The prevailing sentiment in the Western media is that a new era has started in the Middle East .The magic that transformed Sharon’s image into a hero of peace was his pullout from Gaza. In fact, however, as important as the evacuation of the Gaza settlements is, it is far from signaling the end of the Israeli occupation. \ud \ud Sharon introduced his Gaza Strip “disengagement” plan on February 3, 2004—at the peak of international criticism and pressure. On the one hand, it was at the time becoming evident that it was Israel who failed the implementation of the road map plan. On the other hand, criticism was mounting regarding the construction of the West Bank wall, with the hearing of the Hague International Court of Justice scheduled to begin just a few weeks later, on February 23. At the time, the route of the wall was also the center of intense Israeli negotiations with the U.S. Nachum Barnea, one of the most well briefed Israeli journalists, reported that "Israel does not ask for money to finance the evacuation, although it will be glad to get it. It mainly seeks support of the fence-route" . The Gaza pullout plan gave Sharon a year and a half to continue undisturbed with the wall project. The plan seemed like a calculated risk, which may lead to the loss of the Israeli settlements in Gaza, in return for securing and expanding Israel's grip in the West Bank
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