As Israeli soldiers began removing Jewish Gaza residents from their homes, pictures of clashes, stories about the settlers and why they did not leave and musings about what Gaza would be like after appeared in newspapers around the world.
Just six months after he oversaw Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Ariel Sharon’s time in office was over. He had arguably staked his career on the move, breaking ranks with his party and risking a permanent divide in Israeli society with what many of the country’s right-wing saw as a betrayal.
On March 20 2003 the US-led invasion of Iraq began and within three weeks the Iraqi government had fallen. But while the statue of Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein was famously toppled on April 9, the army’s attempts to hit him with air strikes failed twice and when Baghdad fell his whereabouts were unknown.
In the months after the invasion, rumours of sightings abounded, but it was not until December that he was found in an isolated farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit.
A new report into the fate of the settlers evacuated from Gaza has accused successive Israeli governments of “absolute and complete failure” in dealing with them.
The state commission inquiry showed that 70 per cent of the settlers, who were forced to leave their Gush Katif homes during the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, have still not been found permanent homes. A large majority of those 9,000 who were removed from Gaza have still not been properly compensated and are currently living in temporary dwellings.