President Bush says the Israeli withdrawal from 25 settlements in the Palestinian territories has "changed the dynamics" on the ground in the Middle East and provided hope for the Palestinian people.
Mr. Bush spoke Tuesday, shortly after Israel cleared the last remaining resisters from two West Bank settlements set for evacuation. The president said the next step is to establish a working Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip that responds to its people. Earlier, Israeli troops smashed their way through barricades in the northern West Bank settlements of Sanur and Homesh, and began forcibly removing hundreds of protesters. Residents of two other nearby Jewish settlements had already left voluntarily.
Monday, Israel completed the evacuation of all 21 Gaza Strip settlements, in a move to end its 38 year occupation of the Palestinian territory. Israel says houses in the 25 settlements will be destroyed within 10 days.