In a very disturbing (but not unsurprising) interview with Moshe Yaalon -- the previous IDF Commander in Chief, Yaalon outlines the background that lead to the Disengagement. Were I to write this last year, I would have been branded a Right-Wing Conspiracy nutjob (fine, there are those who still label me that today), but it's crucial to read this and understand how Israel ended up where it is today.
Former IDF chief of general staff Moshe Yaalon said Thursday that Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip is a failure, saying the plan was conceived to save former prime minister Ariel Sharon from political distress.
"There is no doubt that the disengagement failed. This failure emanates from the fact that the disengagement was essentially based on a doomed idea. It was not the result of thorough strategic analysis but the result of a political distress of his who was prime minister then, Ariel Sharon," Yaalon told Haaretz.
Here's one example of many, of what Ariel Sharon used to say about Gaza:
"Those who suggest that the solution is to flee from Gaza are, in effect, proposing that we abandon it when stricken and defeated by terrorism. If we run from terror, it will pursue us, and the Gaza Strip will turn into a terrorists' base, paralyzing the settlements in the northern and western Negev and even beyond." ("Its Possible to Stop Terror," The Jerusalem Post International Edition, Dec. 26, 1992.
But I don't blame the JBlogosphere for their opinions last year. They were sold a plan -- one of morality and security, one that attempted to end a serious problem, and it was sold by master Defense Strategist, Ariel Sharon. Who could possibly find fault with Arik -- the defender of Israel...the builder of the settlements. If Sharon decided that the Disengagement had to happen, then he was the man to carry it out.
Speaking to Haaretz, the former chief of staff said: "The process created an illusionary hope that was not planned strategically and practically. The disengagement was mainly a media spin. Those who initiated it and lead it lacked the strategic, security, political and historical background. They were image counselor. They were spin doctors. These people put Israel in a virtual spin that is disconnected from reality using a media spin campaign which is imploding before our eyes."
"The intellectual failure of the disengagement is this: the fact that there is no one to speak to on the other side doesn't mean that we can ignore the other side and the effects of his activities on us. The fact that even the Fatah leadership is not ready to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state while it says it is committed to the road map peace plan doesnÂt mean it is possible to ignore the fact that pulling out under fire is perceived as surrender and encourages terror," he said.
"The Israeli public backed the disengagement because it was blinded and drugged and also because it really wanted to free itself from the burden of the conflict and divide the land. But we have to understand that although we are trying to shake the Palestinians off our backs they refuse to do so and stab us instead. We shouldn't fool ourselves. We live in the Middle East. We cannot barricade ourselves behind walls and fences. There is no such thing as unilateralism. Even when we refuse to talk with our neighbors there is interaction with them.
Our steps affect them. When the steps are withdrawal after withdrawal, after withdrawal, we convey weakness. And he who conveys weakness in the Middle East is like a weak animal in nature: he comes under attack."
Pro-Disengagement does not mean anti-Israel.
Yet seeing the current security situation in hindsight, the government's intentional miserable treatment of the displaced settlers, and Olmert's planned "convergence" that doesn't offer any security solutions -- everyone needs to take a step back and honestly re-evaluate what really drove the Disengagement in the first place.
** Article from Haaretz reprinted in English by YNetnews.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael