The Gaza Unilateral Disengagement, August, 2005
Most of us wanted to believe in that Disengagement of four years ago. Led by Ariel Sharon, "the General," the no-nonsense strategist, we trusted he had already planned the next steps, like a master chess player. We expected benefits we will reap for years to come for the deep wound Israel would self-inflict. There might have been a plan, but God thought otherwise. Prime Minister Sharon is still in a coma, and there is not a single soul who was privy to his Grand Plan.
Some of us opposed unilateral Disengagement. The most vocal opposition included the residents of Gush Katif, who for decades had lived with the full blessing and support of the Israeli government and created a green desert area. Their supporters also included predominantly religious Jews throughout the Diaspora for this community that developed an industry, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into Israel through exports. The Gush Katif community also supported numerous Gazans, employing them full time.
For decades, the prevailing argument in Israel was "why should so many resources be spent to guard so few?" "There is no reason to be there" was often spoken. The army periodically renewed its study of the cost-benefit analysis of providing the defense of this small area in the Northern Gaza Strip. It was always in favor.
Israelis craving peace were willing to do whatever it took to usher in its arrival, including leaving the Gazans to themselves. Providing the billions in monetary aid and hundreds of truckloads of "humanitarian aid" that passed every day from Israel to Gaza, the area could quickly turn into a tourist Mecca. Good Jews, Peace and anti-Apartheid activists, Palestinians from the world over and Muslims in general could come and vacation in Gaza, along the shores of the Mediterranean, and support this newly created oasis. If one craved history, a short excursion into Egypt to view the Pyramids or to Israel's Biblical sites or even to Jordan to see Petra could satisfy the sudden urge. Gaza is at the crossroads, as Turkey is between continents.
still a recent memory how Israel had given a very substantial portion of its
land to Egypt in return for a peace accord. It had given away the area where
Israelites traveled for more than 40 years until an unworthy generation has
passed. To ensure peace by giving away a small strip of land, where only a
handful of people lived in constant danger, sounded very reasonable to many.
How wrong we all were.
were those inhabitants who fought to the very last minute and rather than
struggle to stand again on their own two feet, crumbled under their self-pity
Wrong was the government that went blindly after a General who left no clue as to what the next step should be.
were the vast majority of Israelis who supported the move based on some
convoluted notion of peace that cannot be achieved in our lifetime. The Gazans proved how wrong we all were
when they began by desecrating the synagogues, burning the fertile hot houses,
turning thriving towns into rubble and converting the area into a massive
were those who opposed the Disengagement from afar. To take an integral part in what is happening in Israel, to
truly bring about change, the fight should have been on the ground. They should have immigrated to Israel,
to the Holy City of Jerusalem, and amidst a quarter of a million native English
speakers, settled in the heartland of Zion.
was the IDF, who received orders from the political echelon and failed to
remind the country it is not the job of the Israel Defense Forces to uproot
Jews from their homes in their own homeland. It was morally repugnant,
especially when it was done unilaterally, with no peace accord offered in
return. Such a directive contrasts
the mission of the IDF, the very essence of its creation.
years have passed and we lament the mistakes of the past. Some are still mourning, and yet, I am
jubilant. That Disengagement must
now be followed by the SECOND DISENGAGEMENT.