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Monday, February 02, 2004

Oy, Sharon moving ahead with "unilateral disengagement"

Haaretz via IMRA:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he has given orders to plan for the removal of 17 settlements in Gaza.

"I have given an order to plan for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the Gaza Strip," Sharon said Monday in an interview with Haaretz columnist Yoel Marcus.

"It is my intention to carry out an evacuation - sorry, a relocation - of settlements that cause us problems and of places that we will not hold onto anyway in a final settlement, like the Gaza settlements," the prime minister added.

Sharon, who is likely to go public with his plan later Monday, also mentioned the problematic nature of evacuating settlements in Gaza.
"We are talking of a population of 7,500 people. It's not a simple matter. We are talking of thousands of square kilometers of hothouses, factories and packing plants. People there who are third-generation. The first thing is to ask their agreement, to reach an agreement with the residents. To move thousands of dunams of hothouses, educational institutions, thousands and thousands of vehicles, it's not a quick matter, especially if it's done under fire."
"I am working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza," Sharon added.

Asked whether he intended presenting his plan to President George Bush during his visit to Washington later this month, Sharon said: "Absolutely. It has to be done with American agreement and support. We need their support."

The prime minister said he had not yet discussed the issue of financing the evacuation with the Americans. "But we will have to discuss (it) with them."

The full interview with Sharon will appear Tuesday in Haaretz.


Photos by Nayef Hashlamoun/Reuters

Isralert sends this great response by Michelle Nevada, "Not Just Gaza" --
Imagine this scene for a moment: it is High Holy Days, and you pray intensely for the return of Zion. You know that everyone around you has said the same prayer, and you have put your heart and your soul into this prayer.

Now imagine that the next day Yassir Arafat announces to the world that he has decided to remove all Palestinian presence from the Shomron and that he envisions a time in the not to distant future when "there will be no Palestinians left in the Shomron."

You would take this as a miracle, right? A divine sign from Hashem that Zion was possible. You and your friends would speak of the miracle in hushed excited voices and make plans for that day. You would begin to regard the Arab presence in the area as "temporary" and "not important." Whatever they said, whatever they did, you would laugh at and regard as the silly rantings of a people who would soon be gone from the land--not just the Shomron, but all of Israel. The Shomron would be just a start!

Now, look at what Sharon has done and the timing of his interview with Ha'aretz.

From all over the world, Moslem worshippers have flocked to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj. They have "thrown stones at the devil," and they have prayed intently for the destruction of Israel. Now, imagine what the effect of Sharon's announcement, the day after their holiest day, that he sees a time in the not-to-distant future when there will be "no Jews left in Gaza."

I am sure they see this as a miracle! I am sure that they see this as a divine sign that Palestine is possible. I am sure that they, at this very moment, are speaking in hushed excited voices and making plans for that day. Now they will regard any Jewish presence in that area as "temporary" and "not important." Whatever the Jews in Gaza say or do, the Arabs will laugh at and regard as the silly rantings of a people who will soon be gone from the land. Not just Gaza, but all of Israel. Gaza is just a start!

Now imagine you are a Jew living in Gaza with your wife and children. You have worked the land for years, and it has flourished as Hashem said it would, under the watchful eye of Jews. You have built a house, a life, a future in Gaza--but that life is now in immediate peril.

AFP/File/Yoav Lemmer An Israeli child returns to his armoured
classroom at the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, situated in
the center of the Gaza Strip. Saeb Erakat said the Palestinians
would support a complete evacuation of Jewish settlements
in the Gaza Strip
. [As we used to say in WV, no shit, Sherlock!]

Where once you were seen as a legitimate steward of the land, you are now an interloper. You fear for your life in a way that you have never feared before. All support from the government, from the people of Israel, all the promises made for your future, and everything you have built your life upon has just eroded beneath you.

You know that in a very short time squatters will come and take over your home, your land, maybe kill your family. You can't leave your house. You don't let your family out of your sight. The phone won't stop ringing as your neighbors report the situation from their lands and their homes.

Maybe, you pray, this whole thing is just a nightmare, just a passing phase in Sharon's seemingly erratic form of national policy. Perhaps he is just baiting the Arabs into a political game of cat-and-mouse, or perhaps he is just trying to alleviate pressure from foreign governments. Maybe this is some political strategy that he has decided will turn the tables on his enemies. But, for all the things that this 'may' or 'might' be, there is one certainty:

Sharon has just placed Jewish families in Gaza in immediate danger...

There is nothing in the words or the timing of the words that Sharon has just shared with Ha'aretz that consider the lives of Jews in Gaza. There is nothing in the words or the timing of the words of Sharon that provide security for the Jewish people as a whole. In his desperate attempt to hold onto power in the face of mounting attacks on his character, his policy, and his government, Sharon has finally stepped over the line. He has sold out his country...