Crafty Ariel SharonThings 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.


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Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • It’s occured to me before…I really hope you’re right. I suppose we’ll see.

    Shabbat shalom.

  • Correct.

    On the other hand…even Sharon can’t control where history will take Israel. Pay attention to the Security Barrier. If it is built and completed, then I think your analysis is flawed. If it remains unfinished, I don’t believe the status quo can be maintained indefinitely and he must know this.

  • Muffti thinks this is awfully speculative on all fronts. For one thing, at least as far as the referendum goes, there are pretty clear reasons why not to have one. If your figures are right, for instance, its a total waste of time and money. Furthermore, as far as Muffti can tell, the plan has garnered little sympathy for the settlers and a lot of support for Israel in taking a hard line towards them.

    Nonetheless, interesting speculating all the same.

  • Lovely, just lovely.
    Thank for asking.

    Ehud Barak is quoted on Friday morning as saying that he thinks the expulsion can be done in 5-6 days tops if…are you ready…the whole country is put under martial law to minimize movement of the threatened mass resistance. He suggested (apparently advised politicians and generals too) that it is possible if everyone is warned to stock up on food ahead of time then job can be finished by Friday morning and not let one shabbat go by.
    I’ll give him that. We would assume that the expulsion will take a break on shabbos (though we already have several precedents of army tearing down outposts on shabbos). If not, then people calling soldiers nazis will be justified (if that law is not passed by then) and Sharon will have truly torn the country in half.

    Just wonderful.

    As for Muftis specualtion and satisfaction that placating the world is better than caring about a few settlers, well he (I suppose it’s only fair for me to relate to him in the third person as well right? Is there a netiquette guide to Jewlicious?) should know that the settlers, and the settlement ‘movement’ are supported by virtually all religious people including the ultra-orthodox as ‘others’ as well. Don’t believe the hype. When the media dismisses protests and road blockings as far-right extremists, then at least you guys should know that these hundreds of people and children are ‘regular’ Israelis and settlers, acting on their own and not through some far-right organization.

  • I think ther is an inside man in the Israeli defense who is advocating for the left and threatening Sharon with his and his family’s own personal safety. Corruption is a possibility.

  • Muffti: Well you don’t have to be a brainiac to realize that what I am saying isn’t really that speculative.It’s come to light recently that Israel is planning on adding 3,500 homes to Maale Adumim, a “settlement” east of Jerusalem.This pissed off Condoleeza Rice. This despite the fact that such an expansion is just at the planning stages and is years away from being implemented. The US has got to get it’s shit together though – clarifying some confusing comments that had earlier been attributed to him, US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer stated that President Bush supports Israel’s retention of major population centers and that the notion of a settlement freeze can include “natural growth” and building within existing boundaries of settlements.

    Sharon himself has justified the Gaza disengagement by noting US support of Israel’s retention of its main settlement blocs. Education Minister Limor Livnat said on Friday that she would not have supported disengagement from Gaza without Bush’s commitments on the West Bank settlement Blocs.Rice just has to get with the program I suppose.

    There’s no doubt, at least not in my mind, that Sharon does not plan on withdrawing from Maale Adumim, or Ariel, or Gush Etzion, let alone East Jerusalem.The plan seems to imply that a demand for a return to pre-1967 borders is a non-starter. The Palestinians will never willingly accept that of course, but in a unilateral withdrawal, who cares? Here’s your land, you are no longer stateless, have fun! Once the Palestinians have a state, who’s going to care about a few kilometers here and a few kilometers there? What’s important is that Israel will retain strategically important parts of the West Bank and will have effectively defused the vast majority of claims made on Palestinians’ behalf.

    I told you, the fat man is crafty!

  • He was never planning to vacate Maaleh Adumim, and neither was Ehud Barak. He is not planning to vacate Gish Etzion and neither was Barak. Ariel is a question mark but he’ll try hard to keep it. However, keeping the other two still means that he can evacuate over 90% of the West Bank.

  • Don’t knock yourselves out over who can kid themselves more. Your arguments are exactly what’s wrong with our national direction. We argue/discuss between ourselves and ignore the other parties that are related (the US, the world, and the Palestinian arabs)

    Ariel, Maaleh Adumim, and gush Etzion are all expendible if they become ‘obstacles to peace’.

    There are no ‘understandings’. Even Ehud Barak reiterated this on Israeli radio this morning. If there is one thing that the Americans can be depended upon is that they are very, very precise in their official policy statements. Bush can say anything he wants at a press conference (like he did last year), but unless that then officially becomes policy, it doesn’t exist (like Powell cleared up the following day and Kurtzer leaked Friday morning.)

    BTW, Sharon was never planning on leaving Netzarim.

  • Ther will never be peace in israel as the bible says things will just get worse. The literal israel is not going by the bible so they need not expect there enemys to