It was a disaster.
I was in a meeting in Helsinki with Israeli representatives in the Sharon government who were trying to sell the idea behind the Disengagement Policy. One of those present listening to the pitch asked a very succinct question: “What are you going to do once the Hamas starts lobbing missiles over the security fence?” As I recall, the response was something along the lines of “we’ll wait and see”.
The whole idea behind “disengagement” was the reversal of the (then) paradigm of pursuing peace in order to get the Arabs to prepare for peace, Sharon’s policy was to turn that on its ear. Withdrawing from Gaza, deemed a hot spot of terror, would reduce angst and violence towards Israelis, during which time Israel would be waiting for real overtures for peace from new Arab politicians. It never occurred that they would just move the goal posts in their (the Arabs) favor, and bank on the international community to continue its hostile attitudes against the Jewish state.
Gaza disengagement was ‘absolute mistake,’ says withdrawal commander
Fifteen years later, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Gershon HaCohen: Gaza withdrawal gave Hamas ability to increase rocket arsenal
The unilateral evacuation of 8,500 Israeli civilians and soldiers and the demolition of 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip in August 2005 was ordered by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon and carried out by Maj.-Gen. Gershon HaCohen, then commander of the 36th Division.
“I was absolutely aware that the whole idea would lead to catastrophe,” HaCohen told the Post ahead of the move’s 15th anniversary.
Israel occupied the coastal enclave in 1967 following the Six Day War. In the years until it evacuated, countless civilians and troops were killed in Palestinian terror attacks.