It was the summer of 2005 when my family spent two wonderful weeks in Israel. We left the holy land, three days before the disengagement from Gaza. During our two-week trip we asked Israelis how the felt about the upcoming give back of Gaza Strip.
There was one person whose answer still haunt me. This old man was sitting in a wheel chair with an orange ribbons to it. (the people who fought against disengagement wore orange). I asked him why he was against giving back Gaza. He looked up at me and said, “Do you know what Sunday is?” I answered Sunday was Tisha B’av (both Jerusalem Temples, along with a long list of other tragedies happened to the Jews throughout the ages on that same date, Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av).
The old man in the wheel chair said to me, ” Yes Sunday is Tisha B’av, disengagement begins on Monday. Giving away this land will be added to the list of horrible events that happened to us on Tisha B’av.”
That Old man turned to be right. Israel has had to withstand tens of thousands or rocket attacks, many other terrorist attacks, and two wars with Hamas in Gaza.
That’s not how it was supposed to happen in December 2003 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced:
The purpose of the “Disengagement Plan” is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security. The process of disengagement will lead to an improvement in the quality of life, and will help strengthen the Israeli economy. The unilateral steps which Israel will take in the framework of the “Disengagement Plan” will be fully coordinated with the United States. We must not harm our strategic coordination with the United States. These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with. The “Disengagement Plan” is meant to grant maximum security and minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians.
While this may have been done with the most noble of intentions, disengagement did not have the result that Sharon predicted. In fact, it lowered the security of Israel and increased friction between Israeli’s and Palestinians. Just as Oslo gave Yassar Arafat a platform to significantly increase terror activities, and Ehud Barak’s lighting-like move from Lebanon nourished the growth of Hezbollah, the Gaza disengagement nursed Hamas to power.
The ascendancy of Hamas, the years of rockets bombarding the Negev and the Gaza Wars can all be traced to the execution of the disengagement plan by Ariel Sharon and his supporters. The only real result of disengagement was further proof that land for peace doesn’t work.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio in 2004 this morning that he was convinced that Sharon has reached the conclusion that there was no other way to guarantee the future of the Zionist enterprise other than disengaging unilaterally from the Palestinians. Barak called on the Labor Party to support Sharon from within the government in what could be a “historic move.
On the other hand, Binyamin Netanyahu accurately predicted what disengagement would do:
I don’t know when terrorism will erupt in full force — my hope is that it won’t ever. But I am convinced today that the disengagement will eventually aggravate terrorism instead of reducing it. The security establishment also expects an increase in terrorism. The withdrawal endangers Israel’s security, divides its people and set the standards of the withdrawal to the ’67 border.
Today Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah are still calling for the destruction of Israel but nobody takes them seriously. Its time for the world to call their bluff, there should be no negotiations with these terrorist groups until they renounce their terrorist acts and agree to live in peace with the Jewish State of Israel. Something that has never happened.
And it’s something unlikely to happen. Mankind exists in a world were people prefer to appease the terrorists, than to fight them. What’s worse is Israel faces the uncertainty of the most anti-Israel president in American history, a world-wide Islamist terror movement that the President refuses to acknowledge, the prospect of a nuclear Iran and a failed legacy of land for peace efforts which the American president refuses to acknowledge.