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Gaza Withdrawal Completed; 10,000 Attend Protest Rally in Tel Aviv

March 8, 1957
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Ten thousand Israelis flocked into Mograbi Square. Tel Aviv’s main plaza, this evening to hear Herut leader Menahem Beigin demand the resignation of the Ben Gurion coalition Cabinet.

Mr. Feigin, who interrupted a scheduled month-long lecture tour of the United States only three days after he arrived in the U.S. to fly back to Israel, charged that “not Nasser but Ben Gurion brought about Israel’s retreat.”

The Israel withdrawal from the Gaza area was completed at 4 P. M. today. A number of Arab families have been allowed to enter Israel along with the evacuating forces These Arabs, including Mayor Rushdi el Shawa, fear for their lives because they cooperated with the Israelis in attempting to maintain peace and build an economic future for the Strip. Mayor el Shawa’s home was bombed in a grenade attack Tuesday night, but no one was injured.

Considerable bitterness was reported throughout Israel to what many Israelis regarded as a practically unconditional withdrawal from Gaza. Anger was especially acute over reports that the Israelis had left behind 300 fedayeen, a procedure which was called “like letting loose our own murderers.” It was considered unlikely, however, that the bitterness would find political expression, particularly after the overwhelming Knesset endorsement of Premier Ben Gurion’s stand on withdrawal.

For the first time in four months Israeli settlers in communities facing the Gaza Strip resumed night guard duty in searchlight towers and trenches surrounding their communities. As the evacuating Israeli army moved past, the settlers resumed their day and night vigil, the price of life in the Negev.

Settlers facing Khan Yunis, Raffah and Gaza had some small hope that the presence of United Nations troops would have a deterrent effect on fedayeen activities which resumed as soon as it became apparent that Israel would pull its forces out of the Gaza Strip. There is a possibility that some of the settlers will leave their border villages in the face of all-day work and all-night guard duty.

(The New York Times reported from Washington that “it can be taken as authoritative” that President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles did not endorse Israel’s assumption that if there was any return of the Egyptians to the Gaza Strip. Israel would have the right, in self-defense, to put them out again.” In his conversations with Mr. Eban. Mr. Dulles made it clear that in view of the existence of the armistice agreement, Israel could not juridically have such a right,” the Washington report stated. “He refused to accept the Israeli contention that Egypt’s persistent belligerency over a period of seven years had made the armistice defunct.”)

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