Am I missing a beat here...Please tell me that I just haven't followed the story completely.
OK, so pull out, this is a sensible concession. But why, honestly, WHY destroy the settlements. Most of them are, by the standards of the region, highly desirable properties, which would require only minor alterations to suit the needs of the new inhabitants. But it is said that both sides agreed that the homes occupied by some 8,000 settlers would do little to address the housing needs of the 1.3 million Palestinians.
Errr...OK, but how is having no houses at all going to help? Come on, the rest of the Strip is blinking desert. There is plenty of space for further building.
It seems to me much more likely that the "both sides" in question were actually Ms Rice and the Palestinian negotiators. Condoleeza plays the game. She says: “The view is that there are better land uses for the Palestinians to better address their housing needs.” She should have told it like it is and it should not have been left to the Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, to get it right. He said that the houses could have remained standing. “It was their choice. If they (the Palestinians) wanted them they could have had them.”
It just seems like another classic example of the Palestinian leadership deliberately hobbling it's people and then blaming their discomfort on Israel. This sort of thing has happened so repeatedly over the years that one can only assume it is a deliberate policy and not a matter of stupidity.