Israeli Rescuers remove about 400 animals from Gaza & Northern Samaria
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2005:
JERUSALEM–Tension accompanying the Israeli withdrawal from
Northern Samaria and Gaza spilled over into the animal rescue work
that followed in the 24 vacated Jewish settlements.
About half the reports reaching animal people descr-ibed
animal rescues. The rest accused other rescuers of performing
publicity stunts and acts of sabotage.
Settlers resisting the withdrawal were often removed forcibly
by Israeli soldiers and police, leaving pets, livestock, and feral
cat colonies behind.
If the 15,000 former residents of the evacuated villages kept
pets and fed feral cats at European rates per household, up to 3,000
pets and 600 feral cats might have been affected. The Israeli Army
and Israeli Veterinary Services allowed some rescuers to enter Gaza
and Northern Samaria on August 16. Accounts forwarded to ANIMAL
PEOPLE indicate that the rescuers evacuated about 400 animals,
mostly cats, but also some dogs, parakeets, lizards, and goats.
Concern for Helping Animals in Israel and Hakol Chai, an
affiliate, worked in Gaza with representatives of the Tel Aviv,
Beersheva, and Jerusalem SPCAs, CHAI founder Nina Natelson told
ANIMAL PEOPLE. “We had veterinarians Sarah Levine and Tsachi Nevo
spelling each other, plus one more who helped as needed,” Natelson
added. “Two drivers took turns, day after day. Hakol Chai staff
worked 15 hour days. We had no lack of volunteers.”
A private trapper hired by the Israeli environment ministry
reportedly caught about 30-40 cats in Northern Samaria. The Cat
Welfare Society of Israel took in about 180 from the far northern
communities of Ganim and Kadim, and about 70 from other locations.
“Ganim and Kadim are secluded settlements, distant from any other
inhabited area,” e-mailed Cat Welfare Society spokesperson Revital
Verskain. “Every day we memorized cats’ appearances and locations,
afraid to miss any. Each day we did not know if would be our last.
Finally that day arrived. On the very first day we brought sacks of
food [to leave] for the day after [the rescue operation ended], but
when the moment came we couldn’t believe it was happening.
“We were supposed to leave at 10:00 p.m. on August 22. At
midnight the warrant forbidding Israeli citizens from accessing the
area was due to be activated. About half an hour before we were to
leave, I started calling the people in charge requesting to have
another minute, just a minute to get another cat, or two or three,”
The rescuers eventually won permission to re-enter the
settlements to catch cats for five additional days.