Netanyahu calls Gaza withdrawal 'a mistake'

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, yesterday said the withdrawal of nearly 9,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip four years ago was a mistake, bringing mixed reaction from Middle East experts on the significance of his comments to relations with the United States and the peace process.

"We can only conduct genuine introspection and say that the unilateral evacuation from the Gaza Strip brought neither peace nor security," Mr Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting yesterday in Jerusalem, according to a transcript e-mailed by his office to news agencies. "We will not repeat this mistake." Mr Netanyahu, who quit as finance minister a week before the Gaza withdrawal started in August 2005, under the government of then prime minister Ariel Sharon, said yesterday that agreements that involve ceding territory from now on will require "genuine recognition of Israel" and "security arrangements that can be enforced".

Israel had controlled the Gaza Strip, which is home to about 1.3 million Palestinians, for 38 years before the withdrawal. "Netanyahu's remarks should be viewed as part of the Israeli and Palestinian consensus against unilateralism. It enabled militants to claim credit without reciprocal concessions. [The] remarks should not be viewed as opposing agreed withdrawal as a part of a peace agreement," David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy, a policy think tank, said in an e-mail yesterday.

US President Barack Obama has been pressuring Israel to freeze housing construction at settlements in the West Bank. While Mr Netanyahu has promised not to build new settlements, he has refused to halt construction of homes in existing settlements.

"We will not evict any more people from their homes," the Israeli prime minister said yesterday. Israel began a three-week military offensive against Hamas in Gaza last December aimed at stopping the firing of rockets by Hamas at towns in southern Israel. More than 1,400 Gaza residents were killed in the conflict in which 13 Israelis also died. "Gaza became a Hamas base under Iranian control from which thousands of missiles have been fired, including in the last campaign," Mr Netanyahu said yesterday. "In short, this did not bring peace."

Daniel Levy, a senior fellow and co-director of the Middle East Initiative at the New America Foundation in Washington, believes Mr Netanyahu's comments were "more about the internal political conversation in Israel than a message directed at the US - with one possible caveat. Remember, this is Netanyahu the leader of the Likud old rump party which rejected Sharon's unilateral Gaza evacuation ? This is playing to his own party and ministers, which is exceedingly hardline, and to his base and his rightist coalition allies.

"This is also a big part of the 'I was proved right' [Netanyahu] narrative - 'I ... said leaving Gaza would create a terror base, rockets on Ashkelon et cetera. It all came to pass so, support me today when I am placing my conditions on any progress with the Palestinians, on security, Palestinian recognition, et cetera.' "In that respect I think the unilateral evacuation was designed - intentionally in many ways - to fail, that is to not be a model for the West Bank. So in that respect Netanyahu is echoing a storyline that is widely held in Israel ... My one caveat is this - there is some talk of doing borders, getting a pullback and partial evacuation on the West Bank, perhaps to the separation barrier ... So this might be in part a pre-emptive attack by [Mr Netanyahu] against these options."

Mr Netanyahu said he would tour some of the areas today in which the Gaza settlers have been living since the evacuation. "We must take greater action and soon in order to complete dealing with our brothers whose lives were destroyed," Mr Netanyahu said yesterday. "This means financial and social rehabilitation, rehabilitation in every sense of the word." "There is also a feeling among the Israeli Right of how mismanaged the resettling of the Gaza settlers was, so [Mr Netanyahu] is playing to that as well," Mr Levy said. "I do not think this has new implications for the peace process."

Mr Netanyahu "is just further entrenching and justifying his conditions and those conditions mean that either you get a very assertive American peace effort at some time [months to a year from now] with a detailed plan for implementing two states, or this is not just stuck but starts to further deteriorate. "In that respect [Mr Netanyahu] is challenging the Obama administration to call his bluff and up the ante." * With additional reporting by Bloomberg and Agence France-Presse

Boulder shooting victims

• Denny Strong, 20
• Neven Stanisic, 23
• Rikki Olds, 25
• Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
• Suzanne Fountain, 59
• Teri Leiker, 51
• Eric Talley, 51
• Kevin Mahoney, 61
• Lynn Murray, 62
• Jody Waters, 65


5pm Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m

Winner Thabet Al Reef, Bernardo Pinheiro (jockey), Abdallah Al Hammadi (trainer)

5.30pm Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m

Winner Blue Diamond, Pat Cosgrave, Abdallah Al Hammadi

6pm Arabian Triple Crown Round-1 Listed (PA) Dh230,000 (T) 1,600m

Winner Hameem, Adrie de Vries, Abdallah Al Hammadi

6.30pm Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m

Winner Shoja’A Muscat, Szczepan Mazur, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7pm Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m

Winner Heros De Lagarde, Szczepan Mazur, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7.30pm Handicap (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 2,400m

Winner Good Tidings, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi


Lightweight 10 rounds:
Bader Samreen (8-0-0) v Jose Paez Gonzales (16-2-2)

Super flyweight 10 rounds:
Sultan Al Nuaimi (9-0-0) v Jemsi Kibazange (18-6-2)

Cruiseweight 8 rounds:
Mohammed Bekdash (25-0-0) v Musa N’tege (8-4-0)

Super featherweight 8 rounds:
Bishara Sabbar (6-0-0) v Mohammed Azahar (8-5-1)

Welterweight 6 rounds:
Marwan Mohamad Madboly (2-0-0) v Sheldon Schultz (4-4-0)

Heavyweight 4 rounds:
Youssef Karrar (1-0-0) v Muhammad Muzeei (0-0-0)

Welterweight 6 rounds:
Benyamin Moradzadeh (0-0-0) v Rohit Chaudhary (4-0-2)

Featherweight 4 rounds:
Yousuf Ali (2-0-0) (win-loss-draw) v Alex Semugenyi (0-1-0)

Match info

Liverpool 3
Hoedt (10' og), Matip (21'), Salah (45+3')

Southampton 0

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE



5pm: Warsan Lake – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m; Winner: Dhaw Al Reef, Sam Hitchcott (jockey), Abdallah Al Hammadi (trainer)

5.30pm: Al Quadra Lake – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Mrouwah Al Gharbia, Sando Paiva, Abubakar Daud

6pm: Hatta Lake – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: AF Yatroq, George Buckell, Ernst Oertel

6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Ashton Tourettes, Adries de Vries, Ibrahim Aseel

7pm: Abu Dhabi Championship – Listed (PA) Dh180,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Bahar Muscat, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7.30pm: Zakher Lake – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Alfareeq, Dane O’Neill, Musabah Al Muhairi.


AC Milan v Inter, Sunday, 6pm (UAE), match live on BeIN Sports


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Sector: transport

Size: 450+ employees

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Investors include: Dubai’s Beco Capital, US’s Endeavor Catalyst, China’s MSA, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures, Property Finder CEO Michael Lahyani


The flights

Etihad ( and flydubai ( fly direct to Baku three times a week from Dh1,250 return, including taxes. 

The stay

A seven-night “Fundamental Detox” programme at the Chenot Palace ( costs from €3,000 (Dh13,197) per person, including taxes, accommodation, 3 medical consultations, 2 nutritional consultations, a detox diet, a body composition analysis, a bio-energetic check-up, four Chenot bio-energetic treatments, six Chenot energetic massages, six hydro-aromatherapy treatments, six phyto-mud treatments, six hydro-jet treatments and access to the gym, indoor pool, sauna and steam room. Additional tests and treatments cost extra.

No more lice

Defining head lice

Pediculus humanus capitis are tiny wingless insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. The adult head louse is up to 3mm long, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white in colour. The female lives up to four weeks and, once mature, can lay up to 10 eggs per day. These tiny nits firmly attach to the base of the hair shaft, get incubated by body heat and hatch in eight days or so.

Identifying lice

Lice can be identified by itching or a tickling sensation of something moving within the hair. One can confirm that a person has lice by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs or lice. Head lice are most frequently located behind the ears and near the neckline.

Treating lice at home

Head lice must be treated as soon as they are spotted. Start by checking everyone in the family for them, then follow these steps. Remove and wash all clothing and bedding with hot water. Apply medicine according to the label instructions. If some live lice are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine-toothed comb.
After the initial treatment, check for, comb and remove nits and lice from hair every two to three days. Soak combs and brushes in hot water for 10 minutes.Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.

Courtesy Dr Vishal Rajmal Mehta, specialist paediatrics, RAK Hospital

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Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav


Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

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