Ynetnews/Looking back, (Israeli) Gaza pullout was a mistake.. الإنسحاب الإسرائيلي من غزة كان خاطئاً/Netanyahu, Lieberman to meet European leaders on Iran رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي سيلتقي قادة أوروبا لبحت الشأن الإيراني
Looking back, (Israeli) Gaza pullout was a mistake بالعودة إلى الوراء في الزمن..فإن الإنسحاب الإسرائيلي من غزة كان خاطئاً
Sever Plocker/Ynetnews/May 28/18
Op-ed: Had Israel remained in Gaza, the economic gap between the Palestinians in the strip and in the West Bank would have been narrowed, the PA would have maintained its rule, tens of thousands of Gazans would be working in Israel and the level of violence would have dropped.
The recent developments on the Gaza border lead to a grim political conclusion: The experiment called the disengagement failed.
Gaza isn’t controlled by the Palestinian Authority, as the supporters of the disengagement—myself included—expected. Gaza was basically handed over to Hamas, which failed to establish a civilian government there. Instead, it established a wild military regime seeking conflicts and lacking any civilian goals. Israel, for its part, tried to rid itself of Gaza, suffocate it and hand it over to Egyptian responsibility.
At the end of the day, neither option was implemented: Gaza is stuck in our throats, today more than ever. The conflict isn’t over. It has worsened, and it likely won’t end on its own.
The disengagement wasn’t an initiative of the “peace camp”; it was the personal initiative of late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. On paper, it seemed like the right solution—the beginning of a process to end the occupation. That’s how it was presented by Sharon too.
But immediately after Israel pulled out of there, it turned out the strip wouldn’t be like Singapore—but rather like Benghazi. The Hamas militias had no interest in an organized transfer of the production and real estate assets Israel had left behind. They preferred to build training camps in greenhouses than grow tomatoes there. And the PA vanished from the area. That sealed the enclave’s fate.
The economic, social and security situation in Gaza has deteriorated in the years that have passed since the disengagement: Thousands of Gazans have been killed in three wars against Israel, tens of thousands have been wounded, and an unknown number have died due to lack of water, electricity and basic medical services. On the Israeli side, many soldiers and civilians have been killed, communities have been damaged and billions have been invested in fortification and in protecting the border.
Our siege worsened the crisis in the strip but didn’t create it. It was created by the fact that the Gazans’ fate was placed—or rather deserted—in the hands of a cruel, violent, illegal and incompetent Islamic terror organization, which was unprepared to rule as a responsible government. Nevertheless, many Israelis, including senior IDF officers, saw it as the lesser of two evils. So did many European and Arab politicians, who didn’t lift a finger to loosen its grip.
Now, tens of thousands of Gazans are protesting under slogans that not a single Israeli can accept or identify with. They’re not protesting against the occupation, against the siege or against the US Embassy’s move to Jerusalem, as the Western media are wrongly reporting; they are protesting against the actual existence of a Jewish state. And we are responding with cruel live fire. We are firing without crying. They are dying without crying. They have nothing to lose apart from a miserable and hopeless existence. It’s a terrible reality. And the hatred is breaking new records.
Looking back, the disengagement was a mistake. I admit I was wrong to support it, although I had my reservations. Had Israel remained in Gaza, the economic gap between the Palestinians in the strip and the Palestinians in the West Bank would have been narrowed, and a solution would have been found for the transfer of goods and people between Gaza and Hebron. The PA would have maintained its rule—and would have even grown stronger. Tens of thousands of Gazans would be working in Israel, as they did in the past, and the level of violence would have dropped.
What now? Israel won’t reoccupy Gaza, but Israel can serve as a critical element in jumpstarting an international move to free the strip of Hamas and restore the PA’s rule. We must, therefore, turn to the Arab League and the European Union countries immediately and call for a comprehensive initiative that would include ending the siege, disarming Hamas, opening the crossings between Gaza and Egypt and bringing the PA back to the strip as the only legitimate government.
Because as long as Israel continues the siege, as long as Hamas continues the terror regime, as long as Egypt remains indifferent and the PA keeps enjoying the bloodshed, no one will be willing to invest the billions of dollars needed to reconstruct Gaza—critical investments which will open a window of hope for the strip’s residents, slightly ease their despair and cool the boiling atmosphere. The vicious circle of bloodshed won’t stop turning on its own. On the contrary, its rounds will only hasten and become more frequent—and more disastrous.
PM Netanyahu, Minister Lieberman to meet European leaders on Iran رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي سيلتقي قادة أوروبا لبحت الشأن الإيراني
Itamar Eichner, Shahar Hay and Yoav Zitun/Haaretz/May 28/18
Premier to leave for Germany, France next week, possibly also visiting UK to impress upon countries’ leaders importance of blocking Iranian nuclear aspirations, expansion in Middle East; Defense Minister Lieberman to visit Moscow for meeting with Russian counterpart, accompanied by head of Military Intelligence Directorate. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave for a three-day visit to Germany and France starting next Monday, during which he will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and the Islamic republic’s entrenchment in Syria. The premier is also said to be mulling continuing across the English Channel from Paris to London, to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Before he does, however, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will leave for a working visit to Russia this coming Wednesday. Lieberman was invited by his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu after the two conversed this past weekend.
The meeting will take place Thursday, with the defense minister being joined by the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate Maj.-Gen. Tamir Hayman, head of the Defense Ministry’s Political-Military Bureau Zohar Palti and other defense establishment officials.
Prime Minister Netanyahu outlined his upcoming trip at the commencement of his party’s parliamentary group meeting, saying, “Next week I will leave for Europe. I will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with French President Emmanuel Macron and perhaps with British Prime Minister Theresa May as well.””I will discuss with them blocking Iranian nuclear aspirations and Iranian expansion in the Middle East,” the premier expounded. “I will present our positions as clearly as possible. We are already well experienced. For years we stood alone against these twin threats and I think that the situation has changed for the better. Of course I will present these matters as vital to the security of Israel.” On Syria, Netanyahu said, “We believe that there is no room for any Iranian military presence anywhere in Syria. And of course, this reflects not only our position; I can say with certainty that it also reflects the positions of others in the Middle East and outside it. This will be the main focus of discussions there.”Earlier Monday, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that only Syrian soldiers should be stationed on the country’s southern frontier, near Israel.
In so doing, the Russian diplomat may have been sending a message to Syrian rebels, still waging war against the Syrian army near the border, or it may have been a rare warning aimed at Hezbollah and Iran, whose presence near the border greatly perturbs Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu himself met Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month, and expressed his concern at Iranian entrenchment in Syria. “I have no reason to believe Russia will harm our interest,” Netanyahu said after the meeting. “I told Putin it was our right to defend ourselves against Iranian aggression emanating from Syria.”