In a recent speech, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that Israel consider unilaterally disengaging from Judea and Samaria.
“If it is impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians,” he said, “we should consider an interim arrangement, or even a unilateral disengagement.”
Now, why didn’t anyone else think of extracting this exquisitely brilliant idea from history’s dust bin? Where are all the smart liberal idealists? How could so many Israeli government officials, university professors, military strategists and other great minds be so blind to so obvious a solution staring them in the face?
The Gush Katif expulsion of nearly ten thousand Jews – the destruction of their homes, the obliteration of beautiful communities that stood as a defense line for cities, towns and villages within the Green Line – has worked out just fine, hasn’t it?
To Barak, apparently, the tranquil nights, quiet days and neighborly love experienced by the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and elsewhere are illustrative of how unilateralism, though designed to punish the uncooperative side in the conflict, can become the brilliant solution that has evaded Israel since the Six-Day War.
Disengagement, they call it in English, hitnatkut in Hebrew. It is a situation where one side is disconnected, detached and disentangled from the other. It is a state of affairs in which I concentrate on doing my thing while you do yours. We are both left alone to proceed as best we can toward the horizon of peace and prosperity, safety and well being, as each of us sees fit.
Why does Defense Minister Barak – who ran away from Lebanon, was ready to gamble away the entire West Bank and Jerusalem to the arch-murderer Arafat, enthusiastically supported the expulsion of the Gush Katif Jews, and blatantly tramples on the rights of the settlers – seem to be the only one with such clarity of mind?
How I wish Ariel Sharon would wake up to see the Messianic days of redemption and goodwill he heralded with his unilateral move to punish PA President Mahmoud Abbas for not playing fair. How I wish the clock could be reversed a bit to allow Barak to congratulate Sharon for brilliantly executing a step in the right direction.
I can visualize the two men sitting in the residential quarters of Sharon’s sprawling farm, drinking a toast to the past and contemplating similar success in the future. We are blessed, truly blessed, by minds such as these.
Then again, if Sharon were around and if they did sit down and discuss the implementation of the next assault on Jewish lives, homes and businesses, who would take credit? It is said that two kings cannot sit on the same throne.
Sharon is not waking up and Barak’s latest suggestion for another unilateral disengagement/expulsion reveals him to be either sleepwalking or comatose in his own right.
Neither condition bodes well for Israel.
Isaac Kohn is senior vice president of Prime Care Consultants.