Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I am very ambivalent about the Gaza pullout. Unlike Ralphie, I don't have a clear opinion about it. Here are arguments against it:
* As Ralphie said, it will be sold to the Arab world by the Arab media as a retreat under fire, and therefore as a show of weakness. That is never seen as generosity; it is always seen as an invitation to more violence.
* It leaves behind a more-or-less autonomous group that has never demonstrated its ability to build infrastructure, govern itself reasonably, or in general behave any better than swarms of loosely organized armed thugs and terrified impoverished brain-washed civilians. Without Israeli supervision, they will be able to import arms and funnel all their resources on planning and executing attacks on Israel proper. The wall separating Gaza from Israel would be only a temporary deterrent. The argument that "well if they attack across the wall then Israel could really go in and wipe them out" makes no sense. An attack on Gaza would certainly be harder after withdrawal then now, since then Israel will have lost much of its local intelligence sources. And if they did attack, then what? Re-occupation? More targeted killings? How is that better than the current situation?
* The current plan is that after Israeli withdrawal, responsibility for "security" be taken up by Egypt! Bwaaaaahaaaahaaaaaheeeehe! Ahem. Sorry. 'nuff said.
Here are arguments for it:
* The only other alternative other than occupation without end is forced deportations, which no one (yet) on the Israeli political spectrum except the very far right is willing to seriously consider.
* Sharon deserves trust if only because of the tremendous success he has had in pulling Israel from the brink in the wake of Oslo and because of the heat he is taking from the right for this. Just as Blair is courageous for alienating his own (liberal Labor) party in steadfastly fighting in Iraq, Sharon should receive some slack when alienating Likud for what he thinks is the best for Israel.
* I'm not an Israeli; I'm an American. Israel is a democracy. Its Prime Minister and parliament just decided on a difficult course of action. Since I don't vote or pay taxes there, my role should be not to second guess and criticize, but to pray it goes well.
It could go ugly. Lots of Jewish Gaza residents have vowed to stay in their homes, some with the unfortunate support of their Rabbis. Many of them are armed. The thought of IDF soldiers shooting or being shot at by other Jewish Israelis sickens me. Let's pray cooler heads prevail.