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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Unilateral Withdrawal: A Security Error of Historical Magnitude

This is a long article by Yaakov Amidror analyzing the security ramifications of a unilateral Gaza withdrawal. Here is the conclusion:

The proposed unilateral withdrawal contains a strategic, diplomatic, and military risk that has been described concisely by senior defense officials as 'backing for terror.' This expression has not merely a literal meaning, i.e., rockets being fired against Ashkelon, but also a broader, deeper one, of historic surrender to the wave of Islamic terror and words of encouragement to the terrorists in the vein of 'continue on your successful path.' Spain fled from Iraq because of terror in Madrid, and the Israelis will be regarded as fleeing from Gaza for the same reason.

That which we found easy to analyze and condemn regarding Spain, we prefer not to understand in the Palestinian context. Flight from terror, even if it is called 'unilateral withdrawal,' remains flight, and its results will be disastrous. Israel must remain where it is and make difficult, courageous decisions regarding regaining control of additional areas in the Gaza Strip in order to remove the capability of firing at Sderot. This is part of the IDF mandate.

If and when there will be someone to talk to on the other side, removal of settlements and the IDF presence can form bargaining chips in negotiations. The Israeli government, however, has played its cards without receiving anything in return, and therefore can only expect to experience more terror. This was explained better than anyone else by Prime Minister Sharon years ago when as an ordinary Knesset member he appeared at the Likud Central Committee and said, 'Labor wants to hand over the Gaza Strip, and even among us there are people who voice similar opinions . . . The Jews have apparently forgotten why we liberated it twice, in 1956 and 1967, from the Egyptian occupier (which followed a previous attempt to do so at the end of the War of Independence that nearly succeeded). Why did we pay the price three times? Because the Gaza Strip threatened us when it was not in our hands. What is proposed is to abandon the security of Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat, Sderot, Netivot, and dozens of kibbutzim and cooperative communities."

At the time Sharon made an excellent analysis of the tactical danger resulting from the disengagement. The current strategic danger is even greater.