A dear (and brilliant I might add) friend of mine, who is also a human rights activist and worker, rightly pointed out to me in an email that the correct word to use is Disengagement, not withdrawal, and for good reason:
"Please don't use the word withdrawal to describe disengagement. i know it sounds nitpicky, but 'withdrawal' has political/legal implications of ending the occupation (and israel's repsonsibility) for gaza; the one and only correct term is 'disengagement' and that's why the israelis use it amongst themselves."
I stand corrected. Of course, I knew this, but I supposed I tired of saying the D word one too many times last week and the implication slipped my mind.
He also had this to say on the origin of settlements:
I believe the israelis began construction of a settlement in/near kfar darom even during the six-seven months of occupation in 1956/1957. I remember seeing a ref to it in avi shlaim's 'iron wall'.
The main problem is the of the fundamental issue of EQUALITY. If Jews, whether escaping persecution or not, whether in the 1900s,1950s, or 1990s, had come to live on the land _alongside_ Palestinians asequals, they would have been like the Armenians (which is why there is no great 'Arab-Armenian conflict'); what distinguishes the enterprise of Zionist settlement, whether in the pre-state period or after 1967, is the desire to establish a state for all Jews and for Jews only -- and that can't be square with equality.