Israel withdraw from Gaza Strip 2005

Israel withdraw from Gaza Strip 2005

(Ended on 12th September 2005)


Israel withdraw from Gaza 2005

The last Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip left Monday morning, officially ending Israel's nearly four-decade presence. Before dawn, thousands of Palestinians poured in to the settlement areas, celebrating the end of occupation. The withdrawal of six remaining Israeli army battalions, comprising between 5,000 and 6,000 soldiers, followed a twilight flag-lowering ceremony Sunday evening at the Israeli army's headquarters in the strip. In short speeches, Israeli officers paid tribute to the soldiers and Jewish settlers who died here since Israel occupied the territory in the 1967 war, and expressed hope that the Israeli departure would improve relations with the Palestinians.

The event near Neve Dekalim, once the largest of 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza, concluded an operation that in less than a month evacuated 8,500 settlers, razed communities of whitewashed homes and the military installations that guarded them.

While dissolving the military government in Gaza, the Israeli cabinet also voted 14 to 2 Sunday to leave the strip without demolishing synagogues inside settlement areas. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the decision was designed "to poke us in the eye" and places Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the difficult position of either protecting what many Palestinians describe as symbols of the occupation or demolishing religiously symbolic buildings. Israeli soldiers fixed signs onto the synagogues, cleared of their Torah scrolls, reading "Holy Place" in Arabic and English.

During morning celebrations punctuated by chants and gunfire, Palestinian youths set fire to at least four of the approximately two dozen synagogues left intact.

Palestinian officials were already angry over Israel's decision last week to close the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt for at least six months. International negotiators have been attempting to broker a deal under which Egypt, the Palestinians and a third party would control the Rafah crossing while Israel would monitor it from afar by camera

Israel withdraw from Gaza 2005Israel withdraw from Gaza 2005Israel withdraw from Gaza 2005Israel withdraw from Gaza 2005

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