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Friday, April 01, 2005

Everyone knows disengagement won't help, no one wants to stop it

Yediot Acharonot (Hebrew) reports:
Right after the Gaza disengagement, according to military assessments, the cessation of terrorist attacks will end.
The theater of operations will be Judea and Samaria.
The threat will entail attacks on major roads, military camps, and settlements.
The main threat will come from mortar and Kassam rocket attacks on Route 6 (Trans-Israel Highway) and on the cities of the coastal plain.
The terrorist organizations have started to order rockets, while Israeli security services unite in an attempt to block the smuggling.
Meanwhile, Ha'aretz reports that the Great White Holocaust-Denying Hope is losing power by the day:
Abbas' ongoing conflict with his prime minister, Ahmed Qureia - first over the composition of the cabinet, and recently over Qureia's aggressive statements against coordinating the disengagement from Gaza with Israel - show that contempt for Abbas' authority has even reached the ranks of the PA.

On Wednesday night, the PA security services did conduct patrols of Ramallah, on Abbas' orders, but they refrained from clashing with or arresting the armed men - and yesterday, the PA agreed that these men would also not be arrested or interfered with in the future. When some of these men later strode boldly through the Muqata's front door, no one laid a finger on them.

Almost three months after taking office, it has become clear that Abbas' influence over the armed men, the security services and the leaders of Fatah's institutions is virtually nonexistent. The gap between his exalted international standing and his ability to impose his authority at home is growing, and it is not clear what will remain of his promises to reform the PA and provide personal security to ordinary Palestinians.
And ABC points out that Abbas' tough words don't even last a day:
Palestinian officials Thursday backed away from a pledge to crack down on gunmen who shot up Mahmoud Abbas' office building, underlining the difficulties authorities face in restoring order in the chaotic West Bank.

The Palestinian leader was in the building but unhurt in the gunfire late Wednesday. He ordered his forces to go after the gunmen, who security officials said had "crossed a red line" by attacking the seat of government. But in the light of day, officials adopted a conciliatory line, and one even admitted they feared coming under armed attack themselves.

Under a compromise, the gunmen will be allowed to rejoin their former units in the security forces.

That "red line" sure moves quick in Ramallah.

So it appears that Israel and the US are relying on a weak, lying terror-supporting weasel to enforce his worthless agreements. It appears that Hamas will (or has) taken over Gaza completely, and has plans to take over the PLO, so the homes built by Israelis who sacrificed so much to build on uninhabited land will end up being used by those who are sworn to kill them.

Is there any advantage to "disengagement"? In real terms, it is unclear. Israel is certainly gaining diplomatically in trying to better relations with other Arab countries. It does not appear to be treated any better in the European press, ironically. But most of the advantages are vapor - Israel is hoping that it will have a stronger hold on the West Bank communities, Israel is hoping that major attacks stay low for a few months after disengagement (no one is realistically thinking that the violence will not return within a couple of years), Israel is hoping that Egypt will help stop smuggling of weapons into Gaza, Israel is hoping that Kassam rockets won't pour into Negev towns, Israel is hoping that Palestinians will reduce their endemic hatred of having Jews owning land in the Middle East.

And the downside of giving in to terror is significant.

Sounds a lot like Oslo, when Israel placed its trust in Arafat. And even then, Israel promised its citizens that if Arafat wouldn't live up to his agreements then Israel would re-occupy. In exchange for empty promises, Israel ended up giving up its legal claim to the territories, implicitly agreeing with the world's assessment of Israel as land thief, not as a legitimate claimant to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. And then as now, Israel trusted an American president (who is personally very fond of the Jewish state) to look out for her interests and back her up if she has to defend herself.

But in a world of geopolitics, it is a bit naive to put your faith in personalities rather than clear, enforceable, bilateral agreements in which the penalty for non-compliance is clear and agreed as well.

It does appear that the current Israeli government has not learned the lessons of Oslo well enough. It does not take a prophet to predict that disaster is looming; all we can hope at this point is that it is only a small disaster or that a miracle occurs.