69 million page views

A Few Comments on the Gaza Disengagement

Reader comment on item: "Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem"

Submitted by Solomon Weiskop (United States), Aug 10, 2005 at 22:06

I must confess I have struggled with the issue of disengagement from Gaza. Not too long ago, I had managed to convince myself that disengagement was inevitable and perhaps even desirable. However, as the date draws closer I find my opposition to it becoming more and more determined.

Here are some points I've been thinking about:

(1) The possibility of a significant number of refusals by IDF soldiers to carry out their Gaza disengagement orders is definitely troubling. As IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said, this could potentially create "militias within the IDF". But let's examine this. Doesn't this unprecedented and awful possibility suggest, perhaps, that the mission in Gaza assigned to the IDF by Sharon is inappropriate? If the Israeli government claims the settlers in Gush Katif are, after Aug 15, in violation of Israeli law, then that is a criminal matter and should be dealt with by the police and not the IDF. The proper mission of the IDF is to defend the State of Israel and its people from external threats, not to do police work. To expose the IDF and its absolutely vital bond with the people of Israel to this kind of trauma is, I believe, seriously irresponsible of Sharon's government.

(2)The "moral" argument for disengagement is that the Israeli military occupation of Gaza must end. However, the real difficulty here is not ending Israel's military presence in Gaza. That would be easy (as easy as it was in South Lebanon). The real difficulty is ending Israel's civilian presence. However, it is well understood that if the Gush Katif settlers were left in Gaza without IDF protection, they would be summarily massacred by Palestinians, probably even if they were willing to accept Palestinian citizenship. So, the real moral question is not 'Why can't the IDF end its military occupation?', but rather 'Why can't a small Jewish minority live in Palestinian sovereign territory without being massacred?' Why should the Palestinians' willingness to massacre unprotected Jews provide them with bargaining leverage? Why should the security offered by Israel to its Arab minority, conversely, reduce Israel's bargaining leverage? These, I believe, are the real moral questions here.

(3) A basic difference between holding a pro- or anti-disengagement stance is this: Whereas postponing or even cancelling disengagement is a reversible step, carrying through disengagement is ultimately irreversible, as are its potentially catastrophic consequences. Thus, if there is no clear and generally recognized advantage of pro- versus anti-disengagement (and according to current poll results reported in Ha'aretz, among Israeli Jews the split is almost exactly 50-50) then reason dictates that one ought to favor anti-disengagement. Were disengagement to be postponed or temporarily cancelled, the political process that lead to the disengagement decision could be reexamined in the light of the obvious trauma it is causing Israeli society, and also, a referendum could be held.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)