Shadow of Israel's Pullout from Gaza Hangs Heavy 10 Years On

(Reuters) Luke Baker - A decade on from Israel's unilateral withdrawal of 8,500 of its Jewish citizens from Gaza, the legacy of that August 2005 "disengagement" has seen a civil war between Palestinian factions and four wars with Israel. According to the World Bank, Gaza now has 43% unemployment. Since 1994, real per capita income has fallen by nearly a third. Manufacturing has shriveled by 60%. The pullout is also seen as a disaster by Israelis, with thousands of rockets from Gaza having rained down on Israel since 2005. The disengagement "created a new reality that contributed to the Hamas takeover of Gaza, a steep rise in weapons smuggling, the strengthening of terrorism, and the ensuing cycle of escalation," wrote Shmuel Even, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. A recent survey by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies showed 63% now think the move was a mistake. Even opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who supported the withdrawal at the time, says demographically it was the right thing to do, but "without a doubt, from a security perspective, the disengagement was a mistake." "We failed in our assessment that post-withdrawal Gaza would become the Hong Kong of the Middle East. Instead, it has become one big rocket base."

2015-08-14 00:00:00

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