by Jeff Jacoby
Five years ago this week, the Gaza Strip was forcibly purged of its Jews. In the largest non-combat operation in the history of the Israeli Defense Forces, 50,000 troops were deployed to expel some 9,000 residents and destroy the 21 pioneering communities in which some of them had lived for nearly four decades. (Four communities in northern
The name given to this expulsion by
"What will we have gained by destroying thriving communities, dividing Israeli society, and embittering some of our most idealistic citizens?" one thoughtful Israeli commentator, Yossi Klein Halevi, wrote at the time in The Jerusalem Post. "The most obvious . . . gain is what we will lose: We will be freeing ourselves from more than a million Palestinians."
Many Israelis -- and many supporters of
Had any of this actually come to pass, the trauma and destruction of the
Far from encouraging Palestinian moderation, disengagement energized
The fruit of disengagement was not the "new morning of great hope" that Sharon and Olmert -- and their countless enablers in the West -- envisioned. Instead, it was an erosion of respect for Israeli strength and deterrence. It was the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and the three-week Israel-Hamas war that began at the end of 2008. It was the entrenchment of
Most Israelis who supported disengagement now express regret. But too many of them remain in the grip of the "peace process" delusion -- the
Disengagement was an abomination for a lot of reasons, but for one above all: It began from the premise that any future Palestinian state must be wiped clean of Jews. Did
Jeff Jacoby is a
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