Rightists Plan Sleep-out at Major Cities to Protest Gaza Pullout

Demonstrators to spend the night in cardboard boxes and sleeping bags on sidewalks across the country.

Nadav Shragai
Yuval Azoulay
Aluf Benn
Haaretz Correspondents
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Nadav Shragai
Yuval Azoulay
Aluf Benn
Haaretz Correspondents

Young protesters from across the country plan on launching sleep-in protests against the disengagement plan in major cities beginning Monday night.

Rightists are expected to use sleeping bags and cardboard boxes while spending the night on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, Ramat Gan, and Rehovot.

One of the organizers said the plan is meant to protest "the expulsion of Gush Katif and northern Samaria residents from their homes."

"There is no intention to block roads or interfere with the public order in any way," said Eliad Averky, a resident of the Negev town of Yeruham.

"The intent is to launch a quiet and heartfelt protest against the moral injustice that has been done to those expelled from their homes without a true purpose," Averky said.

"This way, we believe we will touch the hearts of the public and demonstrate to it what is likely to happen in the future (to the settlers)," he said.

Yonathan Basi, the head of the disengagement administration, met Sunday with Ashkelon mayor Roni Mitzhari to discuss the city's proposal to provide 400 temporary housing units for settlers slated to be evacuated from Gush Katif this summer.

Officials in the disengagement administration view the proposal as a more preferable and cost-efficient solution for temporary housing than caravans.

Mitzhari asked Basi to support his plan to urge Gaza Strip settlers to relocate to Ashkelon. In a "direct mail" campaign, Mitzhari says he will offer a variety of options for the evacuees to build new residences in the city.

"I don't want to promise the settlers things which the administration is unprepared to stand by," Mitzhari said. "I gave Basi all the material on the subject and he promised to get back to me by the end of the week."

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will convene a meeting Tuesday to determine the fate of the homes slated to be evacuated as part of the disengagement plan.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres will recommend keeping the homes intact rather than razing them as was originally planned.

In pre-holiday interviews with the press last week, Sharon said he would support leaving the homes untouched on condition that the Palestinian Authority coordinate the withdrawal with Israel.

A decision not to raze the homes would require altering the disengagement plan as approved by the cabinet on June 6 last year. Thus such a decision would subsequently be brought before the government for approval.

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