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« Media Review | Main | JPost: South Africa Provides Diplomatic Cover for Iran »

March 06, 2006



How can unilateral withdrawals make sense, all the pain and nothing in return. Kadima may be the closest to etabilshing some form of permanent borders, but at what expense? The withdrawals are tearing apart the very soul of our nation and forcing teenage boys to don uniforms and expel their brothers, full of tears and growinng hatred for each other.
Is borders all we care about? we can have firm borders but if we have nothing within them to protect, it will all be for naught.
Soul searching as nation should be the agenda of this election, because i fear if we do not do this soon, we may do our enemie work for them, I hope time proves me wrong!


GB I appreciate the opinion that we get nothing in return. It does appear at times that the process is futile and offers us little reward. But we have to step back and appreciate the bigger picture.

The majority of the Jewish people did not return from exile to join their brothers in Israel in order to rule over other populations. We certainly did not mind incorporating minorities and allowing them to live free from their relevant obligations to a Jewish state. but we did not want to rule over a group of violent and determined people almost as populous as our own.

To avoid resolving the Palestinian issue becuase they have historically been led by a corrupt and foolish leadership and leaving their anger to linger will only make the situation worse.

Israel must separate from them and from the land where they live. Should they wish to join together with us and build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship, ofcourse we will join them. but if they don;t at least we will have defendable borders. And our civilian centres will be free from continuous terrorist threat. We don;t have that without disengagement.

What we will have within these borders, is a Jewish majority living in a Jewish country. We will not be unified with one mind - jews never have been (In Israel especially). That is the hardest part of the zionist realisation. The beauty of the jewish people in Israel was always their diversity not their commonality.


The term "permanent borders" is a misnomer. We have seen over the years how the policies of the extreme left have swept into the mainstream right - in short, time allows us to make concessions which previously had seemed unthinkable. Will the Palestinians, especially with a Hamas leadership ever recognise Israel's right to exist to within secure borders. The idea seems fanciful. And once we withdraw unilaterally the area of land left to conquer only becomes smaller and easier to take over.
Once we withdraw how does that make the borders permanent? In the sense that Hamas and the Palestinians will stop demanding more land? NO. In the sense that the global community will recognise Israel's borders and not expect any further concessions? NO. In the sense that even the Israeli left will stand firm and dismiss the need for further withdrawal? NO.
The idea that by withdrawing and showing our willingness to concede, we will come to a stage where there are no concessions left to give before we receive something substantial in return, is simply not pragmatic.
The only time Israel will ave universally recognised "permanent" borders is when they begin and end in the sea.


GB...Mike and I have chatted about this approach for some time now. When I was in Israel in December it was constantly on our mind.

On a bus drive to Hebron I remember watching the beautiful rolling hills of Judea. And all through the journey I kept thinking...are these the losses we need to make?

No-one says it wont be painful. There is an analogy I like to use for this. If a mountain climber contracts gangrene then they may get to a stage where they have to amputate their foot. If they dont then the rest of their body is at risk.

Amputating the foot is the only chance they have of surviving. The amputation will be painful. It will leave deep scars. They will never be the same after the amputation.

But they will still be alive.

Today demographics dictate that our dreams are not possible. But we need to focus on the miraculous achievements we have made since 1948. And when you think of what we accepted in 1948 versus where we will be after this proposed disengagement...well its not too bad is it?

But we all know that it will be painful. we all know that we are getting nothing from the Palestinians.

Its about what we believe we can secure for ourselves - not about what we can get from them. because make no mistake - at this point in time, as in previous years, we can get nothing from them.


One thing is for certain - as GB says - : these elections certainly are the time for soul searching.

Jak: my problem is what if we do integrate all the disputed territories into Israel?

Our democracy demands that we give citizenship to the Palestinians if we annex the land within which they live. Just like we offered it to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

In a few years they will then be the majority...



I'm not necessarily suggesting that we integrate all the disputed territories either. However, there is a vast difference between giving up land in a negotiated settlement and unilateral withdrawal which provides dividends to terror.

And yes, we definitely cannot negotiate with Hamas so we are left with a bit of a sticky situation. But recent studies have shown that the demographic demon is not as immediate a threat as most people seem to think. A lot of fraudulent and outdated data has been used in many studies and while it is still a major consideration, in the time frame we're talking about it is not strong enough a factor to force us into such extreme concessions.

I see your analogy slightly differently. In the case of unilateral withdrawal we're not talking about somebody who has to amputate a gangrenous foot in order to survive. We're talking about amputating the foot and then discover that the gangrene has spread into the leg and that needs to be amputated next.

I will admit I may not have the solution, but I only see this path leading us down a slippery slope.


Fair comment...

Im busy reading Bibi's book "a place among the nations".

He makes a very strong argument against us relinquishing judea and samaria.

If i have time then I will summarise his argument...


GB, you make great points. I really do understand the pain. I find the image of a Jewish army being forced to expel Jews from their homes as repulsive as you do. But I believe that it is a necessary sacrifice to ensure the survival of Israel as a Jewish state. If the current situation continues, Israel will eventually be forced by the international community to establish a single state in what was Western Palestine. It is extremely likely that the majority population of that single state would in a decade be non-Jewish. There is no way Israel could retain its nature as a Jewish state when most of its population is non-Jewish. So that spells the end of Israel as we know it. I am sure you don’t support that.

Your second point is all very important. You argue that we need to focus on strengthening the Jewish character of the state is more important than permanent borders. I agree with you that soul searching is absolutely necessary. I feel many Israelis have lost much of their Jewish identity. I think this also poses an existential threat to Israel as we know it. But I don’t believe its one or the other. I believe we need both. Kadima offers permanent borders. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a viable political party that offers to strengthen Israel’s Jewishness. Do you know of any?


Gersh, it seems to be a pattern. Twice now we are in agreement.


Mike, great minds sir


Jak. You made very strong points on permanent borders. I agree with you that Hamas will not recognise any borders.

However, in my mind the purpose of disengagement is to create DEFENDABLE borders not neccesarily PERMANENT ones.

When the tzadik (said for dramatic effect) Ariel Sharon became president he was faced with a depressed population in a deep recession. Not one week went by without a jewish mother saying kadish for a child killed by terrorists for over 2 years in Israel. Since then, the construction of the security barrier and withdrawal from Gaza have made the major population centres much easier to defend. And has inflated the economy and re-invigorated public morale.


It seems that if we want the fence then we need to accept the idea of withdrawals.


By your own admission we aren't talking about permanent borders here. And if that's the case it seems to me that the borders we have at the moment are a lot more defendable than they would be were we to withdraw (and subsequently be forced into further concessions.)

True during Ariel Sharon's term as PM we saw a decrease in the number of terror attacks due to effective counter-terror measures by Israel including the fence and targeted assasinations. But the withdrawal from Gaza was a backward step from all those gains. While the number of attacks has been reduced, motivation is still higher than ever and the number of attempted attacks has not curbed. Gaza has become a lawless, terrorist anarchy and Israle is currently faced with daily rocket attacks (which frighteningly seem to be getting closer and clsoer to the Ashkelon power plant.)

In terms of public morale, we were definitely much better off before the disengagement. In fact, I would argue that public morale is at an especially low point. The tensions between different sectors of Israeli society - left and right and religious and secular are as high as they have ever been, and arguably the most morale-boosting and last remaining idealistic group of the Israeli population (the right and religious right) are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the State and its institutions and have been on the receiving end of a vicious campaign of demonization.
The morale boost that came with the drop in terror seems to be a thing of the past.


Totally off topic, but since the post is the most recent and also mentioned Hamas' being the government of Palestine I thought I'd highlight some statistics I found.

Hamas is technically a minority government. They only won 44% of the vote. I recall repeated attacks on the legitimacy of George W. Bush's election in the States in 2000 for being such a close call and by the same standards Hamas is even less so.

Further, 43% of Hamas voters seem to have voted for the party on the basis that they were fed up with Fatah corruption and thought Hamas would deliver better basic services. That remains to be seen though.

Palestinian support for a two state solution is also reaching 80% now. Clear majorities of Israeli's and Palestinians prefer the two state solution.


Wayne, where did u see the 43% stat? A bit sceptical of how it was calculated. Hamas definitely won a majority of seats (more than 50%) in the Palestinian legislature. It was a complex calculation though based on regional votes and on a proportional basis. Also your stat of 80% of Palestinians support a 2 state solution looks too high. Over the last decade it has consistently been in about the 60% range. Interesting to know if that is a sudden jump.


Good points Wayne.

Yossi Alpher recently mentioned this though in one of his articles. (He was a negotiator during Oslo).

The majority of Palestinians may still favor a negotiated two-state solution, but they also continue to support suicide bombings. And if their sole reason for voting for Hamas was to kick out the corrupt Fateh establishment, they could have voted for squeaky-clean Palestinian secularists like Salam Fayad, who ended up with only two mandates. Hamas won its parliamentary majority fairly. Now it has to rule.

Hamas has never hidden the fact that their number one goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and driving all the Jews who reside with in into the sea. It is irrelevant what social services they offer, their platform of Jew-hating cannot be ignored.
It is an insult to the intelligence of the voting Palestinian population to claim that they did not think about Hamas' policy vis-a-vis Israel when voting for them.
At worst, we could say that all those who voted for Hamas seek the annihilation of the Jewish State. At best, we could say that they are not inherently opposed to the idea. Either way, we are not talking about people who are actively seeking a 2-state solution.


I must disagree with you Jak. No one political party satisfies all your political positions. For example there are many people in America who vote Republican but are pro abortion. So it is possible that many of the people who voted for Hamas do not support Israel’s destruction. But it is a totally irrelevant point. A government is not compelled to make decisions based on opinion polls. They have been voted into power for whatever reason and will now do as they please. While the majority of Palestinians may not support the destruction of Israel, their democratically elected Hamas government certainly does.


Mike, It's definitely true that often people vote for parties with whom they differ on specific issues. But differences of opinion on specific issues is not comparable to disagreeing with a central platform. Imagine Israelis voting for Kadima because they support them on all issues except for unilateral withdrawal. That doesn't make sense. You have to assume that an Israeli who votes Kadima is not inherently opposed to the path of unilateral withdrawal, and similarly Palestinians who vote Hamas cannot be said to be inherently opposed to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State.

In any case as you mention, the Palestinians have elected upon themselves a leadership committed to terror and noone can dispute that.


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