The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, June 03, 2004
One of the common arguments by those opposed to withdrawal from Gaza goes something like this:
"People ask how 7,500 Jews can live in Gaza surrounded by over a million Arabs who want to kill them. Well, if that's the case, then how can 5 million Jews live in the Middle East, surrounded by hundreds of millions of Muslims who want to kill them?"
Here are two reasons why this argument fails. First, Israel is at least tacitly recognized as a legitimate state by the developed world. It's not treated like one, but there is official recognition. In contrast, nobody recognizes the legitimacy of Israel's settlement in Gaza.
Second, Israel's being surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs is exactly why it is difficult to envision retaining even part of Gaza in its permanent borders. Israel's best approach is to retain as much territory as possible with as few Arabs as possible within that territory. That way, it can try to achieve a separation from the world around it, as an oasis of democracy, development and sanity in an otherwise crazed region.
This strategy would not be compromised by settlement in, and eventual annexation of, certain parts of Judea and Samaria, which has lots of empty space and plenty of room for development. Gaza, however, is among the most crowded areas in the world, and the high birthrate among Arabs there is making things even worse.
This is not to say I support the Sharon plan. While I expect Sharon's unilateral withdrawal plan to eventually go forward, I oppose it because he lied outright when he promised to respect the results of the Likud referendum and because contrary to his assurances when he introduced the plan, he has done little to strengthen Jerusalem or parts of Judea and Samaria that Israel wants to permanently retain. As a result, Palestinians will likely see the withdrawal as a sign that their campaign of terror has succeeded and that Israel is on the run.