Jewish settlers who were removed from colonies in the Gaza Strip by Israeli authorities in 2005 say the latest developments come as no surprise to them. The move was pushed through by the then Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was hailed at the time for giving new momentum to the Middle East peace process. But some are now saying: “told you so.”
Karen Tzafati said: “We knew this was going to happen. We told the world, we told everybody, nobody wanted to listen, so it’s not a surprise to us.” She left the former colony of Gush Katif – she called it “thrown out” – by the withdrawal plan. Another former Gaza settler said: “I feel very mixed emotions to hear about it. The situation is not so easy for us, I think, for all the people who are now living near the Gaza Strip.” At the time, Ariel Sharon’s plan met stern opposition, not only from elements within his own Likud party, but also from the settlers themselves. In all 8,500 settlers and troops who were there to protect them were pulled out. But Sharon had to use some strongarm tactics on this part of the Israeli population, even threatening prison for those who did not get out by the deadline.