Many keen commentators (but no US journalists) have noted that Israel's "wrenching" Gaza pullout was a smart way to divert attention away from Sharon's efforts to consolidate and extend Israeli control in the West Bank. A Special Report from The Guardian fills in some of the details:
Construction on the "security barrier"/apartheid wall (when completed, to extend 420 miles) and elaborate "border" posts continues apace.
Construction of settlements and confiscation of Palestinian land in the West Bank has accelerated. According to Dror Etkes, of the Israeli organisation Settlement Watch, "they're building like maniacs." 4,000 homes in settlements are currently under construction and thousands more approved for the Ariel and Maale Adumim blocks. 14,000 settlers move to the West Bank this year as 8,500 leave the Gaza Strip. In July alone, Israel confiscated more land in the West Bank than it surrendered when it pulled settlers out of Gaza.
Such "progress" on the peace front in Palestine/Israel is entirely characteristic of the "peace process" ever since it started back in 1992. Pres. George W. Bush says he hopes a Palestinian state will eventually/soon exist side by side with Israel, but a viable state can never come into being if the US continues, as it always has done, to subsidize Israeli settlement and confiscation in the West Bank.