A little late on my new attempt to post every weekend, but this news was worth waiting for. It's all over the internet and conventional news sources. The Gaza pullout is complete! What does this mean?
First, it shows that Israel may, after all, be committed to ideals like justice and freedom and willing to put those ideals in to practice; if so, much of the world should take note. It may be possible to both prosper and to do justice. It is very easy for armchair critics to point fingers at Israel and cry foul for her past injustices towards the Palestinians; however, if shoes were swapped, I think very few nations or critics would be willing to take such a drastic step as Sharon has in attempting to further the roadmap to peace.
Second, it opens wide the door for the Palestinian people to respond in kind. This is a monumentous opportunity for Abbas and the Palestinian commoner to show their utter revulsion for, and rejection of, terrorism as a viable means to achieving political goals. If the Palestinian leadership and a Palestinian grassroots movement loudly rejects the terror wings of groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it will give them a fighting chance to create a homeland and end the endless bloodshed.
Third, it allows opportunities for new precedents to be set, and for widely touted academic theories to be tested. A prominent example is the claim that Islam can be (is) a religion of peace and can be (is) a positive civilizing force that allows for cultural flourishing. There are loud and heated arguments on both sides of this claim. Both sides have historic examples that can be cited to prove a point. However, here is another opporunity (just like the situation in Iraq) for the majority of Palestinans to show that their religion leads to a good life for the many. Further, even more than Iraq, Palestine has the added benefit of being the focal point of the entire Arab-Muslim world and may be able to draw on many added resources that are not so willingly lent to the Iraqi people--there are huge movtiations (in many different groups) for the successful establishment of a Palestinian state.
Rejoice that a step is being made towards restoration, justice, and peace in the holy land!