Five Lessons From the Gaza Disengagement That Israel Still Hasn’t Learned, 15 Years On

August 15 is the 15th anniversary of the disengagement from Gaza. Unsurprisingly, with the anniversary approaching, Hamas has renewed rocket fire and hostilities aimed at Israel’s southern communities. 

Does the disengagement have anything to teach us about the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace?

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 91

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It does, although those lessons are not easy to digest. And the place to begin is the Israeli right.

The right focused on the pain of evacuation while ignoring the big-picture issues that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was addressing.

Sharon, in fact, saw what all Israelis should have seen: The settlement project in Gaza was an unworkable absurdity.

A little more than 8,000 Jewish settlers lived in a Palestinian sea of 1.5 million Gazans, most desperately poor. In one of the most densely populated areas on earth, the small group of settlers occupied a quarter of the Strip’s territory. And their presence did not contribute to Israel’s security but detracted from it; the Israel Defense Forces were required to divert their attention from broader security needs to worry about the day-to-day safety of settlers.

Some claim, of course, that withdrawing from Gaza led to Hamas aggression and rocket fire. But Hamas had started firing rockets as early as 2001, long before the disengagement.