To Trigger an Avalanche - Part I

Ariel Sharon's Gaza disengagement scheme is being hailed by George Bush, Sharon and the major media as a step towards peace and security. A closer examination will show instead that it is an egregious violation of human rights, an illegal action, and a major setback in the war against terror....

Rachel Neuwirth,

Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth
Ariel Sharon's Gaza disengagement scheme is being hailed by George Bush, Sharon and the major media as a step towards peace and security. A closer examination will show instead that it is an egregious violation of human rights, an illegal action, and a major setback in the war against terror, which will harm not only Israel's security, but US security as well.

In a civilized world, Sharon's "disengagement" proposal would be promptly rejected by all responsible governments because it is nothing less than the human rights crime of ethnic cleansing, even if it is being done by Sharon against fellow Jews. Bill Clinton went to war in the Balkans some years back claiming that we had to stop ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Serbs. The same standard should be uniformly applied, but it is not. Muslims today can and do live anywhere in the world, with migrations into Europe and America. Over a million Arab Muslims live inside Israel as voting citizens, but eight thousand Jews on historic Jewish land in Gaza are to be expelled because the Gaza Arabs, in their bigotry, will never accept Jews living among them. Instead of the nations demanding that this Arab bigotry must end, they now support Sharon in his scheme to expel thousands of Jews only because they are Jews. Let us not pretend that Israel's government or the nations oppose ethnic cleansing. It is the moral corruption of the West and of the Sharon government that accepts the old double standard, which also amounts to state-sponsored anti-Semitism, endorsing the ethnic cleansing of Jews alone.

But if the disengagement idea is so wrong, how could intelligent Israelis be making such a major blunder? Part of the answer is that the Israeli public was not properly informed, top military and intelligence officials were not properly consulted and allowed to advise, and the public was denied the opportunity for a full and open debate followed by a referendum in which to express their collective will. Israelis are now belatedly waking up to the huge dangers in this scheme and public support has declined from 70% to below 50% and falling. In response, the Sharon government is invoking increasingly ruthless measures to prevent the growing opposition from exercising their democratic rights to express their views.

From the beginning, disengagement was an inside initiative by Sharon and his close associate Dov Weisglass, with none of the usual and necessary steps that are a standard part of any major decision that affects the security of the nation. If the disengagement was such a good idea, then why did Sharon prevent a review by the heads of the defense and intelligence services? Upon learning of the plan, General Moshe Ya'alon, head of Israel's Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed strong opposition, as did other heads of Israeli security agencies. Ya'alon and others who objected were either replaced or pressured into agreement. When some cabinet ministers objected, they too were replaced. When some Knesset members hesitated to support Sharon's plan, Sharon unilaterally increased the budgets for their departments, as bribes using public funds, and then received their support. When some called for a national referendum to at least allow an open debate and a decision by the public, this proposal was blocked by Sharon.

Instead of Sharon meeting with the Gaza residents face-to-face and explaining his plans like a gentleman, and showing human compassion for their being uprooted, he did the opposite. He demonized these peaceful residents and issued all manner of threats of punishment. He threatened jail for resistors and even taking away their young children. Three recent news reports (,, and provide examples of undemocratic, brutal and likely illegal actions by Israeli police and Israeli courts. The suppression of peaceful protest has become so pervasive that a special citizen's web site has been established to compile and document these ongoing human rights violations.

He selected expulsion troops based on their willingness to act with all necessary force against civilians, including children. These troops would receive extra pay, not be required to wear identification tags, and be assured that the courts would be extremely lenient in case of their brutality. Reporting on the expulsion would also be controlled by the Sharon government to show only what he wanted to be seen. Sharon also ordered the IDF to restrain its responses to the rain of terrorist missiles that have continued to fall on the Jewish residents in Gaza, thus exposing the people to high risk of injury and possible death - presumably to terrorize them into submission.

Sharon's former adversaries among the Israeli Left have eagerly seized upon this opportunity and have been spreading stories demonizing "settler extremists" and urging that the government be prepared to use lethal force against the residents. Because much of the Israeli media is controlled by leftists, it is easy to fabricate and spread stories of "settler violence", which are then quickly picked up by the international media and, citing 'Israeli sources', splashed around the world, where it can do the most public relations damage. Anti-disengagement leaders have always insisted that all demonstrations be peaceful. It is the Israel Left that is trying to provoke violence, and then play the role of innocent victim, which is familiar operating procedure in leftist demonstrations around the world.

A unilateral withdrawal from Gaza would allow Hamas and other extremists to greatly strengthen their terror base in that area. The evacuation would enable Arab terrorists to bring in weapons and terrorists by land, sea and air, which would no longer be fully controlled by Israel. Mahmoud Abbas has shown himself unwilling and/or unable to oppose terrorism. On the contrary, he vowed to continue Yasser Arafat's programs and has even failed to stop ongoing incitement by the Palestinian Authority media, preaching the killing of Jews. Egypt has refused to stem the flow of weapons into Gaza from their side of the border. The terrorists have publicly said that they are arming now in preparation of another intifada, even more deadly than the current one. They also want to attack the retreating Israelis in Gaza, as they did when Ehud Barak withdrew Israeli forces from southern Lebanon.

The terrorists claimed it was their attacks that caused Israel to retreat and that future attacks will cause Israel to retreat even further. Hamas publicly rejects Israel's right to exist under any conditions. Sharon will receive absolutely nothing in return for his withdrawal and everyone will see that the terrorists will be rewarded for their terror. Hence, they will be encouraged to continue and to escalate. A recent report titled "Israel Betrayed?" summarizes many of the illogical and dangerous aspects of the proposed disengagement.

[Part 1 of 2]