[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Israeli settler eviction complete
Soldiers take away a settler at Sanur
There were little pockets of resistance, but no violence
Israeli troops have completed the evacuation of settlers from Gaza and West Bank in line with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's withdrawal plan.

After token resistance, the last to leave were protesters at the West Bank settlements of Sanur and Homesh.

All of the 8,500 or so settlers in Gaza were removed in a six-day operation that ended on Monday.

However, about 450,000 settlers remain in about 120 settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

It is the first time Israel has withdrawn from Palestinian land captured in the 1967 war.

The houses of the settlers are being demolished in agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

But Mr Sharon says he will not give up the main settlement blocks - or halt settlement building as required by the US-backed roadmap peace plan.

President George W Bush praised the Israeli prime minister's "courageous decision" that had "changed the dynamics on the ground and has provided hope for the Palestinian people".

"We want to get back to the roadmap," Mr Bush said urging effective government by the Palestinians in the evacuated areas.

Cranes and bulldozers

Thousands of Israeli troops re-deployed from Gaza met little resistance in the West Bank settlements of Sanur and Homesh - the last two of the planned four to be evacuated in accordance with the disengagement plan.

The residents of Ganim and Kadim had already left voluntarily.

The BBC's James Reynolds in Sanur says that the atmosphere was calm, despite media reports that radical settlers had weapons and could resort to violence.

There was some activity at synagogues in the two settlements, where troops had to cut through iron barricades before carrying out protesters.

A group of around 30-40 protesters mounted the last of the resistance on the roof of an old Ottoman fort in Sanur.

Riot police firing water cannon stepped from containers hoisted by cranes onto the roof before taking them down and completing the evacuation.

In Homesh troops removed a small group of protesters from the roof of a religious school using a bulldozer shovel.

Cranes lifting containers onto the rooftop where protesters were holding out

The army released footage of riot police being pelted with tomatoes, flour, paint and other substances from the roof by angry settlers there.

Five policemen were lightly wounded in Homesh, including a soldier hit by a stone, Haaretz newspaper reported.

However, predictions by the authorities of violent resistance were not borne out.

New page?

Palestinians watched the evictions, saying they were preparing to celebrate.

They told the BBC the settlers harassed their children and would not let them use the village's cemetery, located on the slope of the hill.

Netzarim residents carrying Torah scrolls from their synagogue
Now it's up to Abbas to dismantle Hamas and Islamic Jihad and prove he is sincere about peace
Nathan, Australia

The evacuation will make farming easier for local Palestinians who will be able to move around freely, correspondents say.

Security in the area will remain in Israeli hands unlike in the Gaza Strip where the Israelis are withdrawing entirely to hand over security to the Palestinian Authority.

Israelis will now wonder what more there is to come, says our Jerusalem correspondent.

Mr Sharon has evacuated some settlements but he is reinforcing many others - and building a security barrier to separate Israelis from Palestinians.

Many ask whether Israel's prime minister is drawing up his country's conclusive borders by himself, our correspondent says.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See police storming a settlement rooftop



Israel and the Palestinians

KEY STORIES

FEATURES & ANALYSIS

Palestinian women sit on a roof top of the home of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on 20 November 2006. Human shields
Palestinians adopt a new tactic to deter Israeli attacks, but this is a high-risk strategy

VIDEO AND AUDIO


PROFILES

 




SERVICES

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific