Thursday, June 3, 2010

Really Leaving Gaza

Aluff Benn is a reasonably cool head by the standards of Haaretz, and well informed. His suggestion for a real disengagement from Gaza is significantly harsher than mine yesterday, but he's got a much larger readership, and the idea needs to be pushed to the center of Israel's public discussion:
How could a disengagement be done? Israel would inform the international community that it is abandoning all responsibility for Gaza residents and their welfare. The Israel-Gaza border would be completely sealed, and Gaza would have to obtain supplies and medical services via the Egyptian border, or by sea. A target date would be set for severing Gaza's water and electricity systems from those of Israel. The customs union with Israel would end, and the shekel would cease to be Gaza's legal tender. Let them print their own Palestinian currency, featuring portraits of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Israel would also make it clear that it will exercise its right to self-defense by inspecting suspicious cargo on the high seas in order to thwart arms smuggling. That is also how the Western powers behave: They search cargo ships for nuclear weapons and missile components. And if we are shot at from Gaza, we will shoot back - with intent to cause harm. We have already proved that we can do so.

Read the whole thing, then find a way to tell our politicians that this is what needs to be done.


Barry Meislin said...

But you seem to be forgetting, as does Aluf Benn, that Israel has no right to self defense.

(Why do we keep forgetting these things?)

It changes nothing.

(Except making Aluf Benn, and a few others, feel a bit better.... 'til the next round, where you can come up with some other ideas to make us feel a bit better, that is, if we're still around.)

Did I say, "changes nothing." No, that's not entirely correct. It means that Hamas rearms with really serious weaponry.

And it means that the suffering of Gazans increases (and you seem to forget who is ALWAYS responsible for that).

And it means that when Israel tries to interdict the inevitable weaponry brought in on tourist cruise ships to the Fundamentalist Islamic Paradise, that those not already convinced that Israel deserves destruction will finally be able to make up their tortured minds on the subject.

Oh, and it means a more ferocious war, the leadup to which is a greater vise grip around the Jewish State and threat of elimination. But then war is unavoidable, in any event.

We have the responsibility to be honest enough to admit it.

NormanF said...

I agree with him. Israeli taxpayers should NOT pay to subsidize a regime bent on Israel's destruction. That means no money transfers to Hamas, no food, no fuel and electricity. It is not Israel's responsibility to babysit the radical Hamas regime. Let it take care of itself and let the world sent in humanitarian aid if it wants to through Egypt. Its makes no sense for Israel to strengthen Hamas' rule at all.

Victor said...

This is different from what you wrote, Yaacov. Leveraging the responsibility for Gaza against Turkish honor and credibility is one thing.

Unilaterally disengaging with worthless, Lebanon-style assurances from the international community is insane.

You proposed specific conditions: the return of Shalit, an international weapons embargo, perhaps enforced by a Security Council resolution, and an end to all attacks, backed by American, European and Turkish credibility.

Those are achievable goals that set the stage for a win/win, no matter what happens.

What Aluff Benn suggests is to unilaterally withdraw and disengage, and thus create another Lebanon - a Gaza crawling with Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, stocking 40,000 missiles in hardened bunkers. This is a complete capitulation to the flotilla's demands. It will be seen as weakness, because it is, will give Hamas a huge victory, and will invite attack and a deterioration of the situation in the West Bank.

He claims Israel will continue to search cargo ships. Really? Every ship that goes to Gaza will be searched? So when an Iranian warship decides to dock in the Port of Gaza, Aluff Benn would advocate what, exactly?

What you wrote had finesse and wisdom. This is insanity.

This Is Hell said...

I have said this for years. Just to be sure, establish a timetable and make it public. And that disengagement must include disconnection from infrastructure as well, e.g. water, power, sewer. In exchange Israel should open the sea lanes to Gaza w/o any restriction at all. Let them bring in whatever they want. There is nothing Israel can do to make the case that firing missiles or worse, into Israel by Hamas is wrong or even objectionable so any attempt to show that disengagement will somehow allow Israel to play the righteous victim card are a waste of time. Build up the defenses and prepare to set a new water level of acceptable levels of sporadic violence. Hamas will never stop but as long as there is no plausible connection between any Israeli action or inaction, and Hamas, it won't really matter. I am not saying anything new here - Jabotinsky said it in 1923.

This Is Hell said...

Moreover if what the west wants is 'proportional response' then trade them random missile for missile. One rocket flies into Israel one rocket flies back, blindly. If it hits an empty field or a children's hospital, no matter either way. If a thousand missiles fly into Israel, then, well you see where this is going; a strategic balance of terror such that any attempt to wipe out Israel will be met with a similar attempt to wipe out Gaza.

Danny said...

I fear that you and Benn underestimate the cynicism of Hamas. They will gladly let their people sit in the dark and die of thirst if they can blame it on Israel. (And they will be able to blame it on Israel.)

Lee Ratner said...

I agree with most of what Aluff Benn says except the closing of the Israel-Gaza border thing. Its not that I think that having an open border would cause warm and fuzzy relations to break out but that it would be seen as too harsh to start with closed borders by the rest of the world. At least for public relations purposes, the Israel-Gaza border should be open for a little while. Also it must be made clear that Hamas is allowed to form diplomatic relations with whomever they like and that any country would be allowed to establish consulates or embassies in Gaza.

Edward Halper said...

This would lead to a bigger headache. Iran would immediately ship food and weapons. Inspecting all incoming vessels would prove difficult or impossible. I don't think the suggestion is very practical. However, they should have their own currency and there is no reason Israel should subsidize their energy needs.