Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gold on Gaza

After a relaxing week in the Caribbean, primerprez went to an AIPAC event featuring Ambassador Dore Gold, a native of Hartford (where the event was held), president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former advisor to Israeli prime ministers Bibi Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon.

Dore spoke mostly about the deteriorating security situation in southern Israel, near Hamastan. His message make primerprez think of a puzzling paradox which will be alluded to later.

Gold talked about the difference between Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza and Israel's other territorial concessions.

In previous withdrawals, including the treaty with Egypt and the Oslo Agreements, Israel exchanged land for non-territorial concessions. (Those have almost universally been reneged upon by both Egypt and the Palestinian Arabs, but that wasn't the thrust of Gold's talk.)

By 2004, Ariel Sharon had given up hope of any agreement with the Palestinian Authority, concluded that in contrast to the situation with Judea and Samaria, Israel was never going incorporate any part of Gaza, and decided to withdraw not in exchange for any commitments from the Arabs but for a commitment from the United States, embodied in a letter from President Bush, recognizing that Israel would maintain the major Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

When Israel withdrew, optimists viewed it as an opportunity for Gaza to become a paradise, using its prime location on the Mediterranean, infrastructure including greenhouses provided by Jewish philanthropists, and natural gas concessions previously given to the Palestinian Authority by Ehud Barak. The additional hope was that, without any remaining excuse, no matter how farfetched, for attacking Israel from Gaza, the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza would concentrate on building their society there rather than on attacking Israel.

Obviously, precisely the opposite occurred and it now seems inevitable that Israel will be forced to reoccupy portions of Gaza.

The propaganda plus is that it has been made perfectly clear that the Arab terrorist attacks had absolutely nothing to do with any alleged "occupation."

Gold also alluded to two schools of thought regarding the Middle East.

One is that the key to ending the instability lies through solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. That philosophy is ingrained in institutions like the State Department, even after the Oslo Process and the aftermath of the disengagement from Gaza have demonstrated its absurdity.

The other is that no concessions or withdrawals satisfy the demands of the extremists; on the contrary, they only encourage the extremists and result in more instability and terror. He gave the emergence of Al Qaeda after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan as a prime example, along with the ascension of Hamas in Gaza (and the West Bank) after Israel's unilateral disengagement.

The major problem in the Middle East is not the Arab-Israeli conflict but Iran, which uses its proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, to increase its power. Iran is a threat not just to Israel, and not just to the West, but to the other countries in the Middle East.

The puzzle, which was not mentioned by Gold, is that any actions Israel can take to contain and ultimately defeat Hamas, Hezbollah and the other radical groups supported by Iran benefit the so-called "moderate" Arab regimes, including those in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Those nations should be loudly applauding Israel whenever it acts against Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet, against their own best interests, they condemn Israel whenever it does so.



heyjude said...

The disengagement agreement was that “Israel will guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, will continue to maintain exclusive authority in Gaza air space, and will continue to exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip”Under the Disengagement Plan, Israel retains absolute authority over Gaza’s airspace and territorial sea. It is manifestly exercising governmental authority in these areas. So it is clear that Israeli withdrawal of land forces did not terminate occupation. This view is only reinforced by the ease with which Israeli land forces re-entered Gaza in June 2006 and again in March 2008.

Until such time as a Palestinian state is established, stateless Gazans should not be forced to live in limbo, left outside conventions which should ensure their human and civil rights.

primerprez said...

"heyjude" (the handle itself says wonders about the person's outlook) makes numerous logical and factual errors. Logically, even if his assertions about "The disengagement agreement" were correct, his conclusion would not follow. Gaza is certainly not occupied by Israel. (Indeed, it is highly questionable whether it was ever occupied by Israel in the legal sense and almost all of Gaza has been under PA control since shortly after the start of the Oslo Experiment.)

Factually, there was no "disengagement agreement." Israel disengaged unilaterally.

In practice, it is clear Israel has not controlled the borders of Gaza or its airspace, since Hamas and other Arab terror groups have easily transferred massive amounts of weaponry across the borders and have used its airspace for thousands of Kassam rockets; that was certainly not done with the approval of Israel.

The residents of both Hamastan (Gaza) and Judea and Samaria can establish a state whenever they decide to join the civilized world; it has been their choice to remain outside the civilized world.