Too Many Cooks in Gaza

Too Many Cooks in Gaza
Vol: 33 Issue: 11 Friday, June 11, 2004

It was a straightforward, uncomplicated, if controversial plan. Since Israel has nobody credible with which to negotiate peace, Ariel Sharon decided to deprive the terrorists of some targets in the Gaza Strip.

At the heart of the controversy in Israel over the Gaza Withdrawal Plan is that it appears to many to be a surrender to the terrorists. Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, said that pulling out of Gaza is a sign that the “terrorists” have won.

“It seems to me that Sharon’s proposal to unilaterally give land to Palestinians and throw Jews out of their homes in fact reinforces Arafat’s terror campaign and shows (that) terrorist campaigns work,” said Klein.

“The only choice (is) to give land away for nothing?” he continued. “It seems to me if you have to make unilateral decisions because you have no partner … you don’t decide to give land to terrorist regime but take land back (to) send a message.”

One can’t dispute one thing. Israel IS giving something to the Palestinians and getting nothing in return. It is uprooting some 7,500 Jews living in Gaza, and has already begun encouraging Jews to leave.

It is Israel that will have to buy these cities back from their Jewish inhabitants, at fair market prices, only to turn them over, gratis, to their Palestinian enemies.

But it has some saving graces, Sharon argued. Sharon first announced his “disengagement” scheme last December. He issued a warning the Palestinian Authority that Israel would increasingly cut them out of the picture unless they began implementing signed peace agreements.

In March, Sharon announced that, by unilaterally creating facts on the ground in line with Israel’s needs, the “Palestinians” would realize there was a price to pay for their non-compliance.

The Palestinian Authority, using typical Middle Eastern logic, immediately condemned Israel’s Gaza withdrawal as a “land grab.” It complained that Sharon is trying to trade Gaza for effective annexation of large chunks of the West Bank.

In Washington, Sharon adviser Zalman Shoval said the houses at the settlements would be destroyed, but the public buildings would remain. He told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a private research group, that many Israelis did not want to see Palestinian flags flying from homes once occupied by Israeli Jews.

Shoval also called it a form of ‘Prozac’ for the displaced settlers. He said they would feel a “sort of visceral, emotional revulsion to see a Hamas or Palestinian flag” in the houses they left behind.

While accusing Israel of using the Gaza withdrawal to cover a “land grab” the Palestinians launched a little land grabbing campaign of their own.

Ziad Asali, President of America Task Force on Palestine, said that the destruction of houses in the evacuated settlements would be a “prescription of endless hatred on the other side.”

“I see something embryonic, very tentative that could be in the withdrawal,” he continued, but destroying houses is “no way to start anything on a positive note.”

Assessment:

Sharon’s Gaza Plan won support from Egypt, the Arab country with most leverage on the Palestinians. Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, hosted Israel’s foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, in their third meeting in the past six months.

Both men expressed support for a plan to increase Egypt’s security deployment along its border with Gaza, and to send Egyptian police into Gaza itself to help train their Palestinian counterparts.

Most importantly of all, Egypt is demanding that Yasser Arafat truly step down from power, and turn control of his security forces over the Palestinian Prime Minister. Arafat continues to stonewall, but he did send a vague letter to Mubarak to the effect he was ‘prepared to make security reforms’ — almost exactly what he told the Quartet two years ago.

Speaking of the Quartet, it appears that the Gaza Withdrawal Plan was going far too smoothly without their help, so they met to draft “an action plan” whereby they would bring the Palestinians in as full partners in the withdrawal.

The “Gaza Disengagement Action Plan” outlines several steps for the PA to take as Israel withdraws. Those steps take the imitative away from Israel, restore the failed ‘land for peace’ formula, and give the Palestinians an official say in Sharon’s unilateral imitative.

The Quartet’s ‘action plan’ turns the Gaza Withdrawal Plan from a unilateral disengagement into an Israeli surrender, just as its critics allege. It is attempting to introduce elements that will force Sharon to negotiate the withdrawal.

It would let the Palestinians negotiate to prevent Israel from destroying the settlements; so that they can appropriate property they neither built nor bought.

Ha’aretz reported that PLO chief Yasser Arafat is busy forming a three-man committee – consisting of himself, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and Gaza “security” boss Mohammed Dahlan – to oversee Palestinian involvement in what the Quartet is turning into Israel’s retreat.

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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