Every once in a while, there is a tidbit of news that just about says it all, summarizing a complex situation while highlighting the central, underlying problem in an easy to grasp manner.
Today, in Ha’aretz (of all places) is just such a story, one which makes clear just how dangerous and ill-advised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan truly is.
The paper reports today that:
“One of the most feared Fatah operatives in the Gaza Strip will soon be returning to action there - this time, as head of a special Palestinian Authority security service whose goal is to seize control of the lands evacuated by Israel under the disengagement plan.
The new role assigned to Nabil Thamus, who until last year headed Fatah's "death squads," is being interpreted by both Palestinian sources and Israeli intelligence officials as a PA attempt to create a counterweight to the growing power of Hamas in Gaza. Thamus is considered close to Mohammed Dahlan and Rashid Abu Shabak.
Under Thamus's leadership, the "death squads" had several confrontations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, and his name has also been linked to several politically motivated murders.
The new organization that he will head will number some 5,000 policemen.”
So there it is, all in just a few, easy-to-digest sentences:
a) An Israeli withdrawal will mean turning over Gaza to a guy whose CV includes employment experience as leader of a “death squad”;
b) It will mean increasing competition between Fatah and Hamas, with each trying to show the Palestinian public that it is more “extreme” in order to win their support – and that certainly will not result in more peace and quiet;
c) Instead of arresting Mr. Thamus and trying him for murder, the Palestinian Authority is giving him a promotion and placing him in charge of his own police force – is this really the way to build the Palestinian democracy that President George W. Bush speaks about?
There you have it – three darned good reasons why a Gaza pullout is dangerous for Israel, dangerous for the Palestinians themselves, and counter to American interests.
Too bad none of our leaders are really giving any of this much thought – if they did, they might stop and think twice before plunging ahead with a plan that threatens to endanger us all.