The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Jewish Press Letters
This week's Jewish Press published three letters responding to my front page piece of last week. Here are the letters, and my response:
I agree wholeheartedly with Joseph Schick`s observation that "Sharon`s disengagement plan should be understood and assessed as a partial retreat to avoid a much more dangerous return to the 1967 borders" ("Understanding Sharon's Plan," Jan. 9).
I am amazed, however, that someone so obviously sophisticated could write that "Israel should withstand U.S. pressure related to the disengagement plan." The sum and substance of the situation is that without U.S. support, Israel would stand all alone in a very lonely, very cold and very desolate place.
Richard Mandelbaum (Via E-Mail)
If Israel would accept the U.S.'s directives, it wouldn't be building the fence - a key part of the disengagement plan - in the first place. Certainly it would not be building part of the fence beyond the Green Line.
As I wrote in the column, it's foolish for Israel to bicker with America on issues that are not vital. But on key issues, occasional disagreement with the U.S. is rarely harmful to Israel's strategic situation. As I wrote, Israel developed Har Homa despite strong U.S. pressure; today Har Homa is a large neighborhood, while the pressure of Clinton and Albright are a distant memory.
Re Joseph Schick's compelling cover essay:
I believe Sharon fears that ultimately Israel will never be allowed to keep any part of Yehuda and Shomron or East Jerusalem. But he also knows there will be stiff opposition in Israel to any uprooting of settlements. So he came upon a middle plan of relatively minor uprootings as a seemingly benign way of beginning the inevitable process.
Yocheved Alpert Jerusalem
I think this letter is generally accurate, though I'm not sure that Sharon believes Israel will have to withdraw fully to the Green Line. More likely, he knows that a withdrawal from most of Judea and Samaria is eventually inevitable, and that it is therefore not worthwhile to invest in the weakest, most isolated communities.
I find Joseph Schick`s articles very enlightening, and I appreciate the lawyer-like way he marshals his arguments. But I wonder whether the overwhelmingly elected leader of a sovereign nation - a leader about to make a series of agonizing decisions - really needs to be chided that settlers who are to be subject to forced evacuation should not be used as political pawns and should immediately be fully informed, now.
Ariel Sharon is not a lone ranger at the helm of his country. Nor is he a dunce. Nor is he running a candy store. It`s time we all understood this.
Gilbert Handler Brooklyn, NY
Sharon's failure to announce which settlements he intends to dismantle is not motivated by some grand strategic plan. If it were, he'd stop Ehud Olmert and others from leaking his plans to the Israeli media and even the New York Times.
It's hardly a secret that certain isolated settlements will likely be eliminated. Sharon is vague only because he knows that ambiguity helps avoid an unwanted coalition crisis and the withdrawal of the right-wing parties. I stand by my statement that this is wrong: Unless some national interest would be compromised, residents slated for imminent evacuation have a right to be informed of the government's intentions toward them. And while I did not write that full information about evacuation must be revealed now, I frankly do not understand what harm this would cause Israel, as opposed to Sharon politically.
Indeed, Sharon is not running a candy store. This is serious business for Sharon, for Israel, and for the people who will be forced out of the homes a younger Ariel Sharon asked them to live in. A candy store owner intending to lay off an employee would inform the unfortunate employee. The Prime Minister of Israel should do no less toward his citizens.