Pipes: Israel Shows Weakness in Gaza

The Jerusalem Post has an article by Daniel Pipes relating to the Gaza withdrawal. Pipes suggests that if “occupation” is the true cause of the Palestinian enmity toward Israel, then withdrawal from Gaza should please the Palestinians and bring them to peace with Israel:

Are Israel’s critics correct? Does the “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza cause the Palestinians’ anti-Semitism, their suicide factories and their terrorism? And is it true these horrors will end only when Israeli civilians and troops leave the territories?

The answer is coming soon. Starting on August 15 the Israeli government will evict some 8,000 Israelis from Gaza and turn their land over to the Palestinian Authority. In addition to being a unique event in modern history (no other democracy has forcibly uprooted thousands of its own citizens of one religion from their lawful homes), it also offers a rare, live, social-science experiment.

We stand at an interpretive divide. If Israel’s critics are right, the Gaza withdrawal will improve Palestinian attitudes toward Israel, leading to an end of incitement and a steep drop in attempted violence, followed by a renewal of negotiations and a full settlement. Logic requires, after all, that if “occupation” is the problem, ending it, even partially, will lead to a solution.

But I forecast a very different outcome. Given that some 80 percent of Palestinians continue to reject Israel’s very existence, signs of Israeli weakness, such as the forthcoming Gaza withdrawal, will instead inspire heightened Palestinian irredentism. Absorbing their new gift without gratitude, Palestinians will focus on those territories Israelis have not evacuated. (This is what happened after Israeli forces fled Lebanon.)

The retreat will inspire not comity but a new rejectionist exhilaration, a greater frenzy of anti-Zionist anger, and a surge in anti-Israel violence.

I agree completely with Pipes. He concludes:

Events, I predict, will prove Israel’s critics totally wrong, but they will learn no lessons. Untroubled by facts, they will demand further Israeli withdrawals. Israel’s one-car crash is dismally preparing the way for more disasters.

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One wonders if so many people see disaster ahead with the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, why is Israel proceeding with this foolish plan?

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