Past Event

Café Society: Withdrawal from Gaza

With the pullout from the Gaza Strip complete, Israel’s plan to unilaterally disengage appears to be moving forward more smoothly than expected according to the U.S. media. The emotional images of Israeli soldiers evicting their countrymen from their homes have focused the World’s attention on the plight of the settlers and the implications of these events for the future of Israel itself.

The settlements have long been a controversial issue in Israeli affairs. Captured from the Palestinians nearly 4 decades ago, they remained densely populated, leaving Israel as the de facto ruler over millions of their foes. Though international law prohibits the settling of a foreign population on lands captured in war, the settlement plan represented a fundamental piece of the Zionist dream.

As the settlements expanded however, condemnation from the International community mounted and the costs to ensure Israel’s security became unmanageable. Some Israelis saw the settlements as the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy. To the Palestinians however, the settlements were a reminder of their conquered status, an incursion into the land for the state they dreamed of, and a difficult, and often violent intrusion into their daily lives.

With the evacuation complete, it remains to be seen if the Israelis will follow through on other measures to bring peace to the region. The Palestinians have yet to take action against organizations using the Territories as a launching pad for assaults against Israel. Will the disengagement plan help to solve this seemingly intractable conflict? Will the evacuation of the Gaza settlements ease the lives of the Palestinians?

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.

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