The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been in Gaza for almost a month now. He told Palestinians that the emptying of Jewish settlements marks a step towards an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr Abbas told Israelis that they had chosen the right path. “Don’t listen to the voices of the extremists that want a continuation of the occupation. You are looking for stability for your sons and grandsons. I hope [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon understands that it’s not only Gaza – the West Bank is also still occupied,” he said. Israel’s withdrawl has left various Palestinian political groups jockeying for power. Masked gunmen from Islamic Jihad marched through central Gaza city on Sunday night celebrating. They shouted slogans calling for the destruction of Israel. Islamic Jihad and another militant Islamic group, Hamas, are keen to portray the pullout as a victory for Palestinian nationalism.