ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Lose – Lose in Gaza? 9.5.04

Lose – Lose in Gaza?

09 May 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

There is the veneer of a terrorist victory brewing in the Gaza Strip with Israel seemingly in a “lose – lose” situation, especially after six soldiers were killed Tuesday morning, with their dismembered body parts still being held for ransom. Disengaging and removing settlements from Gaza will be heralded as a terrorist victory, while continuing the Israeli presence only furthers the Palestinian aim of bogging down thousands of soldiers attempting to ensure the safety of 7,500 Jews in a sea of 1.3 million Arabs. The army is dealing with interwoven, convoluted lines, an exposed road system and lack of personnel. Just last week the Hatuel family was murdered by terrorists on the Kissufim access to Gush Katif and Sunday’s memorial ceremony was set upon by another terror attack. One must remember, the ultimate Palestinian aim is to force Israel into a bi-national state.

Likud disengagement opponents are busy contradicting themselves and painting themselves (and the State of Israel) into a corner. Ministers Uzi Landau and Yisrael Katz speak of eventually making concessions (leaving Gaza and removing settlements) only in agreement with the Palestinians and after terrorism is defeated. However, former defense and foreign minister Moshe Arens says there is no reason to disengage when Israel has gotten the upper hand battling terror. The opponents are using every tactical argument to achieve the strategic end of not leaving Gaza, which is the exact same result Yasir Arafat, the Hamas, Jihad, Tanzim and El Aksa Brigade terrorists desire. The disengagement opponents are playing for right wing political support today, at the expense of a democratic, Jewish state tomorrow.

Only Katif resident MK Tzvi Hendel makes a clear argument as to Jewish historic and religious rights to Gaza as spelled out in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures). Hendel’s perspective is Messianic and has a logic of its own, but states and governments cannot depend on heavenly intervention for policy implementation.

Absurdly, Landau and Katz point out the lack of a negotiating partner on the Palestinian side, thereby allowing Palestinian anarchy to dictate continued Israeli military, political and demographic entanglement in Gaza. Abdicating an activist policy in favor of a static one, they are handing Arafat “card blanche” to determine Israel’s future.

Gaza disengagement leaves Israel with a defeat in declarative, journalistic terms. The Right will accuse the government of weakness and betrayal. But the terror victory will prove short lived and devoid of substance as ground and air forays against terrorism will continue.

Tactics should not be allowed to determine strategic goals. Arafat & Co. are in a “win – win” situation only if they can paralyze all Israeli initiatives. Unilateral moves taken in the interest of the Jewish state are diametrically opposed to everything Arafat represents. The “no partner” excuse plays directly into his hands.

Placing the wrong emphasis on short-term appearances, the Israel Right is falling into the Arafat trap of demographic entanglement as part of the response to defeat terrorism. Even the Right knows Israel must disentangle and crush terrorism simultaneously. The time has come to admit reality and “win” on both fronts.