In 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promoted his plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip and the northern Shomron. A large and determined public campaign was waged against this plan, but in the end, the Disengagement Plan was executed in August 2005.
In the government’s decision was said that “the purpose of the plan is to lead to a better security, political, economic and demographic reality”. Those opposed to the Disengagement Plan claimed that it constituted a blatant violation of the Zionist concept, ignored the great challenges of the Gaza Strip, and did not really address them properly. Opponents further argued that the plan rewards terrorism and will lead to the Gaza Strip becoming a state of terror.
Sharon’s decision as prime minister during his second government to unilaterally uproot all the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip, without any international agreement or Arab agreement, is one of the great political mysteries of the state of Israel until today.
Sharon’s supporters argued that Sharon had honestly and truly changed his beliefs, which he had proclaimed a mere two years earlier, during the 2003 elections, and had adopted a new belief system in light of changing circumstances. There were those who claimed that the sudden change in the prime minister’s behavior derived from fear of exposure of crimes stemming from the investigations conducted against him regarding corruption cases. Others claimed that the reasons for this move originated in “the war of the elites” between the religious Zionists and other groups in the Israeli society.
On August 23, 2005, the uprooting of Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip was complete and the last Jewish family left the place. Within one week some 8,600 residents had been uprooted from 21 communities in Gush Katif, and a 35-year enterprise was destroyed.