Sharon's government is taking steps to elevate tensions in Israel
Families that agree to vacate the Gaza strip are being compensated and move back into Israel proper. Sharon is seeking to remove Jewish settlers from Gaza and four West Bank enclaves – the settlers have been a ban to the peace process in the past and this is the first real effort Sharon has made in recent past to start getting things back on course.
While things may be off to a good start, Sharon was quoted as saying: “"The real intention here is to delay implementation [of the disengagement plan]". "It will be implemented without delay. We cannot deviate by even one day from what the cabinet decided," he added.
Mr Sharon's holiday interviews also pledged to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat - when it was "convenient" for Israel - and hinted at a possible assassination attempt”. Effectively snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
After the '67 war, Israel occupied extensive territories on the West Bank and in Gaza. Settlers took this as an indication that Israel was expanding its borders and moved in building settlements in land ceded to the Palestinians. The settlements have been brought up many times as a blockage to any sort of negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
While there remain significant issues yet to be resolved, this is the first and major step towards some sort of lasting compromise between the two governments. The onus for peace is shouldered by both governments to achieve some sort of cooperation – neither side is completely guilty, and neither side is completely innocent.