Thursday, August 11, 2005

On Disengagement

Haaretz is counting down the number of days until disengagement. And anyone who reads Haaretz knows they support disengagement. So where do I stand on the topic?

I look at it this way: At some point we'll have to withdraw from Gaza. The demographic realities will make Jews a minority in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in a few years (some say it's already happened). And when that happens we can expect the Palestinians to start demanding some version of the "one person, one vote" system that worked in South Africa. So unless Israel wishes to become an apartheid state, withdrawal is a necessity.

Opponents of withdrawal have yet to come up with an alternative. They voice the negatives of disengagement (there are many), but cannot propose a legitimate choice for Israeli society. The extremists on the right propose expulsion. The regular Israeli will not countenance to such an injustice (never mind the practical aspects of the plan are not feasible). The extremists on the left support a bi-national state, or a "state of all its citizens." Most Israelis are not ready to admit the Zionist project has failed. So what are we left with? Apartheid? Perpetual occupation? Not attractive options.

The question then is whether withdrawal is better than the status quo. And and in that regard I have to say yes. An apartheid Israel will be isolated economically and politically. Are Jews safer that way? Is a country in better shape when it lacks support? Is the devastation of its economy worth Gaza? Is the moral drag on the society worth bug-free lettuce? I don't believe so.

So withdrawal is a must. But is withdrawal right now the smartest move? I don't know. I see the strong security arguments, that withdrawal will embolden the terrorists to continue their terror war, that Abbas will not or cannot stop Hamas from taking over, that Quassams will be landing in Ashkelon, etc. These are powerful arguments. I do not have faith in Abbas, but I do have faith in Sharon. He is Israel's best general, and a man who fought for Israel his entire life. If he believes it'll help the security situation, I'm willing to trust him.

However, I do feel for the people being moved. But they are going to be given large sums of money, the option of moving as a community, and the emotional support that comes from hundreds of thousands of people supporting one's plight. Countries must make sacrifices and it has to be them.

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