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clear CIAO Focus, October 2005: Pulling Out of Gaza
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Gaza Stript 1992
Last month's historic dismantling of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip has been greeted with mixed emotions. Much of the international community, including Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union praised Ariel Sharon for peacefully ending Israel's 38-year occupation of Gaza. Many Palestinians, however, fear that while much of the world is focusing on Gaza, Israel will tighten its grip on the West Bank and Jerusalem. At the same time, hardliners within Israel's ruling Likud Party vehemently opposed the withdrawal scheme and attempted to force Sharon into an early leadership contest against his archrival Binyamin Netanyahu. The prime minister survived the challenge by the narrowest of margins.

For Palestinians living in the newly "liberated" Gaza Strip, the future looks far from rosy. More than half of all Gazans reside in refugee camps and the territory's population is set to double over the next 15 years. In addition, Israel's plan to phase out all Palestinian workers in Israel by 2008 threatens to all but sink Gaza's economy, which has already been devastated by the frequent border closures initiated at the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in 2000. Gaza's economic survival will depend on a number of factors including the continued largess of the international donor community, Israel's willingness to let goods and labor through the territory's tightly controlled borders, and the Palestinian Authority's efficacy in dealing with the mounting unemployment crisis.

From CIAO's database:

The Gaza Withdrawal: Implications For Israel and The Region

Israel in the Territories: From Disengagement to Settlements

The Bush Administration and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Record of its First Four Years (PDF)

Paralysis over Palestine: Questions of Strategy

Sharon's Disengagement Plan: A Likud Perspective

The Israeli-Palestinian Roadmap: What a Settlement Freeze Means And Why it Matters (PDF)

Outside Links*:

Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer

CIA World Factbook: The Gaza Strip

Municipality of Gaza

Palestinian Refugees: Implications of Israeli Disengagement from Gaza

Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East: Israeli/Palestinian Reciprocal Action, Quartet Support

* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine [].