Every other day I have a different opinion about the "realignment" (consolidation, disengagement) program of PM Ehud Olmert. I suppose that represents the Israeli consensus. On the one hand, we do not want to rule over another people, or to waste money on settlements the international community will not let us keep. The defense burden of Gaza and the West Bank, not generally discussed, was/is onerous.
On the other hand, withdrawal from Gaza has not brought Israel much joy. Qassam rockets
keep landing on Sderot, European newspapers and human rights groups rant about the "Israeli Occpation" though there are no Israeli soldiers in Gaza and as always, Israel is made out to be the big bad goliath fighting the defenseless Palestinians. Withdrawal from the West Bank could create an even more dangerous situation, because the "harmless" (Remember - Qassam rockets
Kill) rockets will be falling on the center of Israel, disrupting every day life in Jerusalem and Kfar Saba and other large population centers. There is no doubt that in the present circumstances, a Hamastan state would be established in fact if not in name in the West Bank, along with the one in Gaza, a state controlled from Damascus and Tehran and intent on stirring up trouble here to distract attention from the domestic and foreign entanglements of those regimes.
Add to that the fact that European and American leaders expressed their opposition to "realignment" and you have some seemingly unbeatable arguments against the plan: The international community doesn't want it, and it is dangerous for Israel so why do it?
Nonethelss, Ehud Olmert is intent on going ahead with "realignment"
. He says:
"I have not changed my mind about the plan following the events in recent days and am still decisive about continuing towards an ultimate separation from the Palestinians and towards solid, secure borders recognized by the international community,"
As there is apparently no way to get borders recognized by the international community without negotiations, it is difficult to follow Olmert's logic. Perhaps he knows some things that are not immediately evident. One of them, as noted, is the immense finanancial and manpower burden that is placed on the IDF by the occupation. Apparently, it is worth having a "Summer Rains" operation as an alternative to contant deployment in Gaza protecting settlements, and protecting the soldiers who are protecting the settlements.
Essentially, this is the argument of Maj. General (Res.) Yitzhak Yisraeli, in Myths of pullout and terror. He writes:
Here are a number of "truisms" that should be refuted: "The pullout has increased the terror in the Gaza Strip." Wrong. Since the pullout, the number of terror incidents and casualties has been reduced considerably. What remains is the Qassam rocket fire. These rockets were launched before the pullout, together with mortars (that reached Gush Katif settlements but not Sderot). All the fatalities caused by the Qassam rockets occurred before the pullout.
"The pullout from the Gaza Strip was based on the belief that the terror would cease." Wrong. The pullout was intended to alleviate the security burden (which has been alleviated, because it is no longer necessary to protect the Gush Katif settlements) and enable Israel to react harshly to ongoing terror
acts (as we are doing now in Operation Summer Rains, without evoking serious international protest).
"The pullout may not have led to increased terror incidents, but they have become more serious, as in the case of Gilad Shalit's kidnapping." Wring again. Serious attacks were launched at Israel Defense Forces positions before the pullout too. In any case, at least statistically, it is not true that the pullout has been conducive to terror.
"Evacuating the settlers from Gush Katif made it easier to carry out terror attacks." Wrong. Gush Katif was located west of the densely populated Arab areas in Gaza and was not a buffer between them and Israel.
He concludes that unilateral evacuation of settlements, but not of the IDF, from the West Bank is the best course, as long as Israel lacks a peace partner:
Is there any deployment at all that could alleviate the security burden on the one hand, yet preserve the achievements of the war on terror on the other hand? The answer is yes. Convergence into large Jewish settlement blocs, while leaving a military presence in the evacuated territories. The IDF will leave these territories only when someone on the Palestinian side takes quashing the terror organizations seriously. In this way, the IDF will have more security resources at its disposal and there will not be a feeling that terror was "rewarded." In the short term, a military presence in the areas from which Israeli citizens were evacuated would reduce terror. In the long term, it should pressure the Palestinians into abandoning the path of violence.
Maybe, Maybe not. One of the most powerful arguments for "realignment" is not mentioned by Yisraeli. It is the thunderous silence and marked indifference of the US government, the EU, the UN Security Council and even Arab states and commentators, in the face of the continued Israeli operation in Gaza today. Many cite the fact that Palestinian rocketing and attacks on Israeli soldiers were senseless since Israel had withdrawn from Gaza, and that the terror operations took place inside Israel. Of course, the same old people insist on writing about the war of the Israeli warmonger Goliaths against the poor helpless and peace loving Palestinian people (who celebrated the deaths of the Israeli soldiers). However, this agitation has not resulted in any public censure of Israel. That advantage would be lost if the IDF were to remain stationed in the West Bank. As Yisraeli himself notes, the Qassam rockets were launched when the IDF was still in Gaza. Moreover, if the real motivation for the pullout is the cost of defense, the problem will be ameliorated but not solved by removing the settlements and leaving the IDF.
As I wrote, every other day I have a different opinion about the "realignment" (consolidation, disengagement) program of PM Ehud Olmert.
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Replies: 2 Comments
Out of Gaza = let Egypt deal with Hamas=Muslim Brotherhood. They know how and what to do.
Out of the W. Bank = Let K. Abdullah deal with Hamas, Palestinians, etc. He is married to a Palestinian, a marriage not made in a vacuum.
SHULAMIT, Tuesday, July 11th
Broad Defensible borders is the overiding concern.
naftali, Tuesday, July 11th
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