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Israeli court allows use of soldiers in Gaza pullout as first eviction notices are given

[JURIST] A three judge panel of Israel's High Court Sunday rejected a petition to prevent Israeli Defense Forces [official website] personnel from being employed to seal off areas of the Gaza Strip after the current Israeli settlers there have been removed in accordance with the Israeli withdrawal plan. The panel, led by Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, allowed the use of the soldiers, holding that the deployment of IDF personnel on Israeli soil was permitted under emergency defense regulations that allow for the patrolling and enforcing of border restrictions on the Gaza Strip for national security purposes. The ruling came one day before Israeli troops entered Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip to begin handing out eviction notices [AP report]. Settlers formed human chains in attempts to prevent the delivering of the notices, but most of the protests were broken up after military commanders approached the settlers and talked with the leaders. No incidents of violence were reported Monday, and many witnesses reported instances of soldiers sitting down to "wait out" the protesting settlers, while their commanders held private conversations with leading figures from the settlers' community. Read the IDF Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz [official profile] final briefing to IDF commanders before the eviction notice handout. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has this official press release on the disengagement plan. Hareetz has local coverage.

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