Al Qassam website - On this day 16 years ago, the Israeli occupation finished dismantling its illegal settlements across the Gaza Strip in a historic precedent as the Israeli occupation had never evacuated any tract of land that it took over since its occupation of historic Palestine in 1948.
The Israeli occupation evacuated 21 illegal settlements that were built on nearly %35 of the Gaza Strip, which is 360 square kilometers.
Israeli occupation forces killed 2,043 Palestinians and injured about 15,000 others since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000 and the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Palestine Health Ministry’s report on Israeli assaults and attacks on Gaza said.
Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of the now-abandoned settlements, which had been off-limits for decades, rejoicing over the end of the 38-year-long occupation of the tiny coastal enclave and hoping for a better future.
Gaza after Israeli withdrawal (Day of Resistance)
The Israeli occupation has pulled out its armed forces and illegal settlers from the Gaza Strip, yet it still maintains control of its land borders and access to the sea and airspace.
Since then, the Israeli occupation has inflicted all forms of aggression against the Gaza Strip through its military offensives and incursions and its 15-year siege, which has put various sectors on the brink of collapse.
The Israeli occupation, indeed, has redeployed but has not actually “disengaged” from the Gaza Strip as it still controls its borders, territorial waters and airspace.
Due to the crippling blockade and restrictions on imports and exports imposed by the Israeli occupation, Gaza’s economy has dramatically deteriorated, strangling Palestinian livelihoods.
Over the course of its 15-year siege, the Israeli occupation has launched four bloody military offensives and innumerable aerial attacks against the Gaza Strip, killing more than 4,200 Palestinian citizens and injuring tens of thousands.
Gaza’s two-million population experienced several compounding crises, including severe power shortages and scarcity of drinkable water, with water contamination reaching 97 per cent.
According to the World Bank, the besieged Gaza Strip has the world’s highest unemployment rate at more than 54 per cent, with youth unemployment exceeding 70 per cent, as about 53 per cent of its residents now live under the poverty line.
The Palestinian resistance
Unlike what the Israeli narrative regarding this move claims, the Palestinian resistance has forced the Israeli occupation to withdraw its armed forces and illegal settlers from the Gaza Strip.
The withdrawal was not a gesture of goodwill by the Israeli occupation or as a result of any understanding or Arab and international pressures.
The Palestinian resistance has made the Israeli occupation pay a heavy price for its military occupation of the Gaza Strip, forcing it to dismantle its illegal settlement and withdraw its military forces.
Over the past 16 years, the Palestinian resistance in the blockaded Gaza Strip has managed to improve its capabilities in order to defend its people against any Israeli aggression.