Monday, June 04, 2007


Now, I'm in Favor of Disengagement

In contrast to Ezra Halevi's article "Public Figures Express Regret For Disengagement," I would like to now finally come out of the closet and very strongly advocate "disengagement," the uprooting of settlements in Gaza.

The arguments in favor of "disengagement" in Gaza are clear; they have been stated already many times by Israeli leaders and other left-wing thinkers.

Announcing the "disengagement" in 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said:

"The purpose of the Disengagement Plan is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security. The process of disengagement will lead to an improvement in the quality of life, and will help strengthen the Israeli economy."

Mark Heller, from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, wrote that "the strongest argument in favor of unilateral disengagement has been that since there is no partner for negotiations, either on permanent status issues or even on the Road Map, there is no reason for Israel to condition its actions on a negotiated agreement, which would essentially mean doing nothing."

Dov Weissglas, Sharon's right-hand man and chief of staff for promoting "disengagement," said the following in an October 2004 interview with Haaretz newspaper:

"The significance of the Disengagement Plan is the freezing of the peace process.... When you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Disengagement supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."

Another three arguments in favor of "disengagement" were: 1) Israel cannot rule over the Arabs forever; 2) Arabs may in time outnumber Israelis and demand the right to vote; and 3) it is not worth the expenditures of the army in the Gaza region.

Also, "there will be a million Palestinians spared that daily, grinding friction in their lives," said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Gerald Steinberg noted that "disengagement" would "minimize vulnerability to another and potentially more deadly terror campaign."

For all of the above reasons, and more, I hereby strongly advocate the uprooting of the settlements in Gaza. With "determination and sensitivity," all the existing settlements - from Rafiach to Khan Younis, from Deir El-Balah to Gaza City, and on to Bait Lahiya and Beit Hanoun (especially Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun) - must be uprooted immediately.

Yes, you know - "painful concessions", "sacrifices for peace" and all that.

We tried uprooting Jewish settlements for the sake of peace. As anyone in Sderot can testify, that didn't work out so well. So, why not try uprooting Arab settlements for the sake of peace? I have a feeling that will work out much better. And if it doesn't, well, what the heck, I can always write a contrite op-ed somewhere a year or two later....

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