In Defense of Disengagement (Not)

July 11, 2006

There's a piece in today's WSJ entitled "In Defense of Disengagement",  in which columnist Bret Stephens makes a case in support of the Gaza disengagement. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Stephens fails to address the issue of how the withdrawal was perceived - rightfully or wrongfully - by Hamas & co. (including fellow terrorists everywhere) and more importantly, the consequences of this perception.

Stephens writes, for example: "It bears notice that since Israel withdrew from its security corridor in southern Lebanon in May 2000, its northern frontier has been relatively quiet, despite Hezbollah and its thousands of medium-range missiles."

Maybe, but Stephens neglects to mention that Israel's hurried withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, left not only its Lebanese Christian allies (the SLA) reeling from whiplash, but also terrorists-in-waiting (e.g., Arafat & co.) emboldened by a perceived victory for terrorism, and reenergized to embark on a second Intifida only months later. Israel's northern frontier may have quieted down (relatively-speaking) for now, but its other "frontiers", i.e., the West Bank, the Gaza strip (not to mention the internal Israeli Arab situation), have exploded into violence.

There are several other assertions in Stephen's article with which I disagree, but the bottom line is: When assessing whether a unilateral and partial/temporary solution, like the Gaza disengagement, is a success, one needs to factor in the effect(s) it's had on ALL frontiers.

[Posted by R.S.]


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