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A little unsettled

In September of 2005, Israel completed the process of disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Land which it had occupied since the war of 1967 was left behind. 8,000 Jewish settlers had been forced to leave, abandoning the homes they were encouraged to build by previous Israeli governments. For the 1.3 million Palestinians squeezed into less than 300 square kilometres of land, the extra space would be just one benefit. The everyday presence of Israeli troops would, at least until the next eruption of the intifada, be a thing of the past.

In one sense, the eviction of the settlers turned out to have been the easy part. A more difficult challenge was for the Palestinian Authority to take control. Hopelessly denuded of equipment, popular legitimacy and influence by a combination of the militants and the Israelis, the PA could not easily step into the power vacuum. Following elections in 2006, a new Hamas-controlled government was formed.
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