The Gaza disengagement plan

The Gaza disengagement plan

The Gaza disengagement plan was initiated by the Israeli government in August 2005. The plan incorporated the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, removing Israeli settlers from the territory into Israel, and withdrawing Israeli armed forces.

Four settlements in the West Bank were also evacuated. The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush supported Israel’s withdrawal in the belief that it would move the peace process forward.

The plan was adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and implemented on August 15, 2005, the deadline given to settlers in Gaza to evacuate the area.

The plan involved dismantling the homes and communities of about 9,000 Israelis who had lived in those areas for three decades.

The areas that were evacuated included 17 settlements in southern Gaza, known as Gush Katif, four settlements in northern Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip alone, Israel dismantled 38 synagogues, closed 42 day-care centres and 46 kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools. The evacuation also meant the loss of 10,000 Israeli-created agriculture jobs, half of which were held by Palestinians.

The disengagement plan caused massive economic losses for Israel’s agricultural sector. For example, 60 percent of Israel’s cherry tomato exports had come from Israeli farmland and hothouses in those areas and 70 percent of Israel’s organic produce was grown in Gaza.

When Israelis left Gaza as part of the disengagement, they abandoned almost 1,000 acres of greenhouses.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cited Israel’s willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace, its security and its eminence within the international community as major factors that contributed to his decision to support what many believed was the most significant Israeli initiative for peace in the past two decades.

Israeli support for withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank fluctuated, but the majority of Israelis supported the pull-out.

In the time since the government of Israel officially withdrew from the region in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, Palestinian terror organizations have flourished there. 9,393 rockets and missiles have been fired at Israeli civilians living on the other side of the border with Gaza.

In 2006, the terror organization Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip after bloody fighting with the rival Fatah.