Sharon and Gaza: Clarify his reasons for me

So, Ariel Sharon, the uncompromising guy who isn’t touchy about blowing the heck out of Palestinians, wants to pull settlements out of Gaza. As a result, he is now being threatened with death by those more right-wing than himself.

Why is he so into removing settlements from Gaza? It seems that, on every other count, he’s had no interest in doing things that would likely please the Palestinians.

My only conclusion is that the reason for the withdrawal is military: Sharon believes that Israel cannot militarily protect against attacks in Gaza, and has decided to cut the country’s losses there, and concentrate on building the wall around what he thinks they can reasonably protect. Is this the case, or is there something else going on that I’m missing?

He owes Bush some favours.

Bush has been largely indifferent to the disengagement plan, even hostile to it, as it ignored his own “road map”. Besides, all indications show that the current U.S. Preesident could care less about what goes on in Gaza and the rest of the teritories.

Now…

Nobod here is sure why Sharon is doing what he’s doing. Here’s he ultimate political animal doing everything possible to distance himself from the party he founded, destroying his own career in order to achieve something he’s been opposed to all his life. Once we started to hear Likudniks call Sharon “left-eing” we knew that the world had, in fact, turned upside-down. We’ve managed to guess a few reasons:

  1. The Israeli public at large, if not Sharon’s own voters, is largely behind it - weekend polls showed that withdrawal had something like 65-70% support. While most Israelis see the Gaza settlers as a borderline bunch of fanatics, the soldiers dying to protect them are our own sons and daughters, with stress on the latter. About a year ago, some attackers broke into an army base in the Strip and killed two 19-year-old female soldiers. That was sort of a watershed mark, causing a subtle yet permanant shift in public opinion againt what seemed like too valuable an effort for too little return.

  2. Sharon’s dislike of Arafat and distrust of the Palestinians is so strong that he wants to take away all their demands without negotiations. He feels that if he no longer has control of the territories, the PLO would be forced to stop makimng demands and have to deal with their own problems - in other words, stew in their own juices. Just like buildng the Fence, unilateral action is a decleration of independence; why do you think the Palestinians are so opposed to the withdrawal?

  3. Demographics - the Palestinan have the highest growth rate of any population in the world, ever. Sharon knows that if we continue to rule them we’ll eventually become a minority in our own country, something any Jew with a strong sense of history (like Sharon) fears more than anything. His answer to this is to make own country smaller by keeping the Palestinians outside of it. If that means kicking a few Jews from their homes then so be it. You have to look 50 years to the future and figure out how the country will look then.

  4. Sharon is, when all’s said and done, a general, one of the greatest military leaders of the latter half of the 20th century. He know’s what’s good strategey and what isn’t, and holding all those troops in the middle of the territories, isn’t. Sharon is not a sentimental man, nor is he an idealist. I think to him, holding on to the territories just isn’t worth the cost.

  5. I think that Sharon many actually want to go down in history as the man who ended Israel’s control on most of the territories. I think he realized - belatedly - that the occupation has been, by and large, bad for Israel, and he wants to be the one who ends it.

  6. The withdrawal from Gaza seems to be pissing off the Europeans and the UN. If nothing else, we have that to enjoy.

You’re kidding, right? There has been Palestinian opposition to the Israeli pull-out?

Many Palestinians see it as a cosmetic manoeuvre designed to generate good PR and mask Israeli plans to expand West Bank settlements, which are far larger in territory, population and symbolic importance.

In addition, since Hamas has a great deal of support in Gaza, Arafat and others from the secular Palestinian groups fear that this plan would allow them to grow.

Not quite my opinions, just trying to provide you with the Palestinian POV.

Fair enough, though I would have thought that they’d be frigging ecstatic to have Israel out of any of their terrority. (Any small victory is still a victory, and all that.) Ah well.

You see, you’re trying to apply logic to the Israel-Palestine dispute, that’s the problem.

According to one of Sharon’s advisors, the disengagement is meant to freeze the peace process. This might explain why Palestinians and others are less than happy about it.

Links: Israel Insider, Haaretz

Yah, that little soundbite pissed of a lot of people around here. You have to remember, though, that it was aimed at the hardcore Right (the main opponants to withdrawal) and that Sharon, God bless him, isn’t above lying to anyone.

Also, Gaza’s not the West Bank. The West Bank has been Jewish forever…you’ve got Isaac, Moses, King David, the Jewish kingdoms of antiquity. A lot of stuff in the bible happened in what’s now the West Bank. Gaza, that’s not so much true. In ancient times, it was Philistine territory. The only time anybody of note was in Gaza, as far as I can remember was Sampson, and he was there as a slave.

It’s a lot easier to get out of Gaza than the West Bank.

That may mean a lot to some people, but I’m not that sure it’s all that important to Sharon.

It’s probably not important to Sharon, but it won’t happen unless Sharon can sell it, and some of the people he has to try to sell it to are people that it is important to.