Home Ed: 30: September/2005
Ed: 30: September/2005
The meeting convened by Prime Minister Howard for senior government members and prominent Australian Muslims indicated just how seriously this country treats community harmony and inter-community relations.
On the back of a carefully integrated logistical operation involving some 43,000 army and police personnel, Israels pullout of 21 Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip was completed on Monday August 23, well ahead of the planned three weeks. None of the darkest scenarios materialised. Apart from limited violence at Kfar Darom, overall resistance was passive.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas hastily returned to Gaza following the funeral of Saudi King Fahd during the first week of August. Abbas intended to stay in Gaza for the next few weeks during the disengagement. He is facing difficult problems in Gaza that may determine his fate. Will he survive?
A wave of journalists from around the world descended upon Israel to cover the evacuation of the Gaza settlements. The last time a media event of this scale took place in Israel was April 2002, when the IDF entered West Bank cites, including the city of Jenin, following 18 months of Palestinian terror attacks.
If there is one thing that everybody knows about the Crusades, it is that they were a Bad Thing. Even in the eyes of most Christians, let alone others, the Crusades were a crime against humanity, one for which apologies are due, especially to Muslims.
Are the Palestinians going to seize the opportunity created by disengagement to advance toward their national goals by demonstrating that they are a responsible peace partner? If there are going to be further peace negotiations, the Palestinians are going to have to create a viable polity that features the rule of law and a government monopoly on force.
Most media coverage devoted to Israel's disengagement from Gaza has been sympathetic. Opinion pieces and editorials alike have recognised the pain Israelis are suffering as a result of the disengagement, and praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his courage.
Israel's painful and far-reaching disengagement from Gaza and four West Bank settlements has now been completed, far more efficiently than even the most optimistic estimates.