Friday, October 15, 2004

Disengagement a Very Bad Plan

Last Monday Ariel Sharon lost a symbolic vote in the Knesset when his political statement, a sort of State of the Union Address delivered at the beginning of each session of Parliament (twice a year), was rejected. The main focus of his statement was the disengagement plan.

I'm glad he lost. This was an operatively unimportant vote, but very symbolic. The Labor Party voted against him. The Haaretz editorial from October 13 criticized them for this, saying that if they want to ever be considered for leadership again, they should support Sharon's plan. I totally disagree. To be taken seriously they can't be Sharon's yesmen. They have to be a serious opposition party. Labor says it supports disengagement but did not support Sharon's statement, which also included his social and economic plans, which it opposes. I don't think the party should support the disengagement plan at all. After thinking it over for months, I have come to the conclusion that it is a disastrous plan. Pulling out without an agreement just makes things worse, and it will convince the Palestinians that violence works, just like the withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 may have encouraged the Intifada that started a few months later.

The far-right settlers oppose the disengagement plan because they want Israel to keep control over Gaza and the West Bank. I oppose the disengagement plan for the exact opposite reason - because I want to leave the territories, but in a safe and secure manner. If we leave unilaterally, Hamas will take over. Nobody will be able to stop their terrorist activities and we'll end up having to send our military there. On the other hand, if we have a treaty with someone on the other side, there will be someone with responsibility to fight terror. They may not want to do that, but at least the world, and most of all the USA, will pressure them into doing so. This won't be peace, but it will be a cease fire.

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