Thursday, May 27, 2004

Gaza Plan



Sharon says he wants to get the Jews out of Gaza and then just surround the place, so they can't import weapons. I guess that's a kind of peace. Could have fooled me.

If getting out is such a great idea, why didn't he do it three years ago? Or why not just do it right away? On the other hand, if Jews really do need to live in Morag or Netzarim in Gaza, why not kick out the Palestinians to make the place safer? The Palestinians couldn't be any angrier, could they?

Perhaps all I can do on the Gaza question is prove I don't understand the issues. If only Sharon and Arafat could prove they do understand the issues...

Did Sharon think that Likud would vote up his plan, and it failed because he was out-maneuvered? How does a small group of "Settlers" out-maneuver the head of the country in an election that Sharon wasn't forced to call? I can think of some conspiracy theories, but nothing that makes any sense. Sometimes people just make mistakes, but this one is hard to believe.

I don't think Sharon or Likud has any plan to evict the Palestinians from Gaza, so why is everything so complicated? Did they have an eviction plan three years ago? They'd have to have been crazy. So obviously, control of Gaza was a negotiating chip three years ago, to be given for consideration. So why abandon it now? Has the Israeli negotiating position gotten so much stronger that they don't need Gaza anymore?

The other approach is to assume Sharon has no intention of giving away Gaza for no payback, but is trying to move the "Peace Process" along while he is in power. That is, Sharon wants to bring the Palestinians to the bargaining table. What would negotiation get him that he couldn't just take? Peace, I guess. So Sharon is pulling out of Gaza because he thinks the Palestinians want peace. This is not something I can believe without a great deal of proof. Like I said, all I can do is prove I'm confused about Sharon and Gaza.

There are other considerations I'm not qualified to analyze. Killing off the leadership of Hamas can be seen as an attempt to strengthen the leadership of the PA (Arafat) and might even have been done at his suggestion, for all we know. If Sharon sentences Gaza to hell and lets Arafat be the White Knight that rescues it, would that put Arafat back in the top spot? Is that worth anything to Sharon?

What should Israel do about Gaza?
There isn't a good solution. Economic integration or interaction with Israel is the obvious thing to do, but has two big drawbacks for the Israelis. One, it makes the Gazans stronger and more prosperous, which will not necessarily make them more peaceful. Two, it leaves holes open for bombers and other infiltrators to get through. If there is no economic tie to Israel, and the borders are closed to prevent infiltration of people and weapons, then Gaza becomes a hell that can only be escaped. Maybe that's what Sharon is hoping for, a mass exodus from Gaza. But where to? Doesn't Sharon's plan to bring the Egyptian Army into closer contact to the Israeli border mean that transfer to Egypt is less likely?

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