Is Israel's pull out of Gaza a new beginning?

Does the Israeli pull out of occupied territory in Gaza spell a new beginning in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship? Does it offer the olive branch that can spell peace at long last? Will the Palestinians accept it, or do the settlements in the West Bank need to be removed as well?

The Palestinians will never accept a permanent Israeli military presence in the West Bank. Therefore, a viable solution requires:

  1. The Israeli settlements in the West Bank must be evacuated; or

  2. The Israeli government must wash its hands of them and announce that it will no longer guarantee the safety of Jewish settlers in the West Bank. They can stay there and take there chances as a (we may hope) tolerated minority in an independent Palestinian state, or they can move to Israel proper.

I really don’t see a third option that would satisfy the Palestinians. If the West Bank becomes nominally independent but the settlements remain as Israeli enclaves – than the Israeli Defense Force will have to maintain a presence there to protect them, which is nearly indistinguishable from the present occupation.

New beginning, same old ending.

Sorry, but I’m firmly convinced that there is no solution to the “Middle East Problem”, short of God Himself descending in a fiery chariot and settling the matter personally.

Entirely agree with BG’s second idea, plus a nice big wall along the Green Line.

Not that it could happen, though.

Well, it would help if the Palestinians make an effort, too.
It isnt only a question of what the Israelis will do(removing settlements, etc.)It’s also a question of what the Palestinians will do.(disarming terrorists, preaching peace to their own people, like Anwar Sadat did for Egypt)

As long as they keep denying that Israel has any right to exist, it doesnt really matter where a boundary line is drawn this month, or an army camp is dismantled next month.

I agree with your sentiment cappachula. With regards to your final point, is that the stated position of the Palestinian authority? Or, in other words, cite?

They’re building a wall, but in many places it’s well to the east of the Green Line.

I’d have to say that the general ambiance is different. Qualitatively different.
Many, many more Israelis than ever before appear to feel that things could possibly be changing.
This is no guarantee of things to come. I’m often getting deja vu type vibes, reminding me of the early '90’s, just-pre-Oslo days. And look what has happened since. :frowning: But at least there seems to be a chance of going somewhere at all.
What is happening so far – including the intended Gaza pullout – is just the first baby steps on the way to a true settlement; and all is very much dependent on both sides being able to deliver – Sharon on actually accomplishing the Pullout, Abu Mazen (Abbas) on keeping things quiet in the medium and long run. At present, the situation has extremists on both sides foaming at the mouth, which IMO is a good thing in and of itself, but is also one extremely dangerous tiger --that we are all riding.

In the long run, I think it would be wise of the Palestinians to take what they can get right now in terms of land – probably over 80% of the O.T. – and get their country rolling out of the gate. If they can do this, and maintain at least a semblence of some kind of strained quiet along the border, then international pressure will do the rest and they will probably get everything else, with the possible exception of the Old City of Jerusalem. Which, while extremely symbolic, is about 1 sq. mile, i.e., negligible in terms of raw percentage of total area.
If they insist on a complete Israeli withdrawal from every last inch of the O.T. before declaring a state and clamping down on security within that state, then we will most likely see a replay of the mid '90’s, culminating in (yet) another round of violence.
Most Israelis – yours truly included – would be very wary of going through with a complete withdrawal without seeing some “proof of concept”, a Palestinian State on part (perhaps most) of the area, maintaining a quiet status quo along a border with Israel, first. What it amounts to is that we want to see a working “pilot” before betting the farm on the full-scale project – basic business sense, made doubly important by the fact that we’re staking our very lives, and not just our bankroll, on the outcome.

Bottom line – Without Arafat around, and with Sharon having apparently undergone a true epiphany, there is a cautious feeling of optimism and pragmatism in the air. But it’s only the first step on a thousand mile journey.


On preview - BrainGlutton, the wall is, in effect, “only money”. I see it as a (perhaps costly) interim measure designed to give us (Israelis) a feeling of security while we take the risks involved in even the partial withdrawal that it implies. If a Palestinian State seems to be working out within what the wall gives them (currently, following the new route just ratified, over 90% of the West Bank + 100% of Gaza), then international and even internal pressures will help “bring down the wall”. If they can’t make it work out, then Og help us all…

But, Noone, the reason the wall veers east of the Green Line in some places is to place Israeli settlements on the west side of it. And that’s one thing you didn’t address in your post. The Palestinians think the intent is to permanently annex those settlements, and all land west of them, to Israel. If a Palestinian State gets going on just part of the OT’s, as you hope, and it if is effective at quieting things down and suppressing terrorism – then that still leaves the problem of the settlements, and their settlers, unresolved. What do you think will happen to them? What do you think should happen to them?

Well, the (hopefully) upcoming “disengagement” from Gaza should serve as “proof of concept” for the idea that settlement can and sometimes should be dismantled – as shown also by the Yamit (et al.) precedent vis-a-vis Egypt in the '80’s. It all boils back down to doing things in stages.
What I think will happen, in the 5-10 year timeframe: EITHER a successful Palestinian State on 80+% of the O.T., leading eventually to full withdrawal from all of the O.T. except possibly the Old City of Jerusalem OR all hell breaks loose.
What I think should happen: Truth is I really wish the settlers could be forced to stay where they are, under Palestinian rule and Palestinain (only) citizenship, and good riddance :stuck_out_tongue: . No chance of that happening, of course… OK, seriously now, pretty much the optimistic branch of the possible outcomes above – A Palestinian state on all/nearly all of the O.T… If need be, swap some land – maybe give the Palestinians Um-el-Fakhem in return for Israel keeping Ma’ale Adumim, etc…



The Los Angeles Times this morning suggested it might be not so much altruistic, but a political move for the purpose of focusing on holding on to the West Bank.

I think Sharon is giving the Palestinians an opportunity to demonstrate their capacity for self-government, a test that I believe they will fail. Now that Arafat is gone, there is little chance that a weak central government can exercise control over the many political and military factions in the West Bank and Gaza. If the P.A. can’t deliver on its promises, what’s the point of negotiation? The result will probably be a unilateral withdrawal and disengagement from Gaza and a large part of the West Bank. Part of the West Bank will be annexed. There will be no return to the 1967 borders. Terrorism and reprisals will continue, fueled by arms smuggling and external technical and financial assistance. The Palestinian economy will not recover, remaining heavily dependent on outside aid. The border between Israel and Palestine will remain essentially closed.

Thats the spirit mks57. Keep positive …

So Arafat’s death is a bad thing for the situation, because he was the only one who could ever govern the factions?

Instead of seeing the chance to break the tedious circle of violence, you see Sharon giving the Palistinains a test which you think they are destined to fail? It sounds like youre setting them up for a fall. Why would you want to do that?

Well, i suppose when the going gets rough ( which it will ), you can simply say ‘well WE tried …’

Any action, from either side, which is not antagonistic, and does not involve killing people, must be good news, no? Its a 100% improvment over the last 4 years !

I would also like to see a cite that P.A. "keep denying that Israel has any right to exist " from chappachula.


Dani - do you know where we could see a map of the new, just ratified path of the wall?

Does the proposed 80% have enough arable land and water resources to remain viable, or does that 20% which Israel wants to keep hold of comprise a disproportionate amount of useful land?

“86% of the arable land” was the figure from the old plans, will be interesting to see what (if anything) changes with the new wall

Excuse me, but I don’t seehow anything can ever happen except more violence. Face it, there cannot be two Palestinian states (Gaza and West Bank), separated by Israel. Where are the electric, water, gas lines going to run?
Plus, the whole region is short on water-I can’t imagine th Israelis giving up orange and cotton farming so that a new Palestinian state can have its own water authority.
The region needs some kind of allied government, to deal with the water and power issues…not to mention roads…who in his right mind would invest in a factory (in Gaza), if the output of such business could not be sold in Israel?
So many problems, so few solutions…

here it is—
please note–the speaker is an official spokesman for the P.A, and he does NOT say that Israel has a right to exist peacefully, if they will just do certain rational acts, (like, say, withdrawing from specific territories). Rational negotiation is not even on his agenda.


PA leader: Israel has no right to exist
Jewish state ‘Satan’s offspring’ which can’t be ‘among human beings’

Posted: February 17, 2004
4:40 p.m. Eastern

© 2004

Although Yasser Arafat has acceded in peace talks to Israel’s right to exist, Palestinian officials indicate otherwise.

In an interview broadcast on Palestinian Authority television, Ahmad Nasser, secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said the Jewish state has no right to exist because it is “Satan’s offspring.”

Nasser asserted Israel cannot exist “among human beings” because it was “founded on the basis of robbery, terror, killing, torture, assassination, death, stealing land and killing people,” reported Palestinian Media Watch.

While we’re at it, we might as well link the whole Palestinian Media Watch website. Some interesting stuff there, even though it can get pretty loony right-wing.

Like many Israelis, I, too, don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m glad we’re pulling out of Gaza, because I know too many people doing their army service there right now. I don’t think we need to be in Gaza, and that it’s just logical to leave. Pulling out of the West Bank is more complicated, though. Sure, I think we should leave, but there are some well-established ‘settlements’ that would be almost impossible to ‘dismantle’ (i.e. Ariel)

Leaving the settlers to the Palestinians is very kind of you Noone Special , but come on, Israeli Arabs lead relatively comfortable lives in Israel, with all the benefits Jews have. Why would it be okay to let the Palestinians treat Jews living in their country poorly? And, if insisting on removing all Jews from Palestinian land is reasonable, why is it unspeakable to talk of having all Arabs who consider themselves loyal to the Palestinian flag (as many Israeli Arabs do) leave Israel?

I don’t personally share this view, but I do believe that many Arabs simply do not want us on their land AT ALL - and ‘their land’ meaning ALL of Israel. Period. There have been enough PA leaders that have emphasized this point (like our old friend Arafat) in their speeches in Arabic to their own people.

And I, for one, do not want to be driven to the sea.

Haven’t found a map, but there’s some English-language data here

So around 95% of the West Bank will be on the Palestinian side of the fence. The previous value was either 84% or 86% IIRC – so the new route has effectively put 2/3 of the area previously left on the Israeli side over onto the Palestinian side. Dunno about the Arable Land question, but at 95% of all land, I hardly think that is so much of an issue anymore. Especially as most of the 5% Israel will be keeping on our side of the fence is non-agricultural communities (Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion) near Jerusalem.

Ralph – you aren’t up-to-date on Israeli agriculture. We’ve almost completely stopped growing cotton, and citrus, while still grown, are far less ubiquitous than in the past. And yes, this is mostly because both are water-intensive.

wampeter – welcome aboard! I’d love if you signed up and we had another Israeli here (there are currently two that I know of, the other besides me being Alessan). And seriously, I agree that it should be possible for settlers who wish it to stay behind and live in the P.A… If nothing else, it would be another good test of their willingness to get along – although some of the more extreme settlers are kind of hard to get along with, hence my previous wisecrack. Don’t read too much into it except that I just can’t stand extremists on either side. And it still isn’t going to happen, anyway.

In the long run, I think the best thing for us is to have as few palestinians as possible living under Israeli rule. the only reasonable and obtainable way to achieve this is by allowing them full control over as much of the O.T. as we can afford to give them. This, not altruism, is my primary motivation for wanting us out of Gaza, and eventually, out of most of the West Bank. Other “possible” solutions (such as the Transfer) are (internationally) illegal, immoral, and probably fattening as well…


Thanks for the link chappachula. Google wouldnt provide the actual text of what this guy said - just more reports from Palestinian Media Watch and Worlnetdaily - who also came up with this gem:

Multiculturalism – the reigning philosophy of American culture, where Satanists and witches are equal to Christians and Jews, where a rat is equal to a boy, where ruthless, repressive, backward cultures are equal to Western Civilization – is explored as never before in the groundbreaking February edition of WorldNetDaily’s monthly Whistleblower magazine.


Anyway, surely there would be a written record if the speaker is an official spokesman for the P.A. ?

wampeter - you were correct about the PMW web site - scary on many levels!

I like Ralphs allied authourity to govern essential services - maybe a job for the UN or similar?