|Israel Resource Review
||23rd April, 2004
A Dispassionate View of The
From Disengagement to Retreat
The Sharon Plan will be voted on in an
unprecedented referendum which will take place among the 200,00
members of the Likud Party in Israel this coming Sunday.
This is not just an internal party election.
The Sharon Plan has become a hotly debated news item in Israel and throughout the world.
Essentially, the vote on the Sharon Plan will provide the first referendum on the eleven year Oslo process.
Whatever the result, the situation in Israel will radically change.
If the Sharon Retreat Plan is ratified, the precedent will be established for the Israeli government to uproot Jewish communities.
A new government will be formed. The architect of the 1993 Oslo process, Shimon Peres, once again the leader of Israel's Labor Party, will again assume the post of foreign minister. The Oslo process will continue.
If the Sharon Plan is rejected, the Oslo process will be dead in the water.
Yet what is even more newsworthy, given the charged emotions that this debate has created, is the fact that very few people across the political spectrum in Israel, and even in the media and diplomatic corps represented in Israel, have bothered to read the Sharon Plan. Even though it is posted on the official web site of the Israeli Prime Minister, at http://www.pmo.gov.il , I repeat, few people have taken the time to read the Sharon Plan.
On one of Israel's most popular call-in shows last Friday morning, where everyone calling in had a passionate comment on the issue, the talk show host revealed that not one of the callers had read the Sharon Plan.
Likud Party Chairman and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had promised to mail out a copy of his plan to all of the Likud voters.
Well, if you take a dispassionate view of the plan, you will understand why he did not send it out.
The Sharon Plan is officially called the "Disengagement Plan", because, according to the preamble to clause 1, section 1, "Israel has come to the conclusion that there is currently no reliable Palestinian partner with which it can make progress in a bilateral peace process." The preamble goes on to say that "In order to break out of this stalemate, Israel is required to initiate moves not dependent on Palestinian cooperation…Israel is required to initiate moves not dependent on Palestinian cooperation…Accordingly, it has developed a plan of unilateral disengagement"
In other words, after 12 years of negotiations with the PLO, the Israeli government has reached the solemn conclusion that the negotiations have failed completely, and that the PLO is indeed at war with the state of Israel. After more than 22,000 terror attacks
And almost one thousand people murdered in cold blood by Palestinian Arab terrorists in less than four years, that would be a seeming understatement.
Yet the paragraph that follows the preamble of the Sharon Plan is a seeming non-sequiter:
The Sharon Plan's answer to the PLO terror campaign is that "there will be no Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza Strip" and that
"upon completion of this process, there shall no longer be any permanent presence of Israeli security forces or Israeli civilians in the areas of Gaza Strip territory which have been evacuated." Why retreat in the face of PLO adversity? No reason is given.
The plan offers an analysis, however, which states that "The relocation from the Gaza Strip and from Northern Samaria will reduce friction with the Palestinian population, and carries with it the potential for improvement in the Palestinian economy and living conditions."
Why would the Israeli government suddenly state that Jewish communities in Gaza and Northern Samaria are a "source of friction"? No reason is given. Why would it improve the economy and living conditions to abandon Jewish homes and farms? Again, no reason is given. After all, the Jewish communities in Gaza and Northern Samaria did not replace a single Arab family nor do they encroach on any Arab owned land. They were, in fact, built on vacant land not owned by any individuals, be they Palestinian, Jordanian or Egyptian after 1967 Six Day War.
The Sharon Plan does state that now "there will be no basis for claiming that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory," a specious claim that no government of Israel has ever accepted, since Israel does not define itself as a foreign "occupier" of any area of the historical land of Israel.
The Sharon Plan continues with a statement that seems to belie the preamble that the PLO is not a "reliable Palestinian partner" by stating that "the hope is that the Palestinians will take advantage of the opportunity created by the disengagement in order to break out of the cycle of violence and to reengage in a process of dialogue."
Why would an Israeli abandonment of Jewish communities cause the Palestinians to "break out of a cycle of violence"? It got them all of Gaza and will result in the deportation of Jews.
Since the majority of the Palestinians in Gaza, who live in the squalor of UN Arab refugee camps, are nurtured by the ideas of the "right of return" to liberate lands where their Arab villages existed in 1948, why would Israel's dismemberment of Jewish communities established on lands where no Arab villages were lost in 1967 satisfy their political goals?
Meanwhile, another premise of the Sharon Plan is that "the process of disengagement will serve to dispel claims regarding Israel's responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." So why does the plan continue to obligate Israel to provide water pipes, electricity, industrial zones, markets, employment and an industrial zone to sustain the Palestinian Arab economy of Gaza? In the words, the Sharon Plan promises that the "Infrastructure relating to water, electricity, sewage and telecommunications serving the Palestinians will remain in place" and that " In general, Israel will enable the continued supply of electricity, water, gas and petrol to the Palestinians, in accordance with current arrangements. Other existing arrangements, such as those relating to water and the electro-magnetic sphere shall remain in force" while "economic arrangements currently in operation between Israel and the Palestinians shall, in the meantime, remain in force. These arrangements include, inter alia:
i. The entry of workers into Israel in accordance with the existing criteria.
ii. The entry and exit of goods between the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Israel and abroad.
iii. The monetary regime.
iv. Tax and customs envelope arrangements.
v. Postal and telecommunications arrangements.
Meanwhile, Israel will continue to operate The Erez industrial zone, situated in the Gaza Strip, which employs some 4,000 Palestinian workers."
So what the Israeli Prime Minister's office describes as a "disengagement plan" does anything but disengage Israel from the Palestinian Arab population.
For whatever reason, the Sharon plan assumes that the PLO will abandon its terror campaign.
The plan says, "When", and not "if" "…there is evidence from the Palestinian side of its willingness, capability and implementation in practice of the fight against terrorism and the institution of reform as required by the Road Map, it will be possible to return to the track of negotiation and dialogue."
While the premise of the Sharon plan is that the PLO will not fight terrorism, and with evidence that the PLO continues to run a system based of corruption, what basis does the Sharon plan have for any assumption that the PLO will "fight against terrorism" or institute any "reform"? There is no answer.
And when it comes to security issues in other areas, the Sharon plan promises to "evacuate an Area in the Northern Samaria Area (the West Bank) including 4 villages and all military installations, and re-deploy outside the vacated area. The move will enable territorial contiguity for Palestinians in the Northern Samaria Area "while Israel will improve the transportation infrastructure in the West Bank in order to facilitate the contiguity of Palestinian transportation." Israel will provide them buses as they blow ours up?
Does this also mean that abandoned villages and military installations will be handed over to a PLO that is "not a reliable peace partner"? Once more, since the Sharon Plan defines the PLO as maintaining a state of war with Israel, why does the same Sharon Plan provide the PLO with the strategic assistance of "territorial contiguity"? No answer is given as merrily we roll along.
Meanwhile, the Sharon Plan mandates that the Gaza Strip "be demilitarized and shall be devoid of weaponry, the presence of which does not accord with the Israeli-Palestinian agreements."
However, the Sharon Plan does not even allude to the fact that the PLO violated all previous agreements in this regard and refused to implement the agreement with Israel to have their personnel vetted by Israel. Did Sharon forget that the PLO increased against the Oslo agreement the size of the agreed upon security force from 9,000 in 1993 to more than 50,000 by 1995, ignoring protestations of the government of Israel?
The Sharon Plan that demilitarizes Gaza provides no process to disarm the PLO armed forces now in Gaza.
And what does the Sharon Plan mandate in terms of Israeli security? The Sharon Plan asserts that " Israel reserves its inherent right of self-defense, both preventive and reactive, including where necessary the use of force, in respect of threats emanating from the Gaza Strip." Incredibly, Israel's right to pursue terrorists into Gaza is not mentioned anywhere. They can shoot at us but we may not go after the terrorists.
As far as the security situation in the West Bank is concerned, the Sharon Plan states that "upon completion of the evacuation of the Northern Samaria Area, no permanent Israeli military presence will remain in this area," while another section states that " Military Installations and Infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria will be dismantled and removed, with the exception of those which Israel decides to leave and transfer to another party . . . "
Does that mean that the PLO security forces, described in clause 1 of the Sharon Plan as "not a reliable peace partner," will now inherit Israel's abandoned IDF miltary bases?
Why would Israel cede military installations to an entity with who it is in a state of war?
The Sharon Plan also states that "In other areas of the West Bank, current security activity will continue" and that " . . . as circumstances permit, Israel will consider reducing such activity in Palestinian cities…" and that "Israel will work to reduce the number of internal checkpoints throughout the West Bank."
So here we have a situation where Israel moves its forces out of cities and reduces checkpoints and is expected to maintain mobility to respond to the PLO terror war.
Perhaps the most amazing issue of all is that the Sharon Plan agrees to provide "advice, assistance and training" to "the Palestinian security forces for the implementation of their obligations to combat terrorism and maintain public order, by American, British, Egyptian, Jordanian or other experts, as agreed with Israel."
The Sharon Plan ignores Israel's decade-long failed experience with security assistance that Israel facilitated for the PLO.
The Sharon Plan ignores how military training facilitated by Israel and western countries for the PLO was abused to conduct a terror campaign against Israel in every part of the country for the past four years. The U.S. State Department trained Palestinian policemen for "security" who then used that training to kill Israelis.
The Sharon Plan goes on to say that "Israel will be willing to consider the possibility of the establishment of a seaport and airport in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with
arrangements to be agreed with Israel." Did Israel not try that already? And weren't guns and rockets smuggled in?
In terms of Israel's border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, (called the Philadelphi Route), the Sharon Plan only states that "Initially, Israel will continue to maintain a military presence along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt" and that " . . . subsequently, the evacuation of this area will be considered…. dependent, inter alia, on the security situation and the extent of cooperation with Egypt in establishing a reliable alternative arrangement."
Why "initially" and "subsequently"?
Does Israel expect that situation on the Egyptian border to change?
Will weapons continue to be smuggled through tunnels on Egypt's
And how does the Sharon Plan deal with the fate of the 25 Israeli communities that it has slated for abandonment? Three generations of families who worked hard and built productive lives on vacant
sand dunes to make a thriving agricultural community?
The Sharon Plan makes no mention of the property rights, human rights or civil liberties of the residents and landowners in these communities.
Instead, the Sharon Plan relates only to the property values of Jewish owned property in terms of how they might help their new occupants, stating that "Israel will strive to leave the immovable property relating to Israeli towns and villages intact," while "Israel reserves the right to request that the economic value of the assets left in the evacuated areas be taken into consideration" and that "The transfer of Israeli economic activity to Palestinians carries with it the potential for a significant improvement in the Palestinian economy."
In other words, terrorism pays.
But worse still, the Sharon Plan does not take into account that only the leadership of the PLO would likely take this property for themselves, irrespective of the economic needs of the Palestinian society. The record of corruption of the highest levels of the PLO is a matter of public record throughout the world.
Instead, the Sharon Plan states that "Israel proposes that an international body be established (along the lines of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee), with the agreement of the United States and Israel, which shall take possession from Israel of property which remains, and which will estimate the value of all such assets." In other words, the Israeli government has decided to implement a process designed to confiscate the private property belonging to thousands of people, without any mention of the human rights, civil liberties or the property rights of people who have the rightful deed to their homes, businesses and farms.
Instead of recognizing the rights of landowners of the Israeli communities scheduled for abandonment, the Sharon Plan offers hundreds of Israeli homes to the PLO, stating that "Israel will strive to leave in place the infrastructure relating to water, electricity and sewage currently serving the Israeli towns and villages."
Finally, The Sharon Plan envisions continued international support for the PLO, " in order to bring the Palestinians to implement in practice their obligations to combat terrorism and effect reforms, thus enabling the parties to return to the path of negotiation."
And if the support for the PLO continues and the terror does not cease? What then? The Sharon Plan provides no answer.
So there you have it. The text of the Sharon Plan speaks for itself: Ethnic Cleansing of Jews, strengthening of the PLO, and no disengagement whatsoever. This is not a disengagement plan. This is a plan of hasty retreat that doesn't even include a request of the Palestine Authority to stop endorsing the murder of Jews from their own Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation shows.
What sanctions are listed if the PLO does not comply? Is this not worse than the Oslo Accords?
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