4th Quarter 2004
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been increasingly coming under attack. In addition to the predictable assaults from elsewhere, many Jews -- both in the Diaspora and in Israel itself - claim that Arik is now abandoning Israel.
Sorry, I just don't buy it.
And, furthermore, I'd like to ask many of those latter critics if they'd send their own sons to fight for a Gaza in which Jews are ridiculously outnumbered and surrounded by multitudes of Arabs -- with one of the highest birthrates in the world -- who have been raised in a millieu of bloodlust of Jews.
While I agree that a retreat must occur under adequate conditions, and that Arik must clearly hold Arab feet to the fire bigtime -- regardless of international pressure -- if attacks on Israeli communities continue after the withdrawal, it is time to admit that the presence of Jews in Gaza, unfortunately, is simply too costly. And most Israelis agree with this assessment.
Ben Gurion's vision for Israel's future was in the Negev, not in a Gaza in which a relative handful of Jews would live virtually isolated from the rest of Israelis surrounded by Arabs sworn to have them for dinner. Gaza, by the way, according to the highly respected Encyclopedia Judaica, is not even within the halakhic boundaries of the Holy Land.
Among other things, adequate conditions means establishing new and more powerful bases in the Negev ready to respond exponentially to any Arab mischief. And when the Arabs hit the Negev, they're hitting indisputable Israeli territory.
Like all other nations, Israel is allowed to respond in self defense as necessary and must firmly make this point to all parties concerned prior to its withdrawal. The Powell Doctrine of massive retaliation against America's own enemies seems like a proper model here, don't you think?
Helicopter strikes and targeted killings are not what I mean by "adequate." America was and is not afraid to use its bombers against its enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, or wherever when necessary...and America is thousands of miles away from its foes, not in their backyard as Israel is.
The Arabs must believe that Israel will not play the game as Arabs intend for Israel to play it. Israel will come out on the short end of a war of attrition with the Arab baby-making machine. In Arafat's own words, the Arab mother is his best weapon. Arabs must understand that the Jews won't trade one for one with them, but one for ten ... or more ... in devastating retaliation.
And after the recent bombing and assault which killed and wounded a dozen or more Israeli soldiers, there's no better time than right now to get this message across. First peace for peace ... then we can discuss land for peace. If peace talks are to get started again, Israel must make these points perfectly clear ... including to its "friends."
I do agree that the danger that a Gaza withdrawal might serve as a precedent for Judea and Samaria -- as well as the Golan -- is very real and cannot be ignored. But despite the historical Jewish presence in Gaza and its use as an invasion route into Israel proper by Egypt over the millennia, Judea and Samaria are linked more solidly and historically to the land of Israel ... and I do not believe that Arik will adhere to the Gaza precedent.
A friend suggested that, given its large Israeli Arab population, I consider the situation in Galilee as well regarding all of this. The difference, of course, is that the Galilee has been tied historically more integrally to Eretz Yisrael. Almost five centuries after the Roman Wars, thousands of Jews from this area were recorded as participating in a war against the hated Byzantines, allied with the Persians just prior to the imperial invasions of the Arabian armies. And so forth.
More importantly, the Galilee is not as isolated as Gaza. Arabs who live in that part of Israel -- like Mexicans or Chicanos who live in the American southwest, Muslim ethnic groups who found themselves after 1947 living in India instead of Pakistan, and so forth -- are expected to be loyal citizens of Israel. And if they're not, then the word treason comes to mind. Israel cannot afford to shy about this either. By the way, since Gaza's Jews are used to living surrounded by Arabs, the beautiful Galilee awaits and needs them.
Likewise, will Jews be able to live anywhere that they want on the West Bank? No... But, then again, all former Israeli leaders understood that there would have to be a compromise here as well. Remember the Allon Plan and such?
What Arik, or any leader, must have the backbone to insist upon is that any such territorial compromise, supported by United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 itself in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War when it called for the creation of secure and recognized borders to replace Israel's former armistice lines which made it, among other things, a mere 9-miles wide and a constant temptation to its enemies, must be meaningful and do the job.
Israel's major airport, industries, and communities, for example, must not be left at the mercy of Arab gunners and rockets and must be provided with a somewhat adequate buffer from those who take joy out of playing with Jewish body parts.
Perhaps I am naive, but I refuse to believe that Arik, a true hero of Israel, would want his legacy to be that of one who brought lasting harm to the resurrected nation of his people. I do believe he'll insist on such an adequate compromise. And I don't believe he'll simply abandon Israel to the Syrian butchers in the north either.
True, I'm a bit nervous with the continuing influence that former Secretary of State James "Fuck the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway" Baker has with the Bush family and the Foggy Folks. He promised Assad the First a total Israeli withdrawal from the Golan. But I also believe that the Israeli public itself would not allow its leaders to cave in to such suicidal madness, even if such leaders were that stupid or cowardly. And I don't believe Arik is either.
While many (including myself) fear that Arik's moves in Gaza and elsewhere may backfire, despite some good rationale behind his plans, I also believe that if they do backfire, terror will indeed now have an official address, and -- as American bombers were free to hit Fallujah and elsewhere thousands of miles away from the American heartland -- Israeli F-15s and such must be free to dish out payback exponentially ... and then tell the complaining international hypocrites where they can go. If the Arabs understand that Israel will do this -- despite the complaints and threats from the Foggy Folks and such -- then, ironically, peace may actually have a chance.
Despite our fears (mine too) and the risks, I believe that the Old Warrior still loves Israel and that, given the realities of having to work out a doable solution, he'll still insist on provisions necessary to deal with those fears and risks and do nothing to cause Israel lasting harm.
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