Giving land to Palestinians
I was more than a bit surprised to read in Mr. Feldman’s article that Palestinnians promised that Gaza would be peaceful if the Israelis withdrew. To the best of my recollection, the Gaza withdrawal was a unilateral move on the part of Israel aimed at giving Palestinians a chance to show that they can peacefully govern themselves in the absence of “occupation,” thus providing the proof of concept of a peaceful Palestinian state dedicated to the welfare of its citizens and coexistence with Israel, and to justify the “de-occupation” of the West bank that was in the works.
The opponents of the move predicted that it will be perceived as a retreat under fire, and so will only invite further fire to ensure further retreats. The events proved the skeptics right, and the Israeli government – and those encouraging it – to have been wrong. While Palestinians were deceptive on a great many occasions, and violated a great many ceasefires, the blame for the consequences of the Gaza withdrawal (or, for that matter, of the withdrawal from Lebanon) lie squarely on the over-optimistic Israeli governments, and are a lesson to the Israelis to be more realistic.
They have plenty of reasons for caution. For one, the US withdrew its opposition to Israeli-Syrian talks – which will focus on “return” of the strategic Golan Heights; the idea of a unilateral withdrawal from the West bank is not altogether dead; and the US is, via General Dayton’s foolish “plan,” puts pressure on Israel to make it easier for the Palestinian terrorists to operate.
Palestinians do whatever they can get away with in their desire to destroy Israel, including shelling of Sderot. This is a fact of life that the Israeli government has to always keep in mind – but doesn’t. Shifting the blame to Palestinians on the failure of Gaza withdrawal as Mr. Feldman does, gets the Israeli government off the hook. Let’s not whitewash it, but rater remind it that it is its duty to be hardnosed and realistic, instead of getting swept off its feet by the messianic hope that Palestinians will let the Israelis alone if the Israelis leave alone the Palestinians.