May 18, 2005

Disengagement: Is the Pain Worth the Gain?

Most of us on the Right doubt there can ever be any real peace with the Palestinians so long as their miserable plight suits the needs of the regional Ayatollahs and Sheikhs. They need to maintain Israel’s image as an external threat to divert the attention of their own citizens from domestic issues such as education, housing, government corruption and the gross misappropriation of the national oil wealth. Add to that human rights, women's rights and the simple democratic freedoms that regional Arabs enjoy only in Israel. Demonisation of Israel is the opiate of the Arab masses.

So you may ask: does Sharon not see this? Does he really expect the PA to turn Gaza into a peaceful state of Palestine? The answer is most assuredly no. Having fought them in so many battles, few people have a better understanding of the Arab psyche than Ariel Sharon. Just as in war, he expects them to follow their natural instincts: killing and corruption. He is betting that Gaza will quickly descend into a lawless jungle and, soon afterward, a terrorist state.

Sharon may then expect to turn round to the Road Map Quartet and ask: “Is this who you expect us to make peace with?” The US may well sympathise and agree to halt the Road Map pending democratisation. But the EU will surely disagree. They will expect Israel to do whatever it takes to appease their burgeoning Muslim electorates and thereby keep the bombers and hijackers out of their backyards.

As always, Sharon will expect the Americans to prevail. Knowing that “Arabs don’t do democracy” he expects not to have to make any further territorial concessions and to thereby retain the major settlement blocs of Judea and Samaria. On the face of it, this seems a pretty good strategy and a fair gamble for the prize of retaining Judea and Samaria. And the signs of Gaza’s degeneration are already there. There is a marked increase in the smuggling of arms and rockets, and instead of disarming the terror groups, a frightened Mahmoud Abbas has invited them to relocate to a newly liberated Gaza.

We would hardly have second-guessed Sharon The General about his strategy of crossing the Suez canal and encircling the Egyptian 3rd army. But where it concerns the eviction of 10,000 Jews from their homes we do ask Sharon The Prime Minister: is it really necessary to inflict this kind of pain upon our people? We have grieved at the sight of Arabs dancing on the charred tomb of Joseph in Shechem: must we again see them desecrating the graves of Gush Katif? We have seen the killers of our precious children rewarded in cash by Saddam Hussein: must we witness these murderers basking on the patios of their victims’ homes?

The quartet knows who and what these people are. The Americans have no better proof than what they are now experiencing in Iraq. We should not have to tear our own people apart proving it to them.
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