Israel Pulling Out of Gaza

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/26/israel.gaza.ap/index.html

The illegal settlers are IMO one of the biggest obstacles to the entire peace process.

JD

Hooray!

Good, about time.

Moving 8 to 10 thousand settlers is a start.

Now they have deal with the big guys in the West Bank. And stop the ongoing expansions of these settlements. I’ll give Sharon credit for getting this through the Knesset, but he’s got miles to go before I’ll sleep easy.

Troy

Actually there aren’t “illegal” settlements on gaza too much. Almost all settlements there were built with goverment support in different times, some where built in 67 instead of settlements destroyed when egypt attacked Israel 48. The “illegal” settlements built by fanatical settlers exist mostly in the bank, probably because the Gaza strip is heavily popualted and has very small room unlike the bank which has a lot of free acres.

The disengagment also includes several settlements in the bank which are in problematic locations.

-Shiroko

I was very happy when I heard this news. A very good step towards peace.

I was glad to hear the news, but there’s many a slip…

Sharon still has to deal with the threat of various desaffected parties to bring down the government, there’s still the possibility of a real confrontation between settlers and the army, and so on. (And this doesn’t even touch on the West Bank issues)

Anyone else notice that 6 of the 7 abstainers were Arab MKs?

Gav

As far as I can tell the people opposed to this measure were the extremist right-wing Israelis, who want a Greater Israel and the extreme Arabs who feel that their issue is being unfairly stolen out from under them. An Arab MK has a choice between keeping Israeli troops in Gaza and writing Gaza out of the picture, which is a serious economic blow.

I’ve been advocating for a long time a total sealing of the land borders. It’s definitely an admission of defeat in negotiating a peace, but the process wasn’t working. Some separation may give space for people to cool off a little, and getting Israel out will make it harder (a little) for the Arabs to blame their problems on the Israelis.

As far as a confrontation with the settlers, in the end the IDF only has to leave, and close the borders. People who want to live under the PA are welcome to do so.

I think we’re going to see some annexation of the areas inside the WB fence, and a very cold peace maintained by a non-porous border and overwhelming force. Not a great solution, but it may serve as a step on the way to something warmer. Not that any warmth seems likely, but it will stop the suicide murders (homicide bomber? Who says that?) and that’s a start.

Any of you cheering ever stop to consider that sealing the territories will condemn the Palestinians to the world’s biggest open-air prisons? There won’t be enough water, electricity, jobs, etc. This is just a slight improvement on killing all the Palestinians outright; it condemns them to many more years of slow suffering. It’s nothing more than Sharon setting up a war of attrition where he will starve the Palestinians out of the territories or into whatever agreement he wants Arafat’s eventual successors to sign.

And it’s interesting that people here are cheering the withdrawal from Gaza just weeks after Sharon’s government came out and said that a Palestinian state was no longer on the table because of the disengagement plan. Dov Weisglass said in early October:

“The significance of our disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. It supplies the formaldehyde necessary so there is no political process with Palestinians. When you freeze the process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state … Effectively, this whole package called a Palestinian state, with all it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.”

Fantastic. Somehow I’ll resist the urge to release any doves.

Oh, and that confrontation with the settlers stuff…Mike, are you crazy? The IDF can leave the settlements undefended, sure, but the settlers have lots of supporters in Israel itself, and have already threatened to kill Sharon and other members of the current government to prevent this plan from proceeding. It’s not going to be an easy process pulling out of Gaza, even if a majority of Israelis realize that it’s necessary.

Anyhow, it’s good to see Israel pulling out of Gaza entirely, but the reasons behind this decision – coupled with the West Bank wall – are very, very chilling to me. This is a real one step forward, two steps back move.

Brett,

I’m as much a skeptic on whether this thing will work out as anyone. But, I see it as a good start–it sets a precedent for also pulling out of the West Bank.

You sound a bit like a professor the BBC interviewed the other day, who was essentially arguing that this was a bad thing, because if Israel wasn’t going to pull out Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and everywhere else, not to mention giving reparations to the Arabs, then what would be the point?

But I feel that argument misses the point–the choices on the table aren’t between pulling out of Gaza and pulling back to the green line, the choices are pulling out of Gaza or having the settlers stay in Gaza. If you think it’s better that the settlers stay in Gaza until a government comes along that can give the Arabs everything they should get (whatever that might be–it’s a separate debate), then you’d be waiting a long time.

Gav

To argue that pulling out of Gaza (and eventually the west bank) condemns Palestinians to an open-air prison you need to posit that Israel is responsible for their welfare in the first place, when the primary reason Israel is there is to try to prevent them from either militarizing and invading or mounting a terrorist Intifada. Gaza has a border with Egypt, and a coastline. The west bank borders Jordan and Syria. Jordan is even half ethnic Palestinian. Let them get their international trade from nations they don’t constantly announce their intention to destroy.

And I see the Gaza pullout as defining a de facto Palestinian State. Just because Israel doesn’t recognize it or talk to it doesn’t mean that they are not free to pursue their national identity. (Except I doubt Israel would let them have a military.)

As far as pulling out the settlers, I didn’t say it would be politically easy, I said the IDF wouldn’t have to extract them by force. Once the orders are finalized, all the IDF needs to do is walk away. The confrontations will happen inside Israel. I have high hopes that Israel’s SC will help make it all work.

Sharon’s government doesn’t share your opinions, Mike. And like it or not, Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Palestinians. They have an obligation to make sure that they have access to water and other vital natural resources, and that they have the freedom to develop an independent economy. Israel can’t just shut everything down and starve civilians, terrorist minority in the population or not.

And, Mike, you didn’t say anything about action in the territories. You said that if the IDF leaves, there wouldn’t be a confrontation. Well, the settlers are already bringing the fight into Israel. A Reuters story this afternoon details the plans to follow Sharon’s kids around, screaming curses at them over a loudspeaker, and says that Sharon has already bumped up security and changed the route of his motorcade. Oh, and Kach supporters have been caught spraypainting slogans like “We assassinated Rabin, we will assassinate Sharon too” on walls.

Anyhow, I think the idea of the Gaza pullout is a good thing, but the reasons behind it are sickening. All it’ll do is make people on the other side of the barbed wire even poorer and more desperate. Also, I don’t think a pullout without a greater political solution really benefits Israel, because there’s less pressure on radicals and settlers to accept the deal. If the vast majority of Israeli society can’t put down the wingnuts, saying that “This is necessary for us to have a peace deal,” opposition can only be strengthened. Right now, what can the average Israeli say? Yes, pulling the settlements out of Gaza might help our security, but it doesn’t bring peace, and the vast majority of terror attacks come from the West Bank anyways. Not that you’d ever be able to talk sense into Kach people, but the lack of a peace deal does somewhat legitimize their argument that the Gaza pullout isn’t accomplishing anything.

And Gav, I don’t think it’s about an all-or-nothing solution. Pulling out of Gaza is great, but it has to be in concert with other political moves in order for it to have the desired effect – a safer Israel and a legitimate Palestine.

Israel has a great deal of responsibility now becasue it controls the territory. If they pull out, they don’t have the same responsibility. They do not have to ensure Palestinian access to water, they have to not prevent Palestinian access to water. They don’t have to ensure that the Palestinians have the freedom to develop an economy, they just have to not interfere in the Palestinian economy. And shutting down the Israeli borders won’t starve anyone. There are other borders with nations with better relations. There are food aid programs. One thing the Gaza pullout accomplishes is removing any basis for an argument that Israel owes services to a people whose most notable contribution to Israeli society is mass child dismemberment.

As far as the fight being brought to Israel, I was just saying that an actual fight between settlers and IDF was unlikely, not that the settlers wouldn’t cause a huge amount of trouble.

And it doesn’t matter whether Israel regonizes Gaza as a state. If they pull out of the region it becomes autonomous, and a state can arise without being negotiated into existence. A state that arose that way wouldn’t have the taint of Israeli recognition, so it might even be a help.

Arguably, they have an obligation about the water, but why the economy? Does Israel have an obligation to establish a corruption-free democracy in Gaza too? Because when Arafat was given a lot of money to develop businesses in the PA (by the EU), the money just…disappeared. I just don’t see that as Israel’s fault.

And Gav, I don’t think it’s about an all-or-nothing solution. Pulling out of Gaza is great, but it has to be in concert with other political moves in order for it to have the desired effect – a safer Israel and a legitimate Palestine.

But you are painting it as an all-or-nothing solution. I’d say that if the pull-out goes through, under a Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon no less, that’s a huge precedent for the future. You just can’t expect everything at once–this is not to say that Palestinians shouldn’t keep pushing for a bigger state, but they should recognize that politics moves slowly.

For sure, if Israel gets nothing but flak for pulling out, it’s going to make further pull-outs harder to achieve, not easier.

Gav

Mike, do you even realize that pulling out Gaza and the West Bank doesn’t disentangle Israel from Palestine? For starters, Israel would be leaving with almost all of the natural resources in the region, including pretty much all the water and arable land in the West Bank. Why the hell should the Palestinians have to rely on handouts, by the way? Why is it okay for Israel to steal all the resources in the West Bank? Also, it’s insane to think that Palestine could come into existence as an autonomous nation without negotiations with Israel.

If Israel wants to share the region’s resources properly with the Palestinians, and allow a new Palestine to have all the rights of any other sovereign state on the planet, then I’ve got no problem conceding that Israel has no responsibility whatsoever. That’s not how it’s going to work, though, and you know it. Barring a miraculous change of heart, Palestine will forever be a client state of Israel. It will always remain wholly dependent on Israel for water and basic resources and its economy.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how the Palestinians want it, by the way, so getting pissed off at how the only contribution that they make to Israeli society is the creation of amputees is wildly off the mark. True, fair separation is the goal of the vast majority of Palestinians.

True. But we weren’t talking about Arafat’s corruption. But the bottom line for me is that Israel has a total stranglehold on the Palestinian economy. It can shut off the water and lights at will. That’s what I meant when I said that Israel has an obligation to give Palestine the freedom to develop economically. Israel has to give Palestine a fair share of the resources in the region and enough control over its own borders to guarantee air and sea traffic. Right now, that’s not the case. The territories are essentially being starved economically. That’s not going to change even after the settlers are evacuated from Gaza and the wall is finished around the chopped-up West Bank.

No, I’m not. But you just aren’t realizing that this isn’t some huge gesture, done to settle the problem with the Palestinians once and for all. It’s simply recognition that it is no longer tenable to use the IDF to keep a few thousand Jews in the middle of over a million Arabs. This isn’t a movement for peace, or anything that will benefit the Palestinians or the region whatsover. It’s a cynical move that’s part of Sharon’s plan to kill the peace process and isolate the Palestinians so that Arafat’s successors are forced to make whatever concessions Israel demands–which would lead to a Palestinian state in name only, under the complete control of Israel.

As I said before, moving out of Gaza would be great if it were part of an actual peace process that would bring about real Israeli security and Palestinian dignity. But since this is actually about destroying the peace process, I don’t know why you seem to be happy about Israel’s setting such a precedent. If so, you must be thrilled about the West Bank wall, too.

Oh, and even though the settlers may be gone, it’s not as if Gaza will suddenly be freed. The IDF will continue to go in, whenever it feels like it, so for all intents and purposes Gaza will remain an occupied territory.

OK, I misunderstood what you were saying. I actually agree here, that Israel has to give the Palestinians the opportunity to develop their own economy. I just think that, even if they were given that opportunity by Israel, internal forces conspire to kill any real economy in the PA.

Israel has to give Palestine … enough control over its own borders to guarantee air and sea traffic. Right now, that’s not the case.

That will not be the case for a long time, since the Palestinians have shown no desire or ability to police terrorists effectively.

No, I’m not. But you just aren’t realizing that this isn’t some huge gesture, done to settle the problem with the Palestinians once and for all. It’s simply recognition that it is no longer tenable to use the IDF to keep a few thousand Jews in the middle of over a million Arabs.

Of course I recognize that. But that’s the only way peace will come (if it ever does)–when Israelis as a whole decide it’s just less trouble to allow a Palestinian state to exist than to occupy Palestinian land. Except for a very small number of idealists, that’s always been what drives the peace process.

As I said before, moving out of Gaza would be great if it were part of an actual peace process that would bring about real Israeli security and Palestinian dignity. But since this is actually about destroying the peace process, I don’t know why you seem to be happy about Israel’s setting such a precedent. If so, you must be thrilled about the West Bank wall, too.

It does the opposite of what setting the settlements up in the first place did–it creates a new “fact on the ground”. It’ll much harder for Israel to say “it can’t be done” about future deals.

I’m also not sure this is aimed at destroying the peace process–not that I think Sharon is out to encourage peace, but the stuff I’ve read says that he’s as much worried about the demographic time bomb as anything. It’s hard to know; Sharon’s also a politician, and will tell different groups what they want to hear. (Frex, he also mentioned the possibility of a Palestinian state publicly)

Again, to me the question comes ultimately down to, right now, the most you could reasonably expect from this government is a pull-out from Gaza (and, 1 year ago, who thought you could even expect that?). Given that, is the pull-out good or bad? I’d have to come down on the side of good, not because I have any delusions that Sharon has suddenly turned into the great peace-maker of our time, but because (whatever Sharon’s motivation) it’s a big first step that no other Israeli government has been willing to take (not even Rabin’s).

If this is all such a great obvious way to destory the peace process, why are poeple like Netanyahu and Livnat threatening to bring down the government? You’d think they’d be cheering Sharon on.

Gav

Israel could have disconnected water and power to the palestinians a long time ago, and it didn’t. There’s no intention on checking that option as well, before and after the disengagement. The palestinians got all the resources they should have excepy maybe some of the ground that could be used for farming (Usually this ground is used today for farming by settlers, with the food reaching israel-palestinian market, so no big difference), aside for that, Israel is stripped of resources.
Anyway, the majority of the terror threat is from Gaza, but since Gaza has a fence around it only in rare occasions the terror get into Israel (And are usually against troops guarding the fence).

As for an economy, Israel has nor responsibility to create that. The palestinians showcase a 3rd world economy, with heavy relience on the terrorist organization’s social branches. Israel cannot mend it without palestinians co-operation, only the palestinians can do it.
The disengagement with simply give Israel more quiet for the time being, since no other alternative is possible. Obviously palestinian terror from Gaza will continue after the disengagment. And obviously every time Qassam rockets hit Israel (And sometimes kill people) the IDF will retaliate against terrorists in Gaza.

Anyway the disengagment is the right step for Israel, in the case that there’s no chance for peace soon or in the case that peace will be possible soon.

Israel may be taking most of the arrable land, but water? It’s called the West Bank because it’s right on the Jordan river. As far as power, they could build their own plants if they wanted to, there are people who would invest the capital to do it if they weren’t going to be burned down by the very religious. But that’s not Israel’s fault.

You asked my why they should rely on handouts, I ask you the same thing. What is it that causes them to have to rely on handouts? Large numbers of oil-rich arabs call them borthers, but can’t get even the beginning of an economy started there? Israel doesn’t go in and shut down their businesses. You say that Israel has a stranglehold on their economy, but why should that be so? They have other neighbors. How can Israel be blamed for lack of real trade between Palestine and the other Arabs?

Why is it insane to thing that Palestine could become autonomous without being negotiated into existence? Any entity that forms and starts policing the region to keep civic order becomes a de facto government very quickly.

As far as the amputees, the desires of the majority do not constitute a major contribution to Israeli society, but the bombs of the minority do. I’m not saying most Palestinians are terrorists, I’m saying that terror is the most visible result to Israel of Palestinian-Israeli relations.

Pulling out of Gaza may not disentangle Israel from Palestine, but it’s an intentional step in that direction. I think the plan is to simply disentangle completely without negotiating at all. That leaves them with nothing the Palestinians can offer them. Israel really has very little interest in the Palestinian areas, and wants almost nothing from the Palestinians except an end to all the bombings. If they can achieve that with a wall, and never have to make a concession in return, that’s what they’ll do, and Arafat has set them up to be able to do it by never ceasing to advocate violence and the destruction of Israel.

I think the Gaza pull-out will reduce the presence of the IDF, and probably change its character. Israel will engage with Gaza only when Gaza fires rockets into Israel, and probably will just return fire with artillery instead of sending troops in. That’s what Israel gets out of granting autonomy. The right to say that anywhere rockets are coming from is a military target in an enemy nation.

Artillery doesn’t work this way, not with today’s technology. Rockets are being fired from inside villages, any artillery fired back will decimate some houses and kill people, most probably, not the right ones. It is in fact much more reasonable to enter Gaza with tanks and infantry then simply shooting some rounds of artillery. As this will actually harm the terrorists.

Israel is in fact already confronted with this tactic in Lebanon where the Hizbullah constantly uses areas near villages to fire artillery.

Basically what I’m saying is, that any successful terror attack from Gaza comign after the disengagment, will most likely result in a small scale entry of IDF forces for several days. (Pretty much like today)

-Shiroko