Friday, December 19, 2003

Unilateral Disengagement
Yesterday was a very tiring day, although I did very little, besides driving to Dad’s, going to the cemetery, and talking to the people who came back to the house. I must have been using up a lot of energy just coping with the emotions that were coming up in me, that or fighting the wind. You never saw such a storm. Amazingly, miraculously, it all died down when we arrived at the cemetery. A wonderful rainbow appeared in the sky and we had an hour of sun, no less, while we were there (We quipped that Mum must be very well connected up there, to have organized such a timely lull in the storm).

Anyway, by six or seven in the evening I was exhausted. I still thought I should make an effort to watch Sharon’s speech. I even managed to stay awake through most of it (Sharon has never been known as much of an orator).

So what do I think about what he had to say? I think it makes sense.

What have we had? We have had a peace agreement that fell to pieces, when one side was asked to finish the deal once and for all, and decided to pass. I am somehow reminded of how loan sharks operate. You can never ever repay your debt to them because the interest just keeps growing and growing. The Palestinians’ demands were also turning into just such a bottomless pit. Just when we thought we’d given them all, or very nearly all, of what they had previously demanded, they remembered something else. They just wouldn’t let it end (or couldn’t, because in actual fact they weren’t truly interested in compromise).

Then they embarked, with national excitement and vengeful enthusiasm, on a rapidly escalating rampage of violence, terror, and sacrificial mass murder, while sanctimoniously denying all the time that their official leadership had anything to do with it. This leadership, nevertheless, refused to take any action whatsoever against the violence, besides rhetoric in English, aimed at the foreign media.

In its desperation, Israel had no choice but to take responsibility for preventing the daily bloodbath on Israeli streets. No one else was doing it for us, regardless of promises made to do just that, in documents signed in all pomp and ceremony, to the cheers of the world. A hard hand was necessary, was unavoidable, to prevent Israel from descending into chaos.

But do we really want to keep on policing these lunatics, who would rather live lives of squalor and hopelessness than move just a little from their professed goals? No, we don’t. Contrary to popular belief, as depicted in numerous vicious caricatures in Western mainstream newspapers, we do not enjoy fighting to keep them from blowing up in our midst. We do not revel, as they do, in the deaths of innocents, regrettable victims of our attempts to incapacitate the guilty.

If they continue to refuse to make any effort to fulfill their commitments to fight terrorism and terrorists in any way, besides pussyfooting around Islamic fundamentalists who openly declare that they will not rest and will not cease till the last Jew is gone from the region, then we are left with absolutely no choice but to call the shots to suit ourselves.

Should such a unilateral disengagement take place, the Palestinians would be wise to seize the opportunity and make the most of it for a change, in an attempt to rebuild, not only their part of the land both peoples love and share, but also the trust of their Israeli neighbors. Then maybe we can all once again approach the negotiation table, and we can discuss the deal that would give them what was theirs for the taking, just a few short years ago.

Okay, I realize I didn't actually discuss the unilateral disengagement itself, but R.T. will be here any minute and I haven't even started the spaghetti yet. Phew! Saved by the gong.

Update 1: R.T. wishes to protest his being used as an excuse.

Update 2: Bish says its all such a mess, who can be bothered to have an opinion anymore?

Update 3: The Head Heeb has taken the time to discuss Sharon's speech and is mainly disappointed that he didn't go into detail about the withdrawal (was this expected to happen?). I don't necessarily agree, but it's always interesting to read his point of view. He's the perfect example of someone who manages to write things I often disagree with in a manner that not only doesn't annoy me, but that I actually enjoy reading (that automatically disqualifies him from writing for Haaretz then, doesn't it?).