The tragedy of what happened a year ago with the pullout from Gaza haunts us still in a variety of ways:
Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss was the chief rabbi during the disengagement a year ago. Now he is retiring, and at his farewell party he delivered a heartfelt speech:
"The good of our future existence requires the eternal oath of never again – never again to a human disengagement, never again to human realignment. And forever yes to public and national human connections…
"When I flip through the photo album of the synagogues, study houses, educational facilities, and the yeshivas that were and are no more, my heart bleeds, my eyes open wide, and I don’t find rest for my feet. I can’t stop asking myself – were these sacrificed in vain? Will peace be built on the current destruction?"
That last question is only rhetorical: there will, of course, be no peace built on the current destruction. And the pain of what was given up in Gush Katif sits in many hearts.
There is increasing concern about the situation in Gaza, both in terms of the barrage of Kassams that continues and the enormous quantity of explosives that has been brought in in order to improve those Kassams. Defense Minister Peretz says we will do whatever is necessary to stop the Kassams, although his statement taken on its own does not necessarily represent much more than bombast. Today, however, I read that some top IDF officials are saying that we may have to re-take all of Gaza to prevent it from becoming another Lebanon. Indeed, that would be logical, given the situation. But how very very sad, to have sacrificed what we did, only to face the error after the fact.
More double talk and confusion accompany this situation:
Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres was in London and held a press conference at his hotel. Among the things he said was that settlement construction cannot be halted. Why? Because Israel cannot be punished twice, once with the Kassams and then with restrictions on settlements. An interesting thesis, but it doesn’t fly. The real reason, I would venture to suggest, is because the Israeli people — angry about the Kassams and what happened in Gaza after we gave it to the Arabs — will not sit still for halting natural enlargement of settlements. It is simply not politically viable to suggest this now. But interesting, nonetheless, to hear this from that old leftie Peres. Perhaps the times really are beginning to change.
Peres also said that we’ve tried too hard to solve the problems diplomatically when the solution lies with the economy. This is his old thesis: When the Palestinians are financially secure they’ll moderate: Peace will come to the PA when there is economic growth. To that end Peres promotes joint economic ventures, for, he says, terror groups would avoid targeting an initiative that improves the regional economy. There was a time when just maybe this would have seemed the way to go. But the evidence of our own experience tells us otherwise and one must wonder why Peres keeps pushing this.
Consider a couple of examples. When the Karni Crossing is closed, it causes hardship for the Palestinians as the flow of necessary goods is slowed. Why is the crossing closed so much? Because terrorists target it. They target the very site that will cause problems for their people. I have long pondered this, and have found it instructive in helping me understand the terrorist mentality (as much as I am able to do so). They don’t work from our logic.
Then there is the far more blatant example of what happened in Gaza last year when we pulled out. Greenhouses were left for the Palestinians — greenhouses that would have provided a Palestinian industry with self-sufficiency and increased standard of living. What happened? Many of the greenhouses were vandalized and destroyed. The impulse to destroy was stronger than the impulse to build an economic future. It’s worthwhile to remember this.
It is a Marxist myth, still commonly embraced, that poverty and want breed terrorism. Remove the poverty and want and the terrorism will disappear. Except that it turns out that many of the terrorists are not poor. Economy does not trump ideology for them. That ideology, especially as fueled by a fanatical religion (they are doing the work of Allah), takes precedence over all. Pity that Peres still doesn’t get it.
Farouk Kadoumi, head of the PLO politburo, gave an interview to al-Hayat in London. A hardliner who never recognized Oslo, he says that the disagreements between Fatah and Hamas are going to lead to fighting between the Palestinian factions. (It should only be.) Neither side is really interested in an agreement, he declared, but only wants to protect its own interests. He called on the Palestinian people to overthrow their government.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora gave a speech before the EU parliament, in which he said that it is essential that Israel leave Lebanese territory as quickly as possible. Israel, you see, is endangering the ceasefire. What he suggested was that there would be no rationale for Hezbollah to continue to exist if Israel leaves. But this is simply not so. Israel pulled out in 2000 to the international line and Hezbollah spent the next six years strengthening itself. What Hezbollah claimed then was that Israel was still an occupier of Lebanese territory in the Shabaa farms — an area in the Golan that even the UN said was not Lebanese. And, sure enough, Siniora has again raised the Shabaa farms issue.
He said they are doing "all we can" to prevent any group other than the Lebanese army from bearing arms. But as has become quite clear, the Lebanese army is not lifting a finger to disarm Hezbollah. If that is "all they can do" it’s pathetic. It is the will that is missing. As we have seen they are not even enlisting the aid of UNIFIL as they might.
Hezbollah, you should know, has moved down to the border with Israel again. Here comes the status quo ante, while UNIFIL "observes."
What UNIFIL did do was stop the movement of the IDF into a village where they wanted to check for terrorists.
Of particular note is this: Palestinian groups — most notably Fatah — have a presence in Lebanon, and maintain armed bases near the border with Israel that the Lebanese army cannot enter. I have picked up information — which I am convinced is correct but that I cannot document — that Hezbollah is building bunkers in these bases and will be storing rockets there. There are vast implications here: Clearly the Lebanese army does not control its own territory and does nothing to disarm various militias even other than Hezbollah. Bases in their own country that they are powerless/afraid to enter? What is more, the complicity of Fatah with Hezbollah is something that should be noted well when the world tries to sell this group as "moderate." Lastly, all of this says something about the violence still waiting for us down the road.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/9/28/posted-september-28-2006.html