The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Friday, May 06, 2005


              Gaza Withdrawal
I haven't really written anything on Israel's upcoming withdrawal of settlements from the Gaza Strip later this summer. Until recently I was very conflicted on the wisdom and the necessity of this move. As a strategic concept, trading Gaza for part of the West Bank is a good move for Israel. However, more and more it seems that such a strategy will be difficult to achieve. I am now firmly of the belief that leaving Gaza will be a major mistake; it will not improve Israel's bargaining position vis-a-vis the Palestinians or the US.

The most likely outcome from this evacuation will be to produce a result similar to Barak's withdrawal from Lebanon 5 years ago - the Palestinians will be emboldened into thinking that they can achieve the same result in the West Bank; Hamas leadership has already said as much. The strategy of the Palestinians will be not to attack within the Green Line, something that is daily made more difficult by the separation barrier, but to attack the settlements in Judea and Samaria. And just as we heard about the settlements in Gaza - they're difficult to protect, why waste soldiers on this, etc - we will hear the same about these settlements. The Palestinians have not wasted time during this hudna and have been stockpiling and preparing everything from rifles and explosives to anti-tank and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles smuggled in from Egypt. They have also brought in and have started manufacturing Kassam rockets in the West Bank. No longer will these rockets be falling in the desert or on the outskirts of Sderot, but on Kfar Saba and the outskirts of Jerusalem.

With this withdrawal Israel, with the urging and help of the US, will have succeeded in creating a new terrorist enclave in the Middle East and brought on itself a wider and deadlier war. As Caroline Glick points out, this is completely contrary to the goals of the Bush administration.
Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria present a tangible threat to US national security interests from both military and psychological warfare perspectives.

On the military level, one of the core principles of the US counter-terror strategy is to deny terrorists sanctuary. Yet Gaza and northern Samaria are both poised to become new operational bases for global terror organizations.

During his negotiations with the terror chiefs in Cairo in March, in the presence of Syria's foreign minister, PA chairman and US favorite Mahmoud Abbas invited the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command to relocate from Damascus to Gaza after Israel withdraws. How does this square with the US strategy to bar terrorists from receiving shelter?
[...]
On a psychological level, the images of an Israeli retreat from Gaza and northern Samaria will be footage for jihadi recruitment videos for years to come. In Iraq, a large proportion of the insurgent groups' energies are devoted to producing images that portray them as strong and the US forces as weak. Al-Jazeera and its clones – along with cameramen employed as stringers by Western news networks and agencies – work hand-in-glove with the terrorists to produce just such images. The point, of course, is that in at least one central respect, Arabs are no different from Americans. Both like winners. Videos showing the decapitation of hostages are meant to mobilize supporters.

Yet there can be no doubt that, as attractive as watching helpless hostages getting beheaded may be to potential recruits, the spectacle of Hamas and Fatah flags being foisted onto Israeli homes in Gaza and Samaria is even more alluring. And footage of Jews attacking one another as Israel comes apart at the seams will also serve the terrorists' purposes wonderfully well.
The damage to US interests and democracy promotion in the Middle East would be immeasurable.

But the decision for this "evacuation" has been made, and it seems there is no turning back now. The main question that remains then is what to do with the buildings in the soon to be abandoned settlements. Many in Israel, including the man who brought us the Oslo War yet continues to push for more appeasement - Shimon Peres - thinks that the settlements should be turned into a Club Med or Palestinian resorts. It is ironic, as David Warren shows that the Palestinians would prefer to have the settlements destroyed by Israel, while Israel would rather abandon them intact.
It is typical of the non-meeting of minds, that the Palestinians mostly want the buildings demolished and their sites cleared, while most Israelis want to hand over the buildings to the Palestinians rather than wasting them. The Israeli authorities are also aware that if the buildings are demolished, the international media will have an anti-Israeli field day showing the scene. Which is in turn why many Palestinians want the demolition to happen: they would rather see that TV show, than have the use of buildings better constructed and serviced than most they now own.
And now the PA is considering giving families of suicide bombers these homes. No matter what bad PR comes of it, these settlements must be destroyed. Pictures of Palestinians dancing on the homes of the departed Israelis will be worse PR. Uri Dan is right:
Israel's momentary profit from being represented in the world media as a peace lover giving the keys of Jewish displaced persons' homes to the Palestinians will be swallowed up by a long-term loss: unambiguous encouragement of the enemy to continue its war against the kibbutzim in the region, against Ashkelon and Ashdod, from the Gaza Strip, and against the heart of Israel from Judea and Samaria.

Ariel Sharon, as defense minister, destroyed the Yamit settlements in 1982 with government approval because he didn't want Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, with whom Menachem Begin had signed a peace agreement, to implement his program to transfer between half a million and a million Egyptians to a region close to the overcrowded Gaza Strip. You don't need a great deal of imagination to realize how terrible Israel's situation would be if another two million Egyptians were living there today. If it was right then, during the withdrawal from Sinai, after signing a peace agreement with Egypt, it is even more right to follow that path today in the Gaza Strip, in the face of Hamas's and Islamic Jihad's plans to continue the war.

So – destroy it all!
At least this may salvage some good from a horrible decision.
|| Nudnik 3:28 PM
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