By Mark Osborn
The Israeli government plans to withdraw 9,000 settlers and the troops that protect them from the Gaza Strip in mid-August.
Israel will maintain control of Gaza’s borders, coastline and airspace.
As the pull-out nears Ariel Sharon’s Israeli government is facing mobilisations from right-wing settlers who oppose the withdrawal.
A mass protest began on Monday 18 July and ended on 20 Wednesday 20. They wanted to march into the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip, via the Kissufim border crossing, but were stopped by police. The protesters are, as we write, heading home.