Why did then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally initiate the Disengagement, which caused and continues to cause so much grief to thousands of Israeli patriots? It resulted in the uprooting of men, women, children, farmers and businessmen, and the destruction of beautiful self-supporting communities – in the worst possible way.
To be fair, I felt for many years that the Jewish settlements in Gaza should be evacuated for a number of reasons. First, the Gaza Strip was never (in my view) a part of the Land of Israel that God chose for the Jewish people. Second, it never made sense to me to maintain eight Jewish settlements protected by thousands of Israeli soldiers, which cost a fortune of money and gained really nothing for the Zionist state.
But now I am so enraged that Sharon forced the Jewish people to leave Gaza. I feel that it was a crime of the highest order.
I would have totally done it differently.
I would have first built another city for the 8,000 Gaza residents or, alternatively, two cities of 4,000 people each or 10 communities accommodating 800 people each. Prior to any disengagement, these new communities would have to have been completely built with full infrastructure – streets, stores, schools, shuls, etc. This would have prevented the horrendous suffering Sharon and his sidekick, Ehud Olmert, caused.
I would have built an electronic fence for the entire length of the Philadelphi Corridor, which would have been manned by Israeli troops at all times. Thus, each breach of the fence would have been known at once by the IDF.
I would have created a kilometer-wide no man’s land near the Egyptian border, followed by a second electronic fence, manned solely by IDF personnel 24 hours a day.
I would have anticipated that Hamas would seek to gain power, which they could only do by smuggling guns through thousands of tunnels. Prior to the evacuation, Hamas had very little military power or clout in Gaza. I would have made it nearly impossible to create tunnels by creating a kilometer-wide canal 100 meters deep from the Mediterranean to the end of the Philadelphi Corridor. This would be monitored by the Israeli Navy with their submarines. To further increase security, a second no man’s land would be created after the sea canal – with two more electronic fences, monitored fulltime by the IDF.
My ideas do not stem from a military mind. I have never been in the military, and have no close relatives with military knowledge. Sharon, a brilliant general and one of the greatest military leaders in Israel’s history, must have come to conclusions similar to mine – or even better ones. Why then did he not implement any of them? Why did he, supported by Olmert and Tzipi Livni, rush the evacuation of Gaza?
The answer to me is obvious: Sharon was unwilling to wait years to launch the Disengagement. He wanted it immediately.
He had personal motives: First, he wanted to save his sons from going to jail for alleged crimes for which they were indicted. He believed that only by drawing attention away from them – through the Disengagement – could they be saved. Second (or alternatively), he may have hoped to start another war against the Arabs.
We can say that this is all in the past, that “could have” or “should have” is pointless. But not everyone learns from past mistakes. In an August 9 Jerusalem Post article by Tovah Lazaroff, and assisted by Gil Hoffman, they write, “Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday August 2, ‘the 2005 Disengagement from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria should never have happened We will not repeat this mistake.’ “
They write further that Livni defended the Disengagement during a Negev tour on August 6. They quote Livni as saying, “Removing the settlements from Gaza was the correct move historically and security-wise.” They added that in her opinion, the Disengagement had improved Israel’s standing in the international community.
In other words, Livni, to this very day, defends the crimes committed against the people and the State of Israel by Sharon and Olmert – and would do the same thing again. The only Israelis who agree with her are, of course, the extreme Leftists, who would give away all of Yehuda and Shomron to the Palestinians.
It is well known that military leaders often make bad politicians.
In the Civil War, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant saved the Union, but arguably became one of the worst presidents in American history. On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln was no general. Neither was David Ben-Gurion or Menachem Begin. Their political records speak for themselves.
The purpose of this article is to hopefully make everyone understand that Kadima, created by Sharon and now led by Livni, is the worst party to ever be involved with “saving” our precious state. I want to wake up the Leftists, including the professors from many Israeli universities who lead or side with the Left, and tell them that it is time that we save this country, and that it cannot be done by the methods of a Sharon, Olmert or Livni – or anyone affiliated with them.
Max Weill is a resident of Jerusalem.