The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, April 26, 2004
No to the Sharon Plan
Prime Minister Sharon initially claimed his plan would be a package deal. Israel would withdraw from some settlements, strengthen others, and would accelerate construction of the fence.
Yet Sharon has failed to strengthen any of the settlements, while construction of the fence has slowed, with the main settlements blocs not incorporated.
While Sharon has promised Binyamin Netanyahu that the main settlement blocs would be included within the fence, he has also agreed to consult with the Bush Administration before extension of parts of the fence to include Judea or Samaria communities.
Sharon claims that Bush's statement recognizing that Israel will not withdraw fully to the 1967 borders is revolutionary. In fact, Bush did not mention even one post-1967 community that Israel would keep, and Sharon promised not to expand any of the settlements, including Maaleh Adumim, those in Gush Etzion, or in the "Ariel bloc" in western Samaria. It's hard to see how a ban on building within setlements "strengthens" them.
Furthermore, the Geneva Accord and Clinton Plan already recognize that Israel will not return all the way to the 1967 borders, while Presidents Johnson, Reagan and Clinton have all said that full withdrawal is not necessary.
But although I am very uncomfortable with unilateral withdrawal while terror continues, I do not necessarily advocate remaining in Gaza, even in the short term. (Whether withdrawal of settlements will actually allow the IDF to disengage from Gaza is doubtful, and another topic altogether.) While my one visit there (in October) was a very positive experience and it would be very painful if Jews are evicted from their homes, I am cognizant of the fact that many Israelis have extremely negative associations with Gaza. Those of us outside of Israel need to respect Israeli decision on this issue.
I do, however, object to withdrawal from all of northern Samaria, as the Sharon plan requires. It's hard to see the point of such a withdrawal. Without question, Israel will have to continue to engage its military in violent areas such as Nablus and Jenin; dismantling settlements there will hardly reduce the IDF's presence.
Overall, my opposition to the Sharon plan is based upon Sharon's failure to accelerate construction of the fence, and to strengthen the major settlements, along with his unabashed use of misinformation, and his failure to explain why he has changed his worldview. That he revealed his intention to leave Gaza in an interview with Haaretz's Yoel Marcus rather than in a national television address to his citizens is extremely disturbing. He has not bothered to explain to Israelis generally or the Gaza residents particularly, why he, who sent them there, now feels they must leave. Sharon believes it suffices to simply say that he has changed his mind and is right. He does not inspire confidence and does not deserve a vote of confidence.
Sharon's claim that his meeting with Bush achieved something revolutionary and assured the survival of the major settlements is nonsense. He knows this, but cynically tells Likud members that failure to ratify his plan will lead to a collapse in relations with the U.S.
As a result, I hope the Sharon plan is defeated in next week's Likud referendum. And I expect that it will be, in a very close vote amid moderate turnout.