This article explains my own reasons for backing the Gaza disengagement. I have always gone with the fact that Gaza was never really a "Jewish" area (although Jews may have lived there on and off throughout history).
From today's New York Times
Palestinians on the Right Side of History
By BENNY MORRIS
There is, from the historian's perch, something fitting about the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. I am not speaking about the fact that this appallingly overcrowded area has 1.3 million Arabs who need every inch of its 140 square miles to even begin to imagine a better life and who regard their former Jewish occupiers as nothing more than robbers.
I mean instead that for the greater part of ancient history - that past in which the Jewish people anchor their claim to Israel - the Gaza Strip was not part of the Jewish state. The embattled settlers may have screamed last week that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was expelling Jews from part of Eretz Yisrael, "the land of Israel." And the first Hebrew, the patriarch Abraham, may have understood God, at least on paper (or papyrus), to have included this narrow strip of territory in his promised domain.
But in reality, the Gaza Strip and the coastal towns to its north, for most of the years between, say, 1250 B.C. and 135 A.D. - the era in which the Jews lived in and often ruled the land of Israel - eluded firm Israelite or Judean control and, indeed, Jewish habitation. It is not even clear that the great Hebrew kings David and Solomon, under whom the kingdom reached its vastest expanse, ever directly controlled the Gaza area.
The Hebrew tribes that crossed the Jordan River and pushed into the Holy Land in the 13th and 12th centuries B.C. settled and established their rule along its hilly central spine, between Ishtamua (present-day Samua), Hebron and Shechem (present-day Nablus). This stretch, with Jerusalem at its center, comprises the area that the Bible and many Israelis now refer to as Judea and Samaria, and the rest of the world calls the West Bank. This is the historical heartland of the Jewish people - and of course today it is largely populated by Arabs, who claim it as their own and are demanding that Israel evacuate it.
By contrast, the coastal strip to the west, from Rafah north through Gaza to Caesarea, was the land of the strangers, the Gentiles. Paradoxically, Tel Aviv, that ultimate Israeli-Jewish city, serves as the hub of this coastline today, a city of the plain par excellence.
Thus in a spiritual sense, history served up a terrible irony at the start of the Zionist enterprise. Wishing to return to Shiloh and Bethel, Jerusalem and Hebron, the Jews immigrating to Palestine found its hilly core heavily populated by Arabs. So the early settlers put down roots in the thinly populated coastal plain and interior lowlands (the Jezreel and Jordan Valleys), where land was available and relatively cheap.
Then, in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, the Jews established their state in those same lowlands, while Judea and Samaria were occupied by the Jordanian Army, which resisted Israeli takeover. Thus history was reversed: the reborn Jewish state sprang up precisely in those areas that millenniums earlier had been the domain of the Gentiles.
The Gaza Strip was the exception. It was the only part of the old Gentile coastal plain that was saved for the Arabs, by the Egyptian Army. It changed hands, of course, in 1967 (along with the West Bank); but with the Israeli withdrawal, it will regain a long tradition of evading Jewish control.
In antiquity, Gaza was part of Biblical Pleshet or Philistia - the domain of the Philistines, a non-Semitic "sea people" hailing from the Greek isles who probably invaded and settled along the coast in the 12th century B.C. (more or less simultaneous with the arrival in the Holy Land of the Hebrews from the east).
From their towns of Gaza, Ashkelon and Jaffa, the Philistines controlled the coastal plain from 1150 B.C. to 586 B.C., and intermittently challenged Jewish rule over the inland hill country. It was in these forays eastward that the Philistines lost their champion, Goliath, to young David's pebble and, in turn, slew King Saul and his son Jonathan on Mount Gilboa, displaying their heads on the walls of Beit Shean, in the Jordan Valley.
Philistia was conquered (along with Judea) by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the Philistines were exiled and vanished from history. In the second century A.D., after having quashed a Jewish revolt, the Roman rulers renamed the land of Israel - in order to de-Judaize it - Palestina (a derivative of Philistia). They thus gave the Arabs, who were to arrive on the scene five centuries later, the name they were to adopt. In this nominal sense, there is justice in the Palestinian Arabs now gaining possession of ancient Philistia.
Of course, these historical details are of little interest to the Islamic fundamentalists, who, by most accounts, enjoy majority support in the Gaza Strip. For them, history begins with the conquests of Muhammad and his caliphs in the seventh century. According to Koranic law, all the land they conquered (including not only today's Palestine but also Spain and Portugal) became inalienable Islamic territory. Or as Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, said recently, the fundamentalists seek to control not just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; as he put it, "All of Palestine is our land."
Indeed, probably most Arabs would like to "de-Judaize" all of Palestine, and many, no doubt, see the Gaza evacuation as a first step. But that remains a distant dream. Gaza may be reverting to "Gentile" rule, but whether the West Bank - in which lie the true historical roots of the Jewish people - will do so also is another, and far more painful, question.
Benny Morris, the author of "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited," is a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.