August 15, 2005
The evacuation from Gaza of Jewish settlers begins. The disengagement plan had been approved by the Knesset in February and on July 17th, The Disengagement Implementation Law went into effect with a deadline of August 14th for settlers to leave the Gaza Strip. On August 15th, soldiers and policemen began entering settlements and handing out evacuation orders. residents were given 48 hours to leave.
In his speech to the nation, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said,
“Residents of the Gaza Strip, today marks the end of a glorious chapter in the story of Israel, and a central chapter in the story of your lives as pioneers, as realizers of a dream and as those who bore the security and settlement burden for all of us. Your pain and your tears are an inseparable part of the history of this country. Whatever disagreements we have, we will not abandon you, and following the evacuation, we will do everything in our power to rebuild your lives and communities. I wish to tell the soldiers of the IDF, the police officers of the Israel Police and Border Police: you face a difficult mission – it’s not an enemy you face, rather your brothers and sisters. Sensitivity and patience are the order of the hour. I am certain that this is how you will behave. I want you to know: the entire nation stands behind you and is proud of you. Citizens of Israel, The responsibility for the future of Israel rests on my shoulders. I initiated the Plan because I concluded that this action is vital for Israel. Believe me, the extent of pain that I feel at this act is equal only to the measure of resolved recognition that it was something that had to be done. We are embarking on a new path which has many risks, but also a ray of hope for all of us.”
For more on the Disengagement from Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel Defense Forces have 264 photos of the Disengagement.