April 2006

The policy of “hitnatkut”, or unilateral disengagement, developed by Ariel Sharon needed a swift facelift following the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza last year. And Israel’s prime minister-designate, Ehud Olmert, has found it in the related concept of “hitkansut”, variously translated as “convergence”, “consolidation” and “ingathering”. After all, Olmert could hardly campaign convincingly for a West Bank disengagement when it was clear Jewish settlers and soldiers would continue occupying a significant proportion of Palestinian land at the withdrawal’s end. So convergence is usefully, and misleadingly, supplanting disengagement.