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In a renewed comparison of the Gaza pullout to the Holocaust, residents of the Gaza settlement bloc of Gush Katif are writing their identity card numbers on their arms to protest the closure of the Strip to non-resident Israelis.

Security forces are requiring Gaza settlers to display their ID cards before allowing them into the settlements.The trend began during a Wednesday night protest against the closure, when a woman who lives in Gush Katif refused to show her ID card to security forces at Kissufim crossing. Instead, she showed him her arm, on which she had written her identity number, in a simulation of the Nazi practice of branding numbers on the arms of concentration camp inmates. Security forces checked her identity and let her through the checkpoint.

Since then, several other Gaza settlers have tried the same tactic, although previous comparisons to the Holocaust - including the use of orange Star of David badges - have provoked controversy.

"This is a way of protesting against our being placed into ghettos," said Y., 20, from the Gush Katif settlement of Neveh Dekalim. "They want us to show our ID card - here is our ID card." The Yesha Council has asked Gaza settlers - whom it called "a population that has been supremely brave over the last five years" - to stop the practice, but said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to close off the Strip was to blame.

"Despite the siege the prime minister has imposed on [the Gaza residents], in an attempt to break their spirit, we call on the public to rise above their personal feelings and avoid a step that involves a comparison to the Holocaust," the council said in a statement. MK Ehud Yatom (Likud) condemned the practice as an illegitimate form of protest.

"The use by a few disengagement opponents of Holocaust symbols and implications comparing the horrors of the Third Reich to the government's disengagement plan, even if it is mistaken, constitutes a sin against the memory of the entire Jewish nation," said Yatom.

But the right-wing Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud reserved its condemnation for the closure imposed Wednesday, writing: "The prime minister of Israel and the defense minister signed an order the likes of which were last signed in German."

Nadav Shragai and Itim contributed to this report.