The Forgotten Villain of the Gaza War

My family went to Israel during the summer of 2005. We flew home from Israel three days before the disengagement from Gaza began. During our two-week trip we asked Israelis how they felt about the upcoming giveback of the Gaza Strip.

There was one person whose words still haunt me. This old man was sitting in a wheelchair that had an orange ribbon attached to it. I asked him why he was against giving back Gaza. He looked up at me and said, "Do you know what Sunday is?" I answered I knew Sunday was Tisha B'av (both Jerusalem Temples, along with a long list of other tragedies happened to the Jews throughout the ages on that same date, Tisha B'av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av).

The old man in the wheel chair said to me, " Yes Sunday is Tisha B'av, disengagement begins on Monday. Giving away this land will be added to the list of horrible events that happened to us on Tisha B'av."

That Old man turned to be right. The war in Gaza did not start a little over three weeks ago, it started a little over five years ago in December 2003 as Ariel Sharon announced:

The purpose of the "Disengagement Plan" is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security. The process of disengagement will lead to an improvement in the quality of life, and will help strengthen the Israeli economy. The unilateral steps which Israel will take in the framework of the "Disengagement Plan" will be fully coordinated with the United States. We must not harm our strategic coordination with the United States. These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with. The "Disengagement Plan" is meant to grant maximum security and minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians.- Ariel Sharon December 2003

While this may have been done with the most noble of intentions, disengagement did not have the result that Sharon predicted. In fact, it lowered the security of Israel and increased friction between Israeli's and Palestinians.

This Gaza war can be traced to the execution of the Disengagement plan by Ariel Sharon and his supporters, Just like the Lebanon War can blamed on Ehud Barak and the Labor Party's cut and run strategy.

Ehud Barack, was also a big supporter of disengagement:

Former prime minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio this morning that he was convinced that Sharon has reached the conclusion that there was no other way to guarantee the future of the Zionist enterprise other than disengaging unilaterally from the Palestinians. Barak called on the Labor Party to support Sharon from within the government in what could be a "historic move. Source Israel Insider March 2004

On the other hand, Binyamin Netanyahu accurately predicted what disengagement would do:

I don't know when terrorism will erupt in full force -- my hope is that it won't ever. But I am convinced today that the disengagement will eventually aggravate terrorism instead of reducing it. The security establishment also expects an increase in terrorism. The withdrawal endangers Israel's security, divides its people and set the standards of the withdrawal to the '67 border. Source: Arutz Sheva August 2005

Disengagement was just more proof of what happens when you make concessions to terrorists. How many more Israeli's have to die before the government figures this out. Oslo brought the Second Intifada, the Lebanese withdrawal brought us the Second Lebanese War, disengagement brought this Gaza war.  The remaining question is what kind of war will Olmert's concession and the "Annapolis process" bring?

Sammy Benoit is editor of the blog Yidwithlid