Battle of Gaza: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Part 30
The Battle of Gaza could not happen without it. 2005 saw the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza, and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. Four small settlements in the northern West Bank were also evacuated.
The disengagement was proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005. Those Israeli citizens who refused to accept government compensation packages and voluntarily vacate their homes prior to the August 15, 2005 deadline, were evicted by Israeli security forces over a period of several days. The eviction of all residents, demolition of the residential buildings and evacuation of associated security personnel from the Gaza Strip was completed by September 12, 2005. The eviction and dismantlement of the four settlements in the northern West Bank was completed ten days later.
Israel ceded full effective internal control of the Strip to the Palestinian Authority but retained control of its borders including air and sea (except for the Egyptian border). This increased the percentage of land in the Gaza Strip nominally governed by the PA from 60 percent to 100 percent.
Palestinian legislative elections took place on January 25, 2006 which were won by Hamas; however, when a Hamas-led Palestinian government was formed, Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union froze all funds to the Palestinian Authority, after Hamas refused to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept past agreements. These countries view Hamas as a terrorist organization.
In December 2006, Hamas declared that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel. In an attempt to resolve the financial and diplomatic impasse, the Hamas-led government together with Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed to form a unity government. The unity government was finally formed on March 18, 2007 and consisted of members from Hamas, Fatah and other parties and independents. The situation in the Gaza strip however quickly deteriorated into an open feud between the Hamas and Fatah.
Battle of Gaza
The Battle of Gaza was a short military conflict between Fatah and Hamas, that took place in the Gaza Strip between 10 and 15 June 2007. It was a violent climax in the Fatah–Hamas conflict, centered around the struggle for power, after Fatah lost the parliamentary elections of 2006. Hamas fighters took control of the Gaza Strip and removed Fatah officials. The battle resulted in the dissolution of the unity government and the de facto division of the Palestinian territories into two entities, the West Bank governed by the Palestinian National Authority with strong Israeli influence, and Gaza governed by Hamas.
After the takeover in Gaza by Hamas on June 14, 2007, the Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas dismissed the government. The new government’s authority is claimed to extend to all Palestinian territories, in effect it became limited to the Palestinian Authority controlled areas of the West Bank, as Hamas hasn’t recognized the move. The new government has won widespread international support. Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia said in late June 2007 that the West Bank-based Cabinet formed by the new government was the sole legitimate Palestinian government, and Egypt moved its embassy from Gaza to the West Bank. Hamas, the government that has effective control of the Gaza Strip since 2007, faces international diplomatic and economic isolation.
Palestine: Part 31 – State of Palestine