Sunday, June 30, 2002

Evacuation under fire
Speaking on Israeli radio (“Reshet Bet”) this morning, Knesset Member, Haim Ramon, who is currently challenging Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer as chairman of the Labor party, called for an evacuation of all Jewish settlements in Gaza and the smaller isolated settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) unilaterally, without waiting for a renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Ramon is talking about more than Ben Eliezer’s evacuation today of three tiny uninhabited illegal outpost settlements. The more radical Jewish settlers have a policy of putting up these tiny outposts, which usually consist of two to three defenseless and sparsely populated caravans that are a headache for the army that has to protect them, and a drain on military personnel. The settlers take into account that the army will probably eventually evacuate many of them, as they did when Barak was Prime Minister, and the more there are, the better their bargaining position is.

Unilateral evacuation of settlements, at this time, will be seen as a victory by the Palestinians and will encourage them to continue their terror attacks on civilians.

We’re going to evacuate settlements, in the end, and certainly all the settlements in Gaza, but we mustn’t do it under fire. That would be a rerun of the Lebanon withdrawal fiasco, only worse. We all sighed with relief when we got our boys out of that hellhole, but the hurried, even hysterical withdrawal whetted the Palestinians appetites and gave us this war. Evacuation will prove that they’re on the right road and will give them incentive to continue full speed ahead.

We can evacuate settlements before a renewal of negotiations, but only when the Palestinians are bleeding so hard they won’t even notice we’re gone.

This is probably what we should have done in Lebanon.

What can we do? We’re living in a tough neighborhood here. If we don’t beat up the local bullies, we’ve had it.

By the way, I don’t think evacuation of settlements has anything to do with building the security fence. The sooner the fence is built, the better.

They're closing the zoo
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is closing it’s little zoological garden in Abu Kabir, between Yaffo and Tel Aviv. This was never a major tourist attraction. In fact, it was always rather shabby and run down. But when the girls were very young we went there every now and then and they loved it there.

I hate zoos. I can’t stand to see animals in cages. But this place wasn’t about making money, it was more about looking after the animals.

I had hoped they’d find some money somewhere to keep it going. I’m sorry to see it go.

Blowing up history
Apparently, the Palestinian government building, the “Immara” in Hebron that the IDF blew up at the weekend, was a Tiegart fortress. These British-built fortresses are an interesting part of Israel’s history (Hebrew link – I couldn’t find anything in English about this). I’m a big fan of these buildings. The British began building them to be used as police stations during the “Great Arab Revolt” of 1936-1939 and they were designed by Charles Tiegart, who was a British terrorist expert of the day. These fortresses are all over the country and most of them are still being used today as police stations. They are famous for being strategically positioned and difficult to conquer and many of the fiercest battles in the 1948 war of Independence were fought over them.