by Richard A. Baehr
When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew 8,000 residents and all of its defense forces from the Gaza Strip in the late summer of 2005, he offered several rationales to support what he called "disengagement." Regrettably, all but one have proven to be illusory. The result has been disastrous -- leading to the creation of a lawless terrorist haven in the Gaza Strip from which the controlling Hamas faction has lobbed thousands of crude rockets indiscriminately into southern
One argument cited was the need to take the teeming Gaza Strip out of the Israeli-Palestinian demographic equation. It was estimated that some 1.5 million Palestinians live in
As it turns out, the demographic scenarios promulgated by those who advocated for an Israeli withdrawal from both
In retrospect, the
A second rationale was that if Israeli settlers were removed from
In the years since its 2005 withdrawal, the IDF has learned a difficult lesson: suicide bombing is not the only way for terrorist to inflict harm upon Israeli civilians. Indeed, a fence cannot prevent projectiles such as rockets, missiles, or mortars aimed at close-by Israeli communities.
These attacks began soon after the
It is unclear whether
A third rationale for Gaza disengagement was that Israel, often maligned in the mainstream media, would win a public relations victory from its unilateral withdrawal. This was wishful thinking. While the media has occasionally heaped scorn upon Hamas for its indiscriminate rocket attacks, the disengagement has done little to improve
Sadly, the occasional criticism of Hamas violence seems to suggest that indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilian targets were somehow more justified during the period when
A Gesture For Peace
A fourth rationale for the
There are currently two Palestinian entities: Hamastan in
Let Gazans Control Their Destiny
The final rationale for the Israeli withdrawal from
At least in one way, this has been a successful experiment. Hamas has demonstrated ingenuity in two areas: construction of smuggling tunnels under the border crossing between
Before its landslide electoral victory in 2006, Hamas was described by naïve observers as the one Palestinian group free of corruption. Compared to the ossified and corrupt Fatah party, Hamas could claim that it was the good government party, particularly since it had been providing social services to Palestinians through its da'wa (outreach) system for years.
Since the election Hamas has proven that feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and providing medicines to the sick are among its lowest priorities. Rather, Hamas has focused all of its resources on attacking
There are two painful lessons that can be learned from the daily rocket fire on Sderot, Ashkelon, and other population centers in
Indeed, every one of the rationales for the 2005 disengagement envisioned a quiet border, and an improved security situation. Hopefully, the Israelis have learned two more lessons from the
Richard Baehr is political director of American Thinker.
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