Article By General (Res.) Yaakov Amidror

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The Dangers of the Disengagement

Clause (b) of the memorandum to the "Law for Implementing the Disengagement Plan - 2004" emphasises the goals and rationale of the bill, mainly "to lead toward a better security, international, economic and demographic reality."

Not only this plan cannot lead toward a better reality, the entire professional and historical experience indicates that this "unilateral withdrawal", titled "the Disengagement Plan", will prove disastrous and create a very dangerous situation.

This law is based on erroneous foundations, both factually and conceptually, and therefore has no basis for achieving its proposed goal.

Even if the stalemate is harmful, as stated without proof in clause (a) of the background to the law, it should be examined whether the disengagement plan is worse than the stalemate! The answer is clear: Yes! The plan is bound to cause damage to our security, international relations and strategic interests.

1. Our security Situation will be worse - the Kassam rockets that present the main threat from Gaza would be able to reach Ashkelon after the disengagement. Inside the Gaza Strip, the terror infrastructure will get stronger, since the IDF will lose the limited effect it currently has on the situation there. The IDF withdrawal from Northern Samaria will intensify the threats of terrorism and Kassam attacks and bring them to Beit-She'an, Afula and the Jezreel Valley, Pardess-Hanna, the outskirts of Hadera, Netanya and the Sharon.

2. Mohammed Dahlan has already explained that the unilateral withdrawal serves the Palestinian interest. This way, they will receive Gaza "for free", without having to promise anything about the future. Moreover, Israel's government is creating through this step the pattern for future international demand for withdrawals without any Palestinian commitments. This is a very dangerous precedent!

3. International pressure has already increased. Had it been conceivable that the withdrawal would lead to a period of grace, perhaps it would have been possible to judge the move as a way of playing for time. But the Quartet states are already applying pressure and declaring that the process must continue, even before the disengagement has been implemented. Surely, they will step up the pressure after the withdrawal.

4. The plan will change nothing "demographically", since there is no immigration of people from Gaza into Israel. This argument is simply irrelevant to this law.

5. How can economic improvements be promised when no decrease in the security risk is expected, while the plan will require investments of many more billions than planned in re-deploying the IDF under extremely difficult security conditions? The economic argument is an attempt to deceive the legislature and the public.

6. The unilateral withdrawal will serve a fatal blow to Israel's strategic achievement in its war against terrorism. The Palestinians truly and honestly believe that the withdrawal is carried out under the pressure of terrorism. According to opinion polls, 74% of them believe this. There cannot be a worse lesson to the entire region and to the Palestinians in particular, since Israel will prove, through its withdrawal without getting anything in return, that terror pays.

7. In the Introduction to the law, it is claimed that the completion of the plan will invalidate the demands that Israel should take responsibility for the Palestinians of Gaza. It is obvious that Israel will continue to be held responsible for the population in Gaza, as long as it holds the security belt that isolates the Strip from Egypt and the sea. If the IDF withdraws from the 'Philadelphi' line along the Egyptian border and the naval blockade is removed, Gaza will be flooded with Katyusha rockets that could reach Ashdod and other weapons, such as anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, which would stop the IDF from operating in Gaza. The disengagement process will fulfill the dream of the Hamas and the other groups, to establish a terror state that works closely with Hizbullah and Iran. This is the meaning of "the completion of the plan", as the law puts it. It is highly likely to become the practical outcome of the plan, since "the world" will apply pressure on Israel to lift the siege on the Strip.

8. Indeed, there is a "widespread" international support of the unilateral withdrawal, as the law puts it, following Israel's efforts to persuade the US administration to support it - but it also led to a "widespread" international demand that Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 lines, evacuate the Golan Heights, Jerusalem and more. How is this logic supposed to establish and justify the plan, when it is clear that the security, political and strategic result would be worse for Israel?

The security dangers of the unilateral withdrawal were pointed out, also in public, in the professional opinions of the heads of the security branches: the IDF Chief of Staff, the head of the General Security Service and the head of Military Intelligence. It seems that the introduction to the law intentionally ignores these expert opinions.

General (Res.) Yaakov Amidror, Written in November 2004, re-published by HopeWays on 11/August/2005

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