The long-awaited military operation in Gaza seems to have begun. Under a press blackout the IDF has started to clean out Rafah and,as would be anticipated, the usual groups (Arab League, EU, Amnesty International, Yossi Sarid, etc.) have started their whining. Most of the whining has come in the form of "Sharon promised to withdraw, and now he is instead attacking". Lost on these people is the fact that no withdrawal is possible without this type of military operation. Additionally, once again these groups condemn Israeli operations without putting them in context of what caused them in the first place. In the words of Foreign Ministry Director-General Yoav Biran: "The reactions are critical of Israel. Here and there we hear some threatening remarks. There are also some stupid exaggerations. The world is preoccupied with the results and not with the causes...They are asking questions about our operation, but not asking us why we are operating in Rafah."
To leave Gaza in the same way that Israel left Lebanon would be disastrous. As soon as the IDF left, Hizbullah armed itself with Syrian and Iranian missiles and artillery that now threaten Northern Israel. If the smuggling tunnels are intact, is there any doubt that Palestinian terrorists would attempt to arm themselves similarly? Already there are reports that they have been trying to bring in Katyushas as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. Additionally, while there is a way to restrain Hizbullah - putting military and diplomatic pressure on Syria - there would be no similar control over the Palestinians.
Undoubtedly that withdrawal from Lebanon spurred on the Oslo War that the Palestinians have been waging, as has even been admitted by various Palestinian representatives. The only way to show the Palestinians that a withdrawal from Gaza is not a victory for the terrorists is by completely destroying the terrorist infrastructure in the area. Digging a big moat all along the border would be a perfect way to permanently stop smuggling through the tunnels.