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Strictly speaking Ariel Sharon was neither naive nor cynical regarding the Gaza withdrawal.

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Submitted by Anon. (Israel), Dec 21, 2015 at 13:30

Sharon knew the Palestinians will not choose peace. He'd torn up the road-map and said the road-map is dead. The unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was meant to underline that there's zero chance in the present day for reaching any kind of peaceful accomodation. He pointed out that (in theory) Palestinians could turn Gaza into Singapore but the withdrawal wasn't predicated on that outcome. What Ariel Sharon was looking for was for a long-term interim solution which would have to hold until the Palestinians will one day decide to make peace, hence no negotiations and a unilateral pullout. His plan was to bomb Gaza whenever Gaza would launch attacks while pointing out that they aren't occupied and aren't 'resisting occupation'. Sharon would have been able to bomb Gaza quite liberally by saying "We didn't pull out in order to allow them to launch rockets and attacks on us".

Unfortunately Sharon went into a coma and Olmert allowed Gaza's decision to inflitrate Israel, kill Israeli soldiers and kidnap Shalit to go without a military strike in response. Olmert woke up to the consequences when Hizbollah did the same thing a short time afterwards, fully expecting Israel to take it on the chin. Had Olmert bombed Gaza earlier, that war in Lebanon would have been avoided.

Sharon wasn't naive and he'd said at the time that he believes the current generation of Palestinians cannot make peace. The only thing he said he'd changed his mind about is the feasibility of getting the world to accept Jordan as the Palestinian state, hence his decision to unilaterally pull out of Gaza (and later, presumably out of a limited portion of the West Bank) to create a de-facto Palestinian state with temporary borders.

The left, by the way, was upset that Sharon didn't hand over Gaza to Abu Mazen, treating it as an oversight or a mistake, when actually it was a matter of principle.

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