Farewells and Homecomings

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is historic and emotional. But the Palestinian resettlement may be even more difficult

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Israel's 21 Gaza settlements proceeded far more smoothly than many security assessments had anticipated. Despite scenes of defiance and anguish as 43,000 soldiers and police began to clear the 8,700 settlers and their supporters from the areas, there was little violence and few serious injuries. As a result, it is Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, who now faces the biggest political risk.

With the settlers carted off to hotels all over Israel or to temporary homes built by the government on sand dunes near the town of Ashkelon, Israel will first salvage metal and other materials...

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