The evacuation of the West Bank Is almost completed. 15,000 settlers and supporters have been forced to leave the territories. Israeli troops should be out of Gaza in late September, ahead of schedule, its army chief said.
The removal of 25 settlements in just six days drew a call from President Bush for a return to an internationally sponsored peace "road map" that envisages a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
"It's over, but there's more to go," Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz said on Tuesday after security forces ejected ultranationalist protesters making last stands in the West Bank settlements of Homesh and Sanur.
Halutz said the army planned, under a deal with the Palestinians, to complete the demolition of homes in all 21 Gaza settlements and four enclaves evacuated in the northern West Bank in about 10 days, according to Reuters.
A troop withdrawal from occupied Gaza, he told a news conference, would follow "close to the end of September ... a little bit before the estimated date."
"The Israeli Defense Forces operated cleverly," said Amihoy Kinarki, 33, who like many of the protesters in the West Bank on Tuesday — and in Gaza the previous week — traveled from other settlements to confront security forces and embarrass Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "They brought a mass of soldiers and policeman that was invincible. Against each one of us there was maybe 100,” he was quoted as saying by Washington Post.
"Our struggle was lost from the beginning. We had no chance."
The end came at 5:30 p.m. as specially trained battalions in Homesh carried the last of dozens of teen-age girls from the upper story of a building they had torn the stairs from. It was a fitting conclusion in a confrontation played out in large part by angry young people who flocked to the closure sites with the certainty of youth.