Friday, October 29, 2004

Gaza Stripped Bare

It was a gutsy move by Ariel Sharon to put the removal of settlements in Gaza up for a vote in the Knesset. Thankfully, he won. It is shameful to see Sharon's opponents within the Likud using the settlers issue as one to try and undermine Sharon, and presumably try and take over the leadership. Political warhorses like Bibi Netanyahu should know better than to play politics on this issue. All sides of Israeli politics have known for years and years that this moment would come - the settlements are unsustainable, costly and politically undesirable if Israel is to demonstrate its commitment to a Palestinian state - and it does no good to make the withdrawl any harder than it has to be.

There is talk that this issue might create an existential crisis for Likud, the party which founded and vehemently supported the settlers, and now look like they will cut off the life line. The argument is that the issue will create two irreconcilable factions, pro and anti settler. This is a short-sighted piece of analysis - Sharon will have his way, the settlers will return to mainland Israel, and the pro-settlers will fall into line. Long the hero of the hard right, Sharon may have just scored himself an entry in the peace camp's "Book of People Whose Guts We No Longer Hate".

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ari, I wouldn't say that Bibi and the others are playing pure politics on this issue. You have to remember the extreme make up of Israeli politics, in that many truly believe that the settlements are a part of Israel, and one that should not be given away in a apparent aquiesence to Hamas and co. For Sharon to turn his back on the hundreds of settlers who will have to seek new lives is truly offensive to some MKs.

It is more than a game of politics. It is a matter of beliefs and ideaology.

Anonymous said...

It's good that the Israeli Knesset has won the right to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. Did you know that Gaza is the same size as Manhattan, but with one-sixth of the Manhattan population? The Palestinians can finally create the Palestinian state. Problem is that the Palestinians are too greedy and want all of the 21,000 sq km of land (Gaza, West Bank and Israel) to create a one-state solution.

God praise Ariel Sharon for his remarkable move towards peace in the Middle East and his support for a two-state solution. Now the Palestinian Minister for Infrastructure should now start building high-density apartment for the Palestinians to live in. Plus he/she must get ready to build more of these apartments in West Bank, for the Palestinian refugees who will be migrating to the new state of Palestine.