In a perfect world, the withdrawal from Gaza would be coordinated from start to finish; we would not need a unilateral disengagement as we would have a peace process and it would be part and parcel of a global agreement that would lead to the creation of a viable Palestinian state that enables Israel to prosper as a Jewish and a democratic state. But we are not in a perfect world. Ariel Sharon is only interested in unilateral actions and Mahmud Abbas has not managed to stop violence or consolidate his rule and remains faithful to final status formulae. Finally, George W. Bush has yet to commit to backing the peace process.

In these circumstances, the disengagement is our only choice. It is not an endorsement of this approach but we live in an imperfect world and Sharon is not willing to be replaced as Prime Minister: he does not believe in the peace process but he understands that Israel should withdraw from Gaza and dismantle the settlements and he is better equipped than any other leader to do this work. He is going to destroy the settlers’ houses in Gaza to avoid having to negotiate with the Palestinians but, by doing so, he is fulfilling one of their demands. Under the pressure of the United States, he asked Simón Peresto work on the economic consequences of the withdrawal plan. In the future, Sharon’s policy will become a real problem but, today, it is the best option.

Daily Star (Lebanon)