Thursday, August 11, 2005


With the Gaza Disengagement rapidly approaching I find myself struggling to form an opinion. I don't buy into the argument that, as someone not living in Israel, I shouldn't have an opinion or should keep it to myself. If there's interest I'll explain why later.

Pro Disengagement
The demographic angle merits strong consideration, and is the most persuasive to me. At some future point the Palestinians may stop demanding a two state solution and ask for a one state solution, with themselves as full citizens. Once that happens the Jewish majority would rapdily evaporate. For that reason alone it makes sense to keep the Palestinians away from Israel. Since transfer is not a viable option (for a number of reasons) the alternative is to pull out.

The thousands of soldiers deployed to protect the settlements could be used for other duties. Its much harder to protect a wall and a few checkpoints than it is to protect settlements around the clock.

Despite not being a security expert, I don't believe the situation will change much if Israel withdraws. If they want to they can send the tanks and helicopters back in. If the Palestinians launch rockets, well, they do that now anyway.

One (cold hearted) argument against withdrawal is that the settlers in Gaza are acting as a buffer. Instead of rockets raining down elsewhere, they fall in Gaza (similar to creating a place in Iraq for terrorists to go, and dispatching them before they can do harm elsewhere). The 8,500 in Gaza are the bait for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to focus on.

Another is that its being done unilaterally, we're not getting anything from the Palestinians. But what can we really get from them? A promise to end attacks? To change their textbooks? Shut down camps where they train children to kill Israelis? We were promised that in Oslo.
In fact, my father's solution is to unilaterally cut off from them. Build a wall, in the West Bank and Gaza. Tell the Palestinians that they can't come into Israel. We hate you, you hate us. In 50 years we can sit down and talk, but for now, you're on your own.

The democratic argument is phooey too. Whether or not a majority of Israelis support the disengagement, Sharon was elected to lead the country. In America you can only remove the President through impeachment. In Israel the premier can be removed every day with a no confidence motion. If the people were that upset over it they could bring enough pressure to topple the government. All that aside, I'm pretty sure the majority of Israelis support Sharon's plan, even if they don't voice it.

Something within me cringes at the idea of uprooting people against their will. I'm not sure why, but its not because the settlers are mostly religious. It bothers me enough that I still can't say whether I support the plan or not. All I do know is that next week will be a very hard week. Tisha B'av notwithstanding.