Osama Radi
August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Although five years have passed since the Israeli unilateral disengagement plan was implemented and Israel completely pulled out from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian analysts believe that Israel is still keeping its grip on the densely populated costal enclave.


Palestinian observers said that the Gaza Strip has witnesses several eras of changes over the past five years following the Israeli withdrawal. These changes, mainly the Hamas movement's takeover of the enclave, have served Israel's interests in blocking the establishment of the independent state.

Naji Shurab, a political science teacher at the Gaza-based al- Azhar university, believed that changes in the Gaza Strip over the past five years were significant, adding "the siege and the Israeli war on the enclave have exhausted it, in addition to the internal Palestinian disputes."

He expressed his belief that the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip "is a strategic goal in dealing with the Palestinian territories," which included "intensifying the internal political Palestinian rift that isolated the Gaza Strip completely from the West Bank."


The Palestinians hoped that the Israeli withdrawal from the enclave would lead to a comprehensive peace that leads to the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. However, these hopes vanished after Gaza passed through these difficulties.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) considered the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip a collapse of the Jewish settlement project, while various Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas movement, considered the withdrawal a historic victory to their ' armed resistance."

Akram Atallah, a political analyst from Gaza, told Xinhua that the goals of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip "becomes clearer after five years, mainly after Israel kept its control on the enclave by imposing a tight siege and carrying out deadly organized military operations."

Atallah agreed with Shurab that Israel encouraged over the past five years the internal Palestinian rift, adding "the situation in Gaza now is the worst than what it was when Israel occupied the territory."


Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip after Hamas militants kidnapped the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit during a cross-border attack southeast of the Gaza Strip in June 2006. However, Israel tightened its blockade on the enclave right after Hamas seized control of it by force in June 2007.

Israel has then considered the Gaza Strip a hostile entity and has carried out dozens of large-scale military operations, among which the biggest took place in late December 2008 and lasted for three weeks. Israel kept tightening its blockade, which had a negative impact on economy and raised the rates of unemployment.

Shurab blamed the useless internal Palestinian fighting and disputes, which caused a severe deterioration of the economic and social situation in the Gaza Strip.

Atallah said that the situation in Gaza "has reached a deadlock and is very critical due to the hard living conditions. The fate of Gaza Strip is unclear after its population suffered from a package of daily difficulties, which made them hard to believe that their situation would improve one day."


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