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Israelis tighten security ahead of Gaza pullout, settlers closing gates against eviction

[JURIST] Security in the Gaza Strip increased Sunday, on the eve of the implementation of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan to withdraw Israeli settlers [BBC overview; Israeli government documents; IDF updates]. Police are expected to encounter pockets of resistance following the midnight start of the pullout [IDF press release], at which time border crossings to settlements will be sealed, and army officers will enter the area and inform settlers they have 48 hours to vacate voluntarily. Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told reporters that he would consider invoking administrative detention [JURIST report] against all extremists who participate in illegal protests interfering with the pullout, a move which would allow Israeli citizens to be held indefinitely without charge or trial. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights offers background materials on disengagement from the Palestinian perspective; the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that even after disengagement, the Gaza Strip remains occupied by Israel. Reuters has more. From Israel, Haaretz provides entensive local coverage. A late report from Haaretz says that settlement leaders at Gush Katif [settlement advocacy website] will close the gates of their settlement to keep out soldiers and police serving eviction orders.

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