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Conclusions too soon?

Reader comment on item: [Israel's Gaza Withdrawal:] A Democracy Killing Itself

Submitted by Boris (United States), Aug 15, 2005 at 14:13

I cannot comment on whether the Gaza withdrawal is a mistake or not. However, I don't quite understand why Dr. Pipes makes a negative conclusion right from the start.

Why Sharon has changed his mind? There must be a reason... Just changing somebody's mind should not be considered as a personal weakness or sign of defeat - it may also mean flexibility or political wisdom. I am not saying it is always true, but may be true and in order to make either conclusion I would like to hear more about reasons behind the idea. I can see several good reasons for withdrawal despite some opposite ones.

1. It is too expensive to defend settlements. The risk of attacks may not be so great compared to the amount of effort needed to provide security. Palestinians will blame Israel for all their problems regardless of their actions. Attacks may even increase due to initial excitement, but response to them may become more effective if settlements are no longer there.

2. Palestinians get a solid chunk of the land without any jewish presence. They will have a good opportunity to create a prosperous place to live. They will have an open exit to the sea, an airport and a border with Egypt. Arguments that Israel is still a burden for the Gaza economy are no longer valid - we know examples of small political formations (Hong-Kong, Singapur) that don't have their own natural resources but were very much able to exist in pretty good shape compare to their neighbors. If Gaza fails, that will be another negative impact to palestinian reputation.

3. If Gaza succeeds, this land may become attractive to other palestinians living on West Bank and they may consider to move there, instead of staying on other territories and face jewish majority around them. This trend may lead to eventually complete annexion of the West Bank by Israel. Not a bad trade, considering the size and the value of the land in Judea and Samaria. However, if Gaza fails, there will be even more reason for Israel to keep control on the West Bank because palestinians would prove the entire world that they cannot govern themselves even when nobody interfers.

Playing devil's advocate I can easily name another three reasons, this time against the withdrawal. Analysis of pros and cons - that is what I would like to see in our article, Dr. Pipes, not only quick declarations or references to historical events.
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