2005—Israel's Unilateral Disengagement Plan
In 2004, in a prelude to Israel's unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces carried out a number of military attacks on Gaza cities and refugees camps, seeking to draw out and kill Hamas-affiliated gunmen. Awareness of high casualties during such incursions led the Hamas leadership to instruct its activists to avoid putting themselves needlessly in the line of fire. On September 12, 2005, IDF withdrew from the Gaza Strip and declared an official end to Israeli military rule in Gaza, though Israel still retained control of the airspace and of the sea. However, the Palestinan Authority argued that the occupation was on-going, as complete sovereignty includes control of both airspace and seaways. The Gaza Strip was called a "lawless open-air prison".
Hamas claimed that this unilateral withdrawal was a victory for its armed struggle and pledged to liberate all the occupied territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Fatah, on the other hand, viewed Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan as proof of the Palestinians' failure to obtain international recognition. Both criticized the disengagement plan, citing Sharon's simultaneous encouragement of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including Ma'ale Adummim, a large settlement east of Jerusalem.
In April 2005, an advisor of Benjamin Netanyahu, principal right-wing opponent of Ariel Sharon, secretly negotiated with a Hamas representative, according to the Le Canard enchaîné. The meeting was about the "possibility of an administrative co-gestion with the Hamas in the occupied territories", which is already the case in some Hamas-controlled cities of the West Bank, according to the French newspaper, which continued saying that: "But, in both sides, participants to such a dialogue keeps their mouth shut (bouche cousue). It is impossible to admit that one has met and negotiated with his sworn enemy."
Read more about this topic: History Of Hamas
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