Monday, August 22

The Disengagement Scenario and Future

Over the last few days, we have all watched scenes of the disengagement on TV, which have left many people with mixed feelings. Some of the scenes are heart rending and others very frustrating. Many settlers have resigned themselves peacefully to their relocation from the doomed settlements while others have put up cynical resistance.

Some settlers have been showing resistance and have been making cynical use of their small children in demonstrating against the inevitable. The masses of rubble of many palatial homes are now the order of the day. Despite supporting the disengagement, one cannot help but feel certain empathy for those who have to leave their homes. Those who have left peacefully and offered no resistance deserve our support and help for relocation in the Israeli heartland. Those who offered resistance and used almost every violent demonstration trick by pelting the soldiers with acid, and insulting those carrying out their duty, deserve punishment according to law.

It was terrible to see the abandonment of pets in the massive exodus from the territories. How could people be so heartless and cruel! Cats, dogs, puppies of all sizes and poultry are left to die of thirst and hunger. This is one of the worst aspects of the disengagement. Nobody cares about them. Thanks to some volunteers with inadequate resources from the animal welfare societies who lack funds, are fighting a losing battle to save these unfortunate animals. Why has the government not given a thought to this? Do pets deserve this cruel treatment?

The blame for this scenario is the various governments of Israel since the Six Day War of June 1967. The predecessors of the Labor Party - Mapai were no less to blame than the following Likud Governments. A false optimistic vision for the future created an impetus for the settlements. Why were people encouraged to move to areas occupied after the Six Day War? Surely, it was preferable the occupied areas remain closed military zones and a bargaining chip for a future peace agreement! Look at what has happened! Now nearly two generations of settlers have grown up in the Gaza strip with battalions of soldiers risking their lives protecting them from Palestinian terror groups. Now they have to leave with their dignity dented and find new homes. Was it worth it? These settlers were doomed from the start. A hostile Palestinian population who never wanted them as neighbors surrounded them. A generation of young radical Palestinians growing up in poverty and overcrowded conditions had grown up alongside affluent and wealthy settlers. This in itself had increased the animosity of the Palestinians towards them. Many of these radicals have become involved in organizing and carrying out terror.

What is going to happen to the occupied areas of the West Bank? Here the situation is more complex. There is the issue of Jerusalem, which is difficult. There will be pressure to withdraw from the West Bank as well once the Gaza withdrawal is completed.

There is no doubt that more withdrawals are on the horizon compounded with the problem that Hamas and Co are not showing any signs of recognizing Israel's right to exist under any circumstances. Hamas and Co will be major card players in partnership with the Palestinian Authority.

The future scenario will be very grim unless the uncompromising mindset of these radical pressure groups change. If there are withdrawals from the West Bank, it is doubtful if that would get wide ranging support from the Israeli population as the Gaza withdrawal did.

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