Since December 2003, Ariel Sharon has amazed his friends and enemies by taking the Retreat from Gaza Project into his own hands. It was something he had fought when indicated by his labor party opponent in the January 2003 election, less than a year ago. To many analysts, such retreat will be considered by the Arabs a victory and a sign of weakness on the Israel side. If this analysis is fair, then the retreat from Gaza will be a terrorist victory.
According to Sharon’s plan supporters, this retreat will help strengthen Israel’s defense and take up again the lead over the Palestinians. It is true that with this retreat, Tsahal will no longer lose considerable resources in protecting the isolated Jewish settlements, but will neither patrol the Gaza Strip, so the terrorists will be at large there. They will feel encouraged. And that is what the statements of the leaders of Hamas say already. Moreover, in spite of this retreat, the international pressures on Israel grow stronger. Actually, the supporters of the «schedule» (European Union, UN, Russia and the State Department) will stop only when a Palestinian State has been created, without demanding, for this, anything of the Palestinians.
Little value is given to Israeli justifications, only the facts count. For the above reason, the United States should not support a policy, which weakens its best ally in the Middle East and strengthens the terrorists.
« Retreat from Gaza », by Daniel Mandel, Boston Globe, May 2, 2005.