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Withdrawal from Gaza   (Part B)
以色列准备撤离加沙 (2)

Since the Israeli army captured Gaza nearly forty years ago -- in the Six Day War -- it's been occupied territory. When it moved civilian settlers into the Strip it was breaching the Geneva Conventions -- the international rules of war.

This means nothing to settlers like Debbie Rosen. She said she never thought of her home as being in occupied territory. For her, Gaza is part of the land that God promised the Jews.

The occupation may mean nothing to the settlers of Gush Katif -- but it means everything just a short distance away, in the Palestinian town of Khan Younis. For decades, For Palestinian families, the occupation has restrictions on movements and limits and humiliations in many areas of life -- and it's hated.

Along the western side of Khan Younis Israeli troops man watchtowers that are part of the defences for the settlements. And the area has seen many clashes between the army and Palestinian militants. They frequently launch rocket and other attacks on the settler communities that they see as being so symbolic of the Israeli presence.

The beach used to be an escape from the heat and squalor of the alleyways of Khan Younis. But to keep the militants out of the settlement zone, the army has blocked the Palestinian road to the sea. Khan Younis has lost its beach.

And nobody has lost more than a middle aged, family man called Mohammad Shaath. He used to run one of the best Palestinian cafes on the beach. But the army's restrictions mean that he hasn't been able to get to it for years. Last time he tried soldiers fired warning shots.

The settlers would say that Mr Shaath should blame his troubles on the militants who launched the intifada. They would say that army only blocked Khan Younis off from the beach to protect settler families from a deadly militant threat.

But there was a voice of dissent.

A young settler on the beach said he understood what drove the militants. He said that when Israelis were fighting to establish an independent state in the 1940s they carried out a campaign of violence against the ruling British.

The young man clearly felt that the Palestinians had endured injustice at Israel's hands. "We are guilty," he said. "They want a country."