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Eminent domain and other legalese

Reader comment on item: The Forcible Removal of Israelis from Gaza

Submitted by B. Kopstein (Canada), Apr 12, 2005 at 01:00

I disagreed, last week, with your characterization of the removal of the Jewish population of Gaza as "Ariel Sharon's Folly". I agree with you this week, however, that what Sharon intends to do has no historical precedent.

There is simply no basis to justify the removal of the population from Gaza under the doctrine of Eminent Domain. It does not apply. Gaza was never recognized, de jure, as part of Israel. That it has occupied that land, de facto, for stratigic, defence and bargaining purposes, was justified. But despite the Kahanists' claim to Gaza and the West Bank for eternity, Israel cannot mount the right of eminent domain because Gaza is not recognized by any country, as being within the borders of Israel. As for the internment of Japanese or the French withdrawal from Algeria, they are not parallel situations which bear realistic comparison.

You have advocated that Israel should do what DeGaulle did in Algeria. Withdraw, and allow those who wish to stay, to do so. Let them stay without police or army protection to be slaughtered by the larger hostile population? Let them stay, and provide adequate protection? At what cost in terms of resources? At what cost in terms of world opinion if Israel retains a military presence in an independent state?

Successive governments of Israel encouraged settlement. That Sharon, once the hawk, and still the hawk in some ways, has come around to the position that Israeli's must get out of Gaza, either voluntarily with generous incentives, or by force if necessary, in my opinion, gives him statesmanship status.

The loudest voices opposing that decision come from those extemist religious elements who are as committed to their cause of driving all Arabs out of the region, as are Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah to driving the Israelis into the sea. ... When fundamentalism enters the equation, good bye reason.

B. Kopstein


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