Things are a little nutty in our little land. I mean step back for a sec. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, one of the guys most loathed by the Israeli left is actually going to implement a unilateral pullout of Israeli forces and population from the Gaza strip. This is the guy who became a war hero in the Six Day War by decidedly not following orders, who launched retaliatory assaults against Arab villages, who was the architect of the war in Lebanon, who was blamed for the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, who was the staunchest supporter of the settler movement etc. Now he is the darling of the left and hated by the self same settler movement that he basically invented.
What the hell is going on?
Let’s recall the last disengagement for a moment. When Israel in 1982 evacuated the city of Yamit prior to returning the Sinai to Egypt, there was a vocal movement at that time opposing the treaty with Egypt as well. However, the vast majority of the residents of Yamit agreed to leave their homes, were duly compensated and left prior to the final evacuation. When the day of the final showdown happened, the only visible opponents were outsider activists. However, despite the fact that nearly half the settlers in Yesha are willing to leave under the terms of the disengagement plan (800 out of 1,700), their departure is not being expedited. The hardcore actually only represents about 300 families. Why is Sharon not evacuating everyone else? Hmmm.
Another interesting fact is that even the most hard core settler has said that they would acquiesce to the will of the nation if a referendum is held. The surveys pretty clearly indicate that such a referendum would support disengagement. By a lot. Even in the aftermath of the recent Tel Aviv suicide bombing, support for disengagement was at 66%. And yet Sharon does not want a referendum. This despite the possibility that it might spare the nation some severe psychic drama. It’s as if ….
It’s as if he wants the disengagement to be painful. It’s as if he wants the nation to see images on the TVs of families being forcibly pulled from their homes – men, women and children fighting, crying, screaming. He wants them to feel pain, and he wants you and the world to see and feel their pain. Clearly it has been decided that Gaza is a strategic liability. Gaza is in fact a total shit hole, and a demographic time bomb.
But why is Gaza being sacrificed in such a painful manner? Because the real fight will be over the West Bank. Unlike Gaza, the West Bank is in fact firmly part of Biblical Israel. Sites of importance to Jews are everywhere, a significant settler population lives there and it still represents land that is of great strategic value.
I think the hope is that by subjecting the nation to the trauma of a difficult disengagement, support for less territorial compromise in the future will be achieved. I mean do you really think the guy that sent all those people there in the first place really wants to completely eviscerate decades of effort for the sake of a tenuous peace with an enemy who can only be relied upon to be unreliable? To be sure, the Palestinians will be allowed to keep their major population centers – meaning basically everything on the wrong side of the fence. But the hope is that everything on the right side of the fence will remain under Israeli control.
And what the hell! Let’s do it unilaterally again. You know you can’t trust the PA to be able to live up to anything they sign anyway so why even bother with long and complicated negotiations. Just do it. That crafty Sharon … he’s about to subject the nation to a serious butt whupping, but then at the end of it all, the most important parts of the West Bank will be firmly under Israeli control, the nation will be united by that decision and the nations of the world will not likely wish to unduly revisit upon Israel another painful evacuation.