Middle East - Israelis and Palestinians: Sunset and Sunrise

The disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank highlights some of Israel’s social, democratic and military strengths and weaknesses. With the settlers gone, bulldozers reducing their former homes to rubble, and the Israeli army out of Gaza for good, the question remains whether the pull-out was an isolated episode or a first step in the long march to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The World Today
Published 1 October 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 5 minute READ

Not surprisingly in this decades-long conflict, either option is as probable as the other. In the very immediate future the leadership of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is under threat. He is in imminent danger of losing both his positions as Likud Party chairman and as Prime Minister. If this happens the Knesset is likely to call new parliamentary elections, producing months of inward-looking Israeli political strife.

The final sunset over the small beachfront settlement of Shirat Hayam was breathtaking, a red ball of fire sinking rapidly into a deep blue sea. But the residents of the doomed community were not at leisure to enjoy their last chance to see the spectacle from their Gaza homes. The handful who had not been dragged, kicking and screaming, onto buses heading out of the occupied Gaza Strip had barricaded themselves behind barbed wire on a rooftop in a last-ditch attempt to defy the might of the Israeli military.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.