Ophir Cohen said he and a number of rabbis met just days ago with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Cohen said he tried to discuss the humanitarian aspects of the pullout with Sharon.
"I had no one to talk with," Cohen said. "They are treating us like animals. This is a brutal transfer, being undertaken in a dictatorial manner. We call on the prime minister, at the last minute, not to go ahead with [causing] this crisis.
"We don't intend to make easy work for anyone. Our opposition will be uncompromising but non-violent," Cohen said.