Thursday, August 18, 2005

From Beirut to Gush Katif

This article sort of makes me feel like a naive idiot in relation to my previous post.

Aug. 18, 2005
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as The Jerusalem Post correctly noted in its editorial on Tuesday, is hoping that disengagement will produce diplomatic benefits for Israel. As he declared in his speech to the nation Monday night: "Now, the Palestinians [will] bear the burden of proof. They must fight terror organizations, dismantle its infrastructure and show sincere intentions of peace in order to sit with us at the negotiating table. The world awaits the Palestinian response."

But as the editorial also correctly noted, the closest analogue to the current unilateral withdrawal from Gaza is Israel's unilateral pullout from Lebanon in 2000. And if there is one thing that the Lebanese pullout conclusively proved, it is that no such diplomatic benefits will be forthcoming.

When Israel left Lebanon in May 2000, the UN formally certified that it had indeed vacated every inch of Lebanese territory. The government consequently assumed, just as Sharon is now assuming with Gaza, that the onus would henceforth be on Lebanon: Either Hizbullah would have to voluntarily stop attacking Israel, or the Lebanese army would have to deploy in the south to prevent such attacks; if neither of these two things occurred, the world could be expected to treat Lebanon and its Syrian occupiers as the aggressors and support an Israeli military response.

What actually happened, however, was the following:

Hizbullah, defying the UN's certification of the international border, claimed an additional piece of Israeli-held territory for Lebanon and used it as a pretext for continuing attacks against Israel. In the intervening five years, it has kidnapped four Israelis and killed more than two dozen.

The Lebanese army flatly refused to deploy in the south to prevent such attacks.
Despite the continued attacks, the European Union still refuses to declare Hizbullah a terrorist organization.

Every Israeli military response to a Hizbullah attack continues to elicit an immediate UN condemnation.

The international community has refused to exert either diplomatic or economic pressure to persuade Lebanon and Syria (which effectively controlled Lebanon until this spring) to act against Hizbullah. The UN Security Council did call on Hizbullah to disarm, but neither the council nor any member state has threatened penalties for noncompliance.

This July, after Syria withdrew from Lebanon, Hizbullah formally joined the Lebanese government, but announced that it had no intention of either disarming or halting "the resistance" [i.e. attacks] against Israel. The new Lebanese prime minister, Fuad Saniora, then announced that the government supported this decision. Yet even this open defiance of the UN's demand that Hizbullah disarm failed to elicit a condemnation from either the UN or any member state, much less actual pressure on Lebanon.

Even the US, which does consider Hizbullah a terrorist organization, responded not with outrage, but with lavish praise for the new government – "you will not find a more supportive partner than the United States," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Saniora in Beirut – and offers of financial aid.THUS THE pullout from Lebanon, despite being praised by the entire world at the time, produced neither international pressure on Lebanon to halt anti-Israel attacks nor greater international understanding for Israeli military action against such attacks. And the international community is not even pretending that its response to the Gaza pullout will be any different.

Indeed, the world has already made it clear that far from "awaiting the Palestinian response" to Israel's gesture, what it is awaiting is further Israeli concessions.

The UN, the EU and the US have all said openly in recent weeks that following the withdrawal, they expect Israel to move rapidly to realize the road map's plan for a Palestinian state in all of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. None of the three has conditioned this demand on positive developments in Gaza following the pullout.

Moreover, pursuant to that goal, they have issued a list of specific concessions that they expect Israel to make immediately after the pullout, all of them potentially devastating to Israel's security. Yet even the US, traditionally both the most sympathetic to Israel's security concerns and the toughest on Palestinian terror, has declared that Israel must make these concessions even if the Palestinian Authority has not yet started taking action against the terrorist organizations:

Israel must give the PA full control of the Gaza-Egyptian border, thereby forfeiting its ability to prevent arms and terrorists from pouring into Gaza after the pullout.

It must also create a "safe passage" between Gaza and the West Bank, thereby forfeiting its ability to prevent terrorists or weapons from pouring into the West Bank via Gaza.

It must preserve the customs union between Gaza and Israel, which allows goods to move between the two without customs inspections, and also end the stringent security inspections it has instituted in place of such checks – thereby forfeiting its ability to prevent arms and explosives from entering Israel via Gaza.

It must substantially increase the number of Gazans allowed to work in Israel, thereby increasing the odds of terrorists entering Israel in the guise of workers.

It must allow the PA security forces to acquire large quantities of additional arms, even though PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly declared that such arms will not be used against the terrorist organizations, and despite the fact that, to date, such arms have been used almost exclusively against Israel.

In short, far from showing greater understanding for Israel's security needs following disengagement, the international community's response has been to demand that Israel concede all the safeguards most essential to its post-pullout security.

But given the Lebanon precedent, that is hardly surprising. The only surprising part is that Sharon, or anyone else, should ever have expected otherwise.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Face it, Israel will get no thanks for disengagement. The only concession which will satisfy everybody is for all Jewish Israelis to commit suicide and leave their land, possessions and treasures to the Arabs + the right to rewrite history according to Mohammed. Oh, and did I mention all those other pesky Jews/Zionists worldwide? They gotta go too, as they are part of the neo-con conspiracy to deny equality blah blah blah to the deserving dispossessed yawn. And those loopy Christians with their smug, Bible-toting supercilious opposition to the Koran, and to UN commie multiculti harmony. Destroy! Destroy!

Then we will have world peace.


10:29 AM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

You have a way with words, Ryan.

8:25 PM  

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