Monday, May 02, 2005

The Case for Quitting: Gaza Pull-out

I had an email the other night asking why I blog so much about the Israel and asking me if I am not embarrassed by being so wrong in my conclusions about the Gaza pull-out? Did I not realize that the disengagement from Gaza represents the best chance the Israeli’s and Palestinians have had at a real lasting peace?

These are legitimate questions. Why Israel? I am not Jewish except to my neighbors. I started to blog as another form of dialogue with my daughter, the Last Amazon. Living in the rather loud and uproarious household it is often difficult to have any kind of a serious dialogue for an extended period of 5 minutes or more. I remember once reading out loud a Mark Steyn column to the children at dinner table concerning the anti-war movement. It was rather a thoughtful discussion until I came to the bit where representatives of the Arab Leaders Summit started to assault and threaten each other. The serious tone quickly fell apart when I read out Mark Steyn quoting one of the ministers saying “I fart on your beard!” To this day that remains a favourite family insult.

It was the Last Amazon’s idea that I should get a blog and start writing or posting on whatever interested me. She wanted to know my opinions and how it came to be that I thought the way I did. She promised to read what I had written and email me with her comments, thoughts or criticism. What started out as a dialogue between my daughter and myself has expended into a dialogue that includes other people’s sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and the odd grandparent.

The Last Amazon has been fascinated with Israel for many years but she started to really stand up and pay attention once there was a Star of David with the immortal phrase “Kill the Jews” craved on our flat door. For the last 4 years, I cannot remember a school year where she did not choose to do some kind of project on Israel. I have promised the Last Amazon a trip to Israel as a reward for completing her first degree regardless of the political situation or in other words; come hell or high water. G-d willing we will go, and hopefully, Eretz Israel will still exist and be waiting.

I don’t share in the general optimism concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I think that the optimism we hear or read about is the result of a war weary world looking for a ray of hope where none exists and a refusal to look at the hard realities on the ground. The psychological power of denial is well documented. Nor do I believe that 8,000 odd Jews represent a viable or existential threat to the more than 1.3 million Arabs living in Gaza. Nor do I believe that evicting the 8,000+ Jewish men, women and children from their homes, schools and businesses is the price peace can be had or bought at. What I do call it is ethnic cleansing. And it should be no more deplorable in Gaza when Jews do it to other Jews than in Sudan or Rwanda.

The two state solution sounded reasonable and fair when George W. Bush first discussed it, but if the truth be told, it was just as reasonable and fair back in 1948 when the two state solution was officially proposed in the United Nations. The Jews were willing. The Arabs were not. What has changed since UN sponsored armistice in 1949? Not a whole heck of a lot. There has never been a question that the “Palestinian” Arabs long for a state but the crux has always been whose state do they want? I have come to the conclusion that the last thing the world needs is one more thugocratic state and therefore I cannot in good conscience support another military staging ground aka a “state” for the Palestinians. If we were wise, we would be sending teams of psychiatrists into the West Bank & Gaza and open negotiations immediately with King Hussein and do whatever is necessary and needed to get him to take back administrative control of Arab areas of the West Bank and Gaza.

But I am not alone in my assessment on the Gaza pull-out. Natan Sharansky, (Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and celebrated author of The Case for Democracy) has officially resigned from the Sharon government in protest over the Gaza disengagement.


Chris Taylor said...

I share your skepticism fully, Kate. Israel has always demonstrated its willingness and indeed preference for peace. I'm afraid the same cannot always be said for her neighbours.

One minor detail: I was under the impression that the Gaza strip was occupied by Egypt post-1949, and never actually under the control of Jordan (in either its Trans-Jordan or Jordan incarnation).

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Sorry, I left you under the impression that Gaza was ever under Jordanian control but in my mind negotiations with the Jordanians for both the West Bank and Gaza would make more sense than negotiating separately with both the Egyptians & Jordanians.

When Gaza was under Egyptian control it was a staging ground for attacks on Israel. If Gaza would revert to Egyptian control I can see it again used as a staging ground. Let's be honest, the elaborate tunnel smuggling network between the Egyptians and Gazians could not exist today without Egyptian complicity. Egyptian incitement of hatred towards the Israeli's is still very much a modern component of Egyptian society. If Gaza were returned under Egyptian control I fear that it would only be a matter of time before Gaza was turned into another staging ground. I have no faith that the Egyptians would be able to induce the Gazians to return to civil society.

Jordan, on the other hand has a relatively good track record of incorporating the Palestinians into Jordanian society.

Furthermore, what is to be gained by separating Gaza from the West Bank? If anything that could be a selling feature to induce the Jordanians to take control - access to the sea.

John the Mad said...

I just read your post, "I am not Jewish except to my neighbours."

It is enough to make one weep.