The idea of transferring the Palestinian population makes me shudder in horror. The idea of Jewish soldiers dragging entire families from their homes, throwing them onto trucks, and evacuating them over the border is so horrible and unethical that I cannot start to imagine it.
The idea also horrifies me when it involves Jews. The idea of evacuating entire communities from the homes and fields for which they cared lovingly despite the Katyusha rockets, uprooting children and young people from their schools, yeshivot, and pre-military training programs, and displacing three generations from their land is terrifying.
However, despite the horrible pain it would cause, I would have considered voting in favor of the Prime Minister's plan had I believed that it would solve the problems of terror, our international isolation, and the heavy burden of running the lives of others.
If only I believed that the disengagement could solve all these problems, as the Prime Minister promises, I would be willing, despite the heartache, to face the horrible reality of evacuating settlements. However, I am certain that the disengagement plan will not accomplish any of these things. It will not bring security or even calm but only more war, bloodshed, and suffering. There is no greater reward for terrorism than success, no greater encouragement than victory.
We are giving the terrorist organizations a chance to operate openly in the Gaza Strip and fulfill their greatest dream -- turning the area judenrein, Jew-free.
We are giving the terrorist organizations a chance to operate openly in the Gaza Strip and to import weapons freely and are fulfilling their greatest dream -- destroying Jewish settlements and turning the area judenrein, Jew-free. Will they have any reason to despair of fighting against us? Won't it give them even more motivation to continue the murderous terror attacks?
I assume that even the Prime Minister does not really think that the disengagement will end terror or even decrease it. He does believe that after we leave the Gaza Strip, we would be able to close the border. The Palestinians will be able to work in Egypt and we, at long last, will be able to wash our hands of what happens there. In short, we'll send Gaza to hell.
He also thinks that as long as the terror continues, we will not be asked to make any further concessions and that the world, seeing the dramatic steps we have taken, will ask nothing more and give us their full support. Doesn't that sound familiar? That is what we thought after the Oslo Accords. That was what we thought during the Camp David era, when Barak offered the Palestinians everything they desired. But it didn't happened.
We withdrew from 40% of the territory and ceased our rule over 98% of the population. In returned, we received exploding buses. The world demanded more. We offered the Palestinians everything, the works, and in return, we received the cruelest terror. The world responded by treating us like lepers and war criminals. Why should the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip be any different?
As long as the Palestinian problem is not solved completely, and the disengagement plan will not solve it, the world will continue to hold Israel solely responsible for the situation that has been created. The world we continue to demand that we, and no one else, take additional steps and make more concessions.
No matter what concessions we make, the terror will continue. The dream that withdrawing from the Gaza Strip will relieve us of responsibility is unfounded. No letter from Bush, as important or precedent setting as it might be, will change this.
I do agree with the Prime Minister on one point. The status quo is not to our benefit. Therefore, we must create change. However, abandoning the field and leaving it to the terrorist organizations will not do it. Change will occur only when we, with the help of the international community, are wise enough to completely transform the government system and the political climate within the Palestinian Authority, giving new forces, which truly desire the prosperity of their people, a chance to reach positions of power.
It will not be easy, as the American experience in Iraq has demonstrated. However, it is definitely possible, especially if the strongest power in the world considers it the only way that the free world can deal with terrorism. What a waste it is that, instead of supporting the United States lead, we are working in exactly the opposite direction. We will run away from the Gaza Strip and leave it in the terrorists' control. You can be sure that they will not grow lettuce there.
As long as the government of the Gaza Strip does not work to move the refugees out of the camps and improve the life of their people; as long as the government there does not consider the industrial areas a means for growth, not a corridor for terror and murder; as long as the government of the Gaza Strip does not use the media and educational system for progress and enlightenment, not brainwashing and fostering hatred; as long at the Palestinian government doesn't change, disengagement will not lead to any positive change.
In 1993, the song Farewell to Gaza was played on the radio. It expressed the Israeli belief that we had left Gaza behind us. Very quickly, it became clear that we could not leave Gaza the way it was, without it chasing after us. We must learn from our mistakes. Instead of trying to send Gaza to hell, we should try to guide Gaza to genuine, substantive change. If we do not, if we choose to run away or 'disengage,' we will not disengage from terrorism, responsibility, or suffering. We will disengage from only one thing: the opportunity for genuine peace.