Why is Israel pulling out of Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank?
In the midst of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to promote disengagement as Israel’s best way of extricating itself from the conflict and decreasing its vulnerability to terrorism. Mr. Sharon endorsed a view Israel’s left-wing has argued for years: Being in some parts of the Occupied Territories was more of a security liability than an asset. And, for the first time ever, Sharon said in 2003 that he wanted to end the occupation. “It is not possible to continue holding 3-1/2 million people under occupation,” he told Likud members in May 2003. “You may not like the word, but what’s happening is occupation. This is a terrible thing for Israel, for the Palestinians, and for the Israeli economy.” Why did Israel occupy the settlements in the first place? Israel occupied the territories after taking control of Gaza from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli political figures – Sharon foremost among them