When Ariel Sharon began singling out settlements for future eviction, he knew just where to look.
Arguing that Israel could best cement its grip on major West Bank settlement blocs - which polls show are supported by the majority of Israelis - by relinquishing control over the areas Israelis care about least, Sharon began with the unwanted stepchild enclaves of Gaza and the northern West Bank.
Years of opinion surveys have shown that these were settlements a majority of Israelis wished never had existed. Settlements for which even the settlement movement itself had shown little support.
To the south, there was Netzarim, the diehard Dien Bien Phu of the settlement enterprise. A bloodstained island of bad memories for both Israelis and Palestinians, the isolated, vulnerable settlement remains the subject of one of the most double-edged advertising campaigns in movement history: highway banners proclaiming that "It is in Netzarim that Israel will triumph."
To the northwest, there was Sa Nur, alternately decimated and re-populated, at one time a down-at-the-heels artists colony for recent arrivals from the Soviet Union, most recently the site of clashes with Israeli security forces in which young Sa Nur residents used their infants as human shields.
Just this week, in the latest of re-population bids, the Nir Yeshiva near Hebron, a powerhouse core of hardline settler ideology, announced plans to move to Sa Nur.
In general, there was the Gaza Strip, so problematic from the standpoints of Jewish lineage and biblical allusion that the settler movement to this day refrains from using its Old Testament name, opting instead for the modern Labor-Zionist-tinged designation Gush Katif, a name suggesting a bloc of prosperous farm villages in central Israel.
The following is a capsule guide to the 25 settlements the prime minister has moved heaven and earth to eradicate.
SAMARIA - NORTHERN WEST BANK
Population: 172 [30 families]. Founded: 1983. Location: Just east of Jenin. Most residents expected to leave voluntarily.
Population: 217 [30 families]. Founded 1980. Mixed secular-religious. Site of numerous terror attacks. Located between Nablus and Tul Karm. Nearly all families may move voluntarily to a community in the Emek Hefer area of north central Israel.
Population: 169 . Founded 1981. Secular community. Located just south of Jenin. Most residents expected to leave voluntarily.
4. Sa Nur
Population: Dec 31, 2003 - 28. Dec. 31 2004 - 105. Founded 1982. Located between Nablus and Tul Karm. Site of a number of failed settlement attempts, including an art colony for Russian immigrants. May be bolstered by just-announced possible move to Sa Nur of Hebron-area yeshiva. ___________________________
Pop. 76 [20 families]. Founded May, 1990, by three families. Secular.
6. Elei Sinai
Pop. 349  Founded 1982, in part by families uprooted from Sinai. Mixed Orthodox/traditional/secular. Many families in talks with government over voluntarily leaving, obtaining land to build homes in Bat Hadar, near Ashkelon. Founding resident Avi Farhan says his and several other families willing to remain under PA sovereignty, even vote in PA elections.
Pop. 1,035 . Founded 1982, largely by families uprooted from Sinai. Mostly traditional/secular. Scores of families now in talks with government officials over moving voluntarily to Kibbutz Carmiye.
8. Kfar Darom
Pop. 363 . Founded 1970.
Pop. 390 . Founded 1984 as religious kibbutz, later became non-collective Orthodox community.
SOUTHERN GAZA, KATIF BLOC
Also called Bnei Atzmon. Pop. 646 . Founded 1979 in Yamit salient in Sinai, evacuated 1982 and moved to present location 1982. Orthodox/Ultra-Orthodox.
Pop. 219 . Founded 1986. Orthodox.
12. Ganei Tal
Pop. 400 . Founded 1979. Orthodox moshav.
13. Gan Or
Pop. 351 . Founded 1982. Orthodox moshav.
Pop. 310 . Founded 1982. Orthodox moshav.
Pop. 404  Founded 1985.
16. Kerem Atzmona
Pop. 12 families. Founded 2001. Orthodox/Ultra-Orthodox
17. Kfar Yam
Pop. N/A. Founded 1983.
Pop. 221 . Founded 1983. Orthodox moshav.
19. Netzer Hazani
Pop. 410 . Founded 1973. Largely Orthodox.
20. Neve Dekalim
Pop. 2,500  Founded 1983. Largely Orthodox. Administrative center of Gaza settlement movement.
21. Pe'at Sadeh
Pop. 104 . Founded 1993 Mixed secular/Orthodox. Many members have voiced willingness to move voluntarily.
22. Rafiah Yam
Pop. 143 . Founded 1984. Mixed orthodox/secular.
23. Shirat Hayam
Pop. 12 families. Founded 2000.
Pop. 42  Founded 2001.
25. Tel Katifa
Pop. 18 families. Founded 1992.
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