Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Good analysis of the Gaza situation from an Israeli perspective: The Gaza Paradox, by Michael Oren.

Such is the situation in Gaza today where a commanding majority of the population is no longer willing to risk their--or their children's--lives defending 7,500 settlers from the million Palestinians surrounding them. They do not regard Gaza as part of their spiritual and historical homeland, nor see how Israel can remain within the densely populated strip and retain its Jewish and democratic character. By insisting on perpetuating the status quo in Gaza, then, the right threatens to undermine the implicit pact that binds Israeli society--which enables the state to survive.

The left, on the other hand, holds that the recent deaths of 13 Israeli soldiers in Gaza were a direct result of the government's settlement policy and its refusal to seek Palestinian partners for peace. The 13, however, died not defending settlements but destroying tunnels used to smuggle explosives into Gaza, and the factories that produce Qassam rockets. Those explosives killed 10 Israelis in a suicide-bomber attack on the coastal city of Ashdod, and the rockets have struck Jewish towns and villages outside of the strip. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza will do nothing to lessen these threats--on the contrary, it will almost certainly enhance them, enabling the Palestinians to acquire even deadlier missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv.