Israel's Disengagement Plan has been called 'moment pregnant with hope, but also fraught with peril.
' Pregnant with hope, because the plan's call for the evacuation of 25 Jewish settlements from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza holds the potential to bring some normalcy to Palestinians who have lived under a 38 year occupation.
Without the presence of settlements and troops it is expected that Palestinians will reclaim control over their land, access the entire length of their coastline, move unimpeded in their own territory, and live more free of Israeli controls and attacks.
In light of such benefits, the Israeli plan has been lauded by many as a positive, politically courageous and precedent setting step that could re-launch the peace process and bring an end to Israel's occupation of the OPT.
The Disengagement Plan is also fraught with peril, because it will not put an end to Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip.
The present terms of the published Disengagement Plan specifically affirm that â€œ[t]he completion of the plan will serve to dispel the claims regarding Israel's responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
â€? It is therefore Israel's hope that the plan's implementation will release it of its legal status as an occupying power.
Legally speaking however, the continued extent of Israel's physical and administrative control over Gaza means that it will continue to maintain effective control over the territory.
This means that the Disengagement Plan will do nothing to change Israel's status as an occupying power or the status of Gazans as protected persons, whose wellbeing Israel has an obligation to provide for under international humanitarian law (IHL).