Protesters to Form a Human Chain' From Gaza to J'lem

Demonstrators taking part in a support rally for Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip will today try to form a 90-kilometer-long "human chain" between Gush Katif and the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Organizers predict that more than 100,000 people will take part in the event, spreading out from the Nissanit settlement in Gaza to Jerusalem.

The human chain could disrupt traffic between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for a short time. At 7 P.M., when the chain is scheduled to be completed, the demonstrators will sing the "Hatikvah" anthem.

At least 30 Knesset members have promised to take part, including some 15 from the Likud, as well as others from the National Religious Party, the National Union, Shas, and United Torah Judaism. Delegates from the settlers' Yesha Council will demonstrate at Jerusalem's Safra Square. Also expected to take part are new immigrants from the United States who arrived in Israel just a week ago, former Prisoners of Zion from the former Soviet Union, disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans, and Israelis whose relatives are buried in Gush Katif.

The rally organizers have issued a statement declaring that "in every sense - in security, democratic, cultural, moral and Jewish terms - the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif would cut a link in Israeli society's spinal cord."

A circular to be distributed to participants explains that a struggle must be waged to persuade politicians that the disengagement plan is wrong. This struggle, the document explains, should be "active and forceful on the one hand," and "nonviolent" on the other hand.

"History provides many examples of an active, nonviolent goal accomplishing its mission," it says. "Violence is the weapon of the weak who are not sure of themselves. People of truth act with strength that derives from the justice of their goals ... This chain will express a strong, determined public voice sounded by all sectors of the population, and from all parts of the country."

The human chain is scheduled to be formed between 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. Rally organizers note that while the long chain is formed in Israel, shorter human chains are to be formed overseas, including in the U.S., with the help of local Chabad activists.