In remarks to the press the other day, US President George W. Bush unwittingly laid out a convincing reason why an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is not a wise move.
Referring to mounting pressure on the Administration to pull out US forces from Iraq, Bush said:
"I also have heard the voices of those saying, pull out now, and I've thought about their cry, and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree. Pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy. Immediate withdrawal would say to the Zarqawis of the world, and the terrorists of the world, and the bombers who take innocent life around the world, you know, the United States is weak; and all we've got to do is intimidate and they'll leave."
All you need to do is replace the word “Zarqawis” with “Abu Mazens”, and “the United States” with “Israel”, in the President’s remarks, and you have a darned good reason why the proposed Israeli retreat is a mistake of strategic and historic proportions.
Instead of punishing Palestinian terrorism, the Gaza withdrawal rewards it in an unprecedented manner.
Too bad that Bush and his pal Sharon refuse to acknowledge this basic truth – but the saddest part of all is that it is the people of Israel who will inevitably pay the price for their folly.