Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has raised the prospect of emptying more Jewish settlements, just days before the pullout from Gaza begins. In an interview, Sharon said he did not regret his disengagement plan, and that more colonies in the West Bank would probably have to be given up. On Monday, the army will begin forcibly removing Jews from 21 settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank.
One of the most distressing aspects of the whole affair for settlers is reburying loved ones. The Jewish faith includes strict rules on where and how the dead are buried. Few settlers are willing to just abandon their cemeteries – they fear they will be desecrated by Palestinians. But so far discussions on when and how to exhume the bodies and where to rebury them have come to nothing.
The mood among Palestinians could not be more different. They are celebrating the evacuation. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told one gathering it was just the beginning.