2004 February 04 Wednesday
Ariel Sharon Supports Evacuation Of All Gaza Settlements
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is making serious statements about evacuating Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Sources close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would present U.S. President George W. Bush with a detailed list and timetable for the planned removal of 17 Gaza Strip settlements, Army Radio reported. Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the evacuation will commence this summer. 59% of the Israeli public supports the Gaza evacuation, a poll stated. Right-wing Knesset members vowed to bring Sharon down.
Exiting from the Gaza Strip settlements is an important step in the direction of more thoroughly separating the Israeli Jews from the Palestinians. It has to be done. The two groups need to be separated by clearly marked and well defended boundaries.
Sharon is faced with the very real possibility that he may shorly be prosecuted as a result of a scandal investigation (see here, here and here for some details). Therefore it is not clear that Sharon will stay in office long enough to oversee the evacuation of the Gaza settlements.
The three year stalemate brought Sharon to a point in which the political move seems to clash with the personal, legal issue. Whatever he does or says now will raise suspicion of ulterior motives, of trying to sway the attorney general. One minister said yesterday that Sharon wants to impress on the attorney general that if he indicts him, Mazuz will not only be removing a prime minister from office but cutting short a historic move supported by most of the public.
It doesn't sound like Sharon has reached a final decision to evacuate all Gaza settlements and only Gaza settlements. One plan includes evacuation of some remote West Bank settlements.
Israel Radio said the settlements earmarked for evacuation were Ganim, Kadim, Sanur and Homesh in the West Bank, and Netzarim, Kfar Darom and Morag in the Gaza Strip.
All seven settlements are small and isolated and frequent targets of Palestinian attacks. The most prominent is Netzarim, a heavily fortified enclave southwest of Gaza City.
The remote settlements are just plain dumb. The cost in lives and money in defending them brings no security benefit to Israel.
Some settlers want to be evacuated so that they can be paid to escape from places they already want to leave.
Mevo Dotan Chairwoman Yael Ben Yakov, a founding member, remembers when Sharon visited in 1991 to christen one of the settlement's neighborhoods. "He said settlements were not an obstacle to peace, but an obstacle to war." But last month Sharon said that he's willing to abandon isolated settlements that are costly to defend—an accurate description of Mevo Dotan and a handful of other settlements in the northern West Bank.
"I'm waiting for it," says Eilat Amram, a 34-year-old mother of four. She and other residents say they are trapped. They can't afford to rent an apartment in Israel while paying off the mortgage on a now worthless piece of real estate. Only government-initiated evacuation would allow them to leave, because they would likely receive financial compensation.
Some types of settlers will not forceably oppose evacuation even if they want to stay.
On the other hand, if indeed this not a political spin and Sharon seriously wishes a nonviolent evacuation, these settlers are relatively easy to deal with. Unlike Yitzhar, Itamar, Kiryat Arba, Tapuah and other West Bank settlements, in which some residents - not only a handful of errant hilltop youths - express alienation toward the state, Katif residents adhere to the traditional, statesmanlike religious-national concept and will not fight the state.
There are few settlers in Gaza and that makes evacuation easier than is the case with the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post, free reg. req'd)
The story broke when Sharon said in an off-the-record briefing with a Haaretz columnist that he had given an order to plan for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the Gaza Strip. He said in the briefing, the publication of which angered Sharon, that some 7,500 residents of Gaza settlements would have to leave their homes.
Sharon may try to form a national unity government between some members of his Likud party and the Labor party so that the settlements supporters in his current ruling coalition will not be able to block the move.
Israel needs fences and walls separating it from the Palestinian territories. Putting all the Israeli Jews on one side of barriers that are capable of keeping out the bulk of the terrorists would greatly reduce the casualty rate from terrorist attacks. It would also put the Palestinians in a position of being more clearly ruled by themselves and responsible for what happens in the territories and it would make it harder for the Palestinians to portray themselves as victims. So Israel would gain because it would not be as easy for the Arabs to portrary as the colonial oppressor.
>[Removal of Gaza settlements] would make it harder for the Palestinians to portray themselves as victims. So Israel would gain because it would not be as easy for the Arabs to portray as the colonial oppressor.
I agree with your sensible commentary on this issue (agree -> sensible or the other way round?). Except for that last bit, which strikes me as wishful thinking. Rain or shine, Israel is the Oppressor and Palestine the Victim for the Arab world, the wider Muslim world, most of Europe, and the American left. Changed facts will lead to moved goalposts, not to changed perceptions. Israel should act in its interest and in ways that reduce its conflicts with Palestinians and Arabs, without regard to any illusory P.R. advantages.
I think there is an inherent contradiction in your last sentence. "Israel should act in its interest and in ways that reduce its conflicts with Palestinians and Arabs, without regard to any illusory P.R. advantages." Acting in its own long-term interests will intensify its conflicts with the Palestinians and the Arabs, not reduce them. The Palestinians are committed to a strategic goal of destroying the State of Israel. The Arab states that surround Israel share this goal and have attacked Israel multiple times. They also continue to support the Palestinians and related Islamic militant groups such as Hezbollah in their attacks on Israel.
Israel needs to accept the reality of long-term enmity with the Palestinians and the Arab nations. Long-term, Israel should:
1) Destroy and/or remove the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
2) Annex secure, geographically defensible borders along the Jordan River and the Golan Heights.
3) Fortify all of its borders.
4) Develop the West Bank and Gaza.
5) Explain to the neighboring Arab nations that this process will be repeated as necessary until the Arabs learn to leave Israel alone.
Short term, Israel should:
1) Respond to every terrorist attack by annexing several Palestinian villages or towns and driving out the inhabitants.
2) Secure these "salami slice" annexations by extending the fence/wall to enclose them.
3) Remove small, vulnerable Israeli settlements that are not on strategic ground.
4) Relentlessly attack the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Fatah, and any other Palestinian or militant Islamic group that targets Israel.
5) Convince America's political leadership to agree to, or at least accept, the large-scale destruction and/or removal of the Palestinians.
Israel has tried negotiating with the Palestinians and the Islamic militants. They have responded with a strategy of genocide on the retail installment plan. It's time for Israel to reply in kind on a much larger scale.
Do you really suggest genocide on a grand scale? That's what I am reading from your last sentence.
From what I understand (American Jews I've known; reading Ha'aretz and the J. Post on the web), your views would put you way at the edge of the spectrum of Israeli opinion. I think it's a good thing that the Israeli democracy is trying to find a way to live, in the long run, in peace, cold or warm, with most or all of its neighbors. My crystal ball doesn't see out 10 years, much less 20 or 50, but I'd wager we could guess what sort of landscape your points 1 through 4 would produce, and it wouln't be pretty.
>5) Convince America's political leadership to agree to, or at least accept, the large-scale destruction and/or removal of the Palestinians.
Fortunately, that isn't going to happen.
I think is absurd saying that the palestinians are the terrorists, because the first people to be terrorists are Sharon and the zionist. Israel wants to look nice in front of the all world saying that they are the only ''Democratic'' country in the Middle East and that they really want the peace and a Palestinien state.. all Bullshit!! They kill so many civilians every day and torture children, women and old people without even respect the 4th convention of Ginevra. The torture in Iraq is nothing respect what has being going on for ages in Palestine.
So i really think that Israel should leave in Peace the Palestiniens, stop provocking them..
Withdraw all the settlers from Gaza and West Bank and leave it , as the least Israel could do, to the Palestiniens.
Only like this i recogn there wont be anymore attaks from the palestiniens.
Love calls love, Hatred calls Hatred, blood calls blood but peace calls peace!
You are about three months late for this discussion. Well, better late than never.
Israel should destroy or remove the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza for the following reasons:
1) The long-term goal of all the major Palestinian factions is the destruction of the State of Israel. This includes the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and Islamic Jihad. It also includes all of the Islamic religious establishment and most of the Palestinian academic community. There are a few Palestinian moderates who would make genuine peace with Israel but they have little popular support and no real power. When an enemy says he is going to kill you, the best course of action is to kill him before he attempts to kill you.
2) The Palestinians have repeatedly demonstrated that they are dishonorable enemies who cannot be trusted to abide by any agreement and will not control the terrorist organizations within their population. All of the major Palestinian institutions support "martyrdom operations" against the Israeli civilian population. The general population provides a steady stream of recruits for these suicide bomber attacks and other attacks on Israeli civilians. Just this weekend, Palestinian militants shot and killed a pregnant Israeli woman in her car and then walked up to the car and shot all four of her children. The idea that Israel should trust savages to make a genuine peace is ludicrous.
3) There is only room for one strategically viable nation-state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel has won the right to be that state by its victories in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1981. The Palestinians have forfeited their right to be that state by being on the losing side every time. The winners dictate the terms of peace agreements, not the losers. Losers that refuse to accept the peace terms may be destroyed by the winners.
4) Arabs respect only strength and ruthlessness. The Barak government's extremely generous peace offer of 95% of the West Bank and Gaza at the end of 2000 was interpreted as a sign of Israeli weakness, not a "best and final offer" to a defeated foe. The Palestinians launched the second Intifadeh in 2001 with wave after wave of suicide bomber attacks to force the Barak government to make additional concessions. Any additional attempts at peacemaking through concessions to the Palestinians will also be interpreted as Israeli weakness.
5) The Palestinian's asymmetric warfare strategy deliberately exploits Israel's exaggerated sense of morality to negate Israel's military superiority. Palestinians use their own civilian population as a sanctuary from which they launch attacks on the Israeli civilian population and the Israeli military. Israel's counter-terrorist strategy of precision attacks on terrorist leaders is only effective on a short-term basis. As the deputy chief of Mossad said, "Killing the terrorist leaders is like mowing the grass, there's always a new crop of leaders to replace the old ones."
6) Israel should restore symmetry to the struggle with the Palestinians by massive attacks on the Palestinian population that shelters and supports the Palestinian militants. This would destroy the sanctuaries the terrorists operate from and drive the surviving Palestinian population out of the West Bank and Gaza. Without their sanctuaries, the surviving Palestinian militants would be easy to kill and there would be very few replacements. This strategy would also force the Palestinian civilian population to face the real costs of an all-out war with Israel. So far, Israel has not made them choose between acceptance of defeat or death. Israel has the military power to do this. It just needs the will to do it. (Or, it may need approval from the United States).
7) The strategy I advocate for Israel is the Jacksonian war fighting strategy of the United States when fighting dishonorable opponents. (See Walter Russell Meade's book, A Special Providence, for a description of the four major schools of American foreign policy theory and related military strategy and tactics). The key points in this context are: a) The relentless use of all possible military power against an enemy's military forces and supporting civilian infrastructure until the enemy submits unconditionally or is destroyed; b) Strict adherence to the Western war fighting code when fighting honorable opponents. Honorable opponents generally follow the tenets of the Western war fighting code and are entitled to its protections. c) Absolutely un-restricted warfare against dishonorable opponents. Dishonorable opponents deliberately violate the Western war fighting code and are not entitled to any of its protections. If your enemy wants a dirty war, you give them a dirty war with all the power and ruthless ingenuity at your command.
This style of warfare is devastatingly effective. It maximizes the combat power of strong nations versus weaker opponents. It forces any opponent, even a true-peer competitor, to stress its society to the limit with full mobilization. It confronts enemy civilians with direct consequences for supporting their nation's foreign policy. And, it completely removes any advantages an opponent may attempt to gain by a policy of ruthlessness or terrorism.
If the Palestinians were waging a terror war on the United States like the one they are waging on Israel, we would wage an all-out, unrestricted Jacksonian war on the Palestinians. We would annihilate them for their deliberate attacks on our civilian population. The rage and ferocity generated in the American public by the September 11th terror attacks is just a small glimmer of the rage and ferocity that would be generated by repeated terrorist attacks. Since I support this policy for the United States, I believe it is only fair to support it for our ally, Israel. When combating ruthless enemies, the only effective strategy is equal or greater ruthlessness.