1. Main Page
  2. The Oslo Accord, Government Corruption, and a "Road Map" to Peace
  3. Assassinations, a New Government, and a Temporary Withdrawal
  4. The Rise of Hamas
  5. Hamas and Farah Clash
  6. Attempting Cease-Fire
  7. Abbas Under Fire
  8. Palestinian Factions Sign Historic Reconciliation Accord
  9. Palestine Officially Requests Membership to UN
  10. Progress for UN Memberships Stalls
  11. Exploratory Talks with Israel End while Unity Government with Hamas Moves Forward
  12. Palestinian Authority Marks 19th Oslo Accords Anniversary with Economic Troubles
  13. Violence Erupts Between Israel and Gaza in November 2012
  14. UN Approves Non-Member State Status
  15. Egypt Attempts to Get Hamas and Fatah to Reconcile
  16. Rami Hamdallah Becomes Prime Minister
  17. Peace Talks Resume After Five Years
  18. 2013 Report Supports Theory That Arafat Was Poisoned
  19. New Unity Government Includes Hamas
  20. Murders of Israeli and Palestinian Teenagers Increases Tension
  21. Britain Votes to Recognize Palestine
  22. Palestine Asks to Join the International Criminal Court
  23. More Obstacles Emerge for Palestine in 2015
Assassinations, a New Government, and a Temporary Withdrawal

On March 22, 2004, Israel assassinated Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas. In the previous six months, Israel had killed more than 20 Hamas officials and vowed to destroy the entire leadership. Within months, Israel had assassinated Yassin's successor as well.

In July 2004, Israel revised the route of its security barrier so that it no longer cut into Palestinian land. The UN estimated that the original route would have taken almost 15% of West Bank territory for Israel. The new route was also meant to limit undue hardships, such as separating Palestinian villagers from their farmland.

On Nov. 10, Yasir Arafat died, marking the end of an era in Palestinian affairs. On Jan. 9, 2005, former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) was easily elected president with 62% of the vote. At a summit in February, Abbas and Israeli prime minister Sharon agreed to an unequivocal cease-fire, the most promising move toward peace in the four years since the intifada began.

On Aug. 15, 2005, the withdrawal of some 8,000 Israeli settlers from Gaza began. Two years earlier, Sharon had announced his plan for Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. In turn, Israel was to hold on to large blocks of land in the West Bank and reject the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. The Israeli evacuation involved 21 Gaza settlements as well as four of the more isolated of the West Bank's 120 settlements. Gaza, which has the world's highest population density, gained 25% more land and plans on replacing the settlers' single-family houses with apartment buildings to alleviate a severe housing shortage. A private group of American philanthropists purchased 800 acres of greenhouses from the departing settlers and donated them to the Palestinians, preserving an important source of jobs and revenue in an area with 40% unemployment.

Next: The Rise of Hamas
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