Gaza Got Shriller - Part I
A long time ago, in a wasteland far far away ...
In 1967 and 1973, Israel threw back invasions that left it in control of territories, the West Bank, rich in holy places and originally part of the modern "Jewish homeland" vision, and a desolate swath called Gaza, and the desert of Sinai. Gaza was always viewed as expendable, in exchange for a peace treaty, Like Sinai, it was simply a buffer zone to prevent a lightening invasion from Egypt. When the Arabs would not deal, the Eshkol and Meir governments (both Labor) decided to allow colonization of the new territories. Otherwise, they were just holding these territories until the Arabs took them back, strengthening the Arabs in any negotiation. In the West Bank, religious and military implications inspired the government to consider annexing the territory and taking permanent control. Gaza was held as a bargaining chip for peace, and some stalworts moved there, with the government's blessings. Israel concluded that, while Jerusalem could not be defended without holding the West Bank mountains, the flat, barren, Philistine Gaza was expendable for a deal.
There is an excellent book called "Place Among the Nations", written in 1992, It recounts Zionism from the 1880s until 1992, and it states the facts mentioned here. It clearly expounds that Gaza was always considered expendable. The author was in a postion to know. It was then terrorism expert MK ... Binyamin Netanyahu. That's right! The same Netanyahu that is roundly criticizing Sharon for leaving Gaza, advocates that solution, and states that the territory is expendable.
So that leaves us Gaza, a bunch of Israelis who were used and lied to, a bunch of politicians who are rapidly in flux, and a few pieces of value to the Arabs like a seaport, an airport, a smuggling route to Egypt, and a safe area for al Qaeda. Our only hope is that Sharon got something good for it from Bush, and it seems that he did get something. In the past, the roadmap consisted of the 2000 Barak - Clinton deal, with all of the West Bank going to the Arabs, and a vow of military restraint. Now it seems that the deal is that the Us will support the annexation of the West Bank settlements and holy places, with the wall in place, and will green light any military operations that the Israelis see fit. This was evidenced by the fact that when Sharon threatened the Arabs yesterday, the US did not warn for restraint and Abbas and even Hamas seem to have taken notice. Perhaps Bush also sees Gaza as a place where al Qaeda might gather, an easier target than Iraq.
OK that is as far into politics as I care to venture, FEH I need to shower now. However, I would like to commend Sharon, the police and the IDF on how the mission was conducted (even if I cannot be so appreciative THAT it was conducted.) Sharon warned the troops that were dealing with brothers and not enemies, the troops seem to have been moved by the sacrifice of the settlers, and some officers even joined the vigils and human chains in a show of moral solidarity. This is a welcome change from the silly belligerence that has accompanied such matters in the past. The settlers should be recognized for protesting peacefully, trying to win the soldiers and police morally, and keeping their perspective in sight enough not to allow the Arabs a victory here. They showed true courage under fire and were able to win the respect of the nation for what they were trying to do. The headlines should read "Resistance Was Fierce"'.
The ball is now in your court, Mr. Sharon. You have ripped our hearts out. WE trusted you. Make it worth it!