Op-Ed: 'Occupation' is the Solution, Not the Problem
Ted BelmanThe author is a retired attorney and the editor of Israpundit. In 2009 he made aliya and is now living in Jerusalem.
Ehud Olmert has gone so far as to say that Kadima will no longer spend money on the settlements east of the fence. In so doing, he is reinforcing the message that the settlements and the 'occupation' are a financial burden, a waste of money that could be better spent on 'real Israelis' rather than on 'settlers'. Fair enough, but where is the proof? What are the facts?
On an issue as important as this, I would expect to see a study that compared the future expenditures if Israel did not withdraw and if it did. Not only is there no such study, but as far as I know, nobody is talking about it in a detailed way other than to simply declare that money would be saved.
Kadima is saying it will maintain a military occupation of Judea and Samaria. Will this take more troops with the removal of settlements or less? Israel ran from such an occupation in Lebanon. Will it be able to remain in Judea and Samaria without the settlers? If we have to remain there, then why suffer the pain of uprooting settlements? What's the benefit? It doesn't even 'end the occupation'.
Yarom Ettinger recently wrote to me, "The 1994 'disengagement' from Gaza quadrupled the number of security persons stationed in/around the Gaza area, but the public is uninformed about it. When you're inside Gaza, you enhance intelligence, deterrence and operability, and therefore, you can manage with fewer personnel. When you're out of Gaza, you regress on all these accounts; hence, you need to offset the damage by increased personnel/budget."
To put it another way, the more you suppress terror, the less terror there is and therefore, the fewer soldiers needed to deal with it.
To suggest that to give up control of Gaza or the West Bank would result in the deployment of fewer troops is a lie. Furthermore, Israel has learned over the decades that it is cheaper to control the land around highways then to forego control and use armored convoys to travel the highways. Like it or not, control saves lives and money. A stitch in time saves nine.
Reality is simply ignored in favour of an "end the occupation" ideology.
It is crystal clear that withdrawal from Gaza and withdrawal from the West Bank will entail an exponential increase in terror and the forces needed to deal with it.
Currently, the rocket attacks continue from Gaza and will soon emanate from the West Bank. Firing on empty fields is not the answer. Controlling the fields is.
Then, there is the cost of compensating the settlers the government wishes to uproot. Just think, if you didn't uproot them, you wouldn't have to pay them. And we're talking $12 billion-worth of compensation over the next four years. Better to use that money to buy land from Arabs living around the fence - land that could then be incorporated into Israel. The land would then be resold to Israelis and the money recovered.
Thus, the 'occupation' is the solution, not the problem.
It is beyond ludicrous that Israel should be contemplating withdrawal when Iran is threatening annihilation, Iraq is disintegrating, the Islamic Brotherhood is on the rise in all surrounding lands, Hamas is rearming, Jordan is under attack and America is in retreat.
The withdrawal proponents cite the demographic problem. What demographic problem? Aside from the new demographic study that reduces the number of Arabs in the West Bank from 2.5 million to 1.4 million, these Arabs only present a demographic problem if given citizenship. Unless and until these lands are annexed, there is no need to deal with the alleged demographic problem.
We are our own worst enemy. We allow our enemies to get stronger and have more power and more land, only to complain that they are a danger to us. Why not destroy them, so there is nothing to complain about? Snuff out any hope they have of destroying us. Rather then give them hope, we must destroy their hope.
The answer, my friends, is to kill the peace process, kill the Palestinian Authority, kill the Roadmap, kill the terrorists and take control of our destiny.