JERUSALEM (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Sunday that he will never evict Jewish settlers from occupied Palestinian land as Israel did in 2005 in the Gaza Strip.
“The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip brought us neither peace nor security. The territory has become a base for the pro-Iranian Hamas movement and we will never make the same mistake again,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.
“We will not evict any more people from their homes,” he added in comments carried by public radio.
In September 2005, the government of prime minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally removed all Jewish settlements from Gaza in a move aimed at ending Israel’s costly 38-year military presence in the Gaza Strip.
Sharon vowed to follow up that withdrawal with further pullbacks from the West Bank, but a massive stroke incapacitated him and his successor Ehud Olmert abandoned the policy in the wake of the June 2006 capture of an Israeli soldier by Gaza-based militants in a deadly cross-border raid.
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