As “Kasam” rockets continue to rain on the Israeli city of Sderot and the kibutzim near by and as the radical Islamic Palestinian terror group “Hamas” and “Islamic Jihad” take control over Gaza asking whether the unilateral withdraw from the Gaza Strip was wise is ever more justified. To answer this question I believe we should look at the bigger long term picture.
The Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip housed over 1,400 families. These settlements were strategically located and enabled the Israeli army to maintain some control over the Gaza strip and the refugee camps within it which house terror infrastructure and are used a base for terror activities and terrorists.
The Israeli public opinion regarding the settlements in the Gaza strip where mixed. Many objected to the heavy military presence required to defend these settlements, the price paid in human life, the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population and the enormous budgets that had to be invested in civilian and military infrastructure.
There was little doubt of the settlements strategic contribution and, by looking back, the contribution of the Israeli military presence to sustain the Palestine moderates in power but the price to be paid was high. Israel was on low moral ground, the supposed oppressor of 1.5 million Palestinians. The defense of these settlements took it’s toll from the Israelis and Palestinians in life, suffering and budgets. Justifying the presence of 1,400 Israeli families among 1.5 million Palestinians was nearly impossible for the word public opinion justifiably tends to emphasize the civilian suffering regardless of circumstances such as terror activities carried out in its name. Another, very important aspect, was the military presence as perceived by the Palestinian population having to face roadblocks and ID checks constantly perpetuated the notion of occupation.
The logic and rational behind the unilateral withdraw is still sound. Israel is on higher moral ground having withdrawn with out conditions from the Gaza strip and allowed the Palestinians full control over it. Road blocks and military outposts vanished from the population’s sight and envying Israeli settlements as well will allow a generation of Palestinians to grow independently.
It is true the Palestinians, as always it seems, have missed yet another chance to establish a foundation for a nation based on growth and success and have chosen, it seems, to wallow in the hatred manifested by radical Islamic organizations. The taking over of Hamas over the Gaza strip has enabled Israel to demonstrate to the world it’s impossible position and day to day struggle with terror.
Israel has failed to convince the public opinion of the lack of its responsibility for the Gaza strip and continues to provide it with gas, electricity, water and food ironically keeping “Hamas” in power. Israel is facing increasing military build up in the gaza strip and the import of weapons and munitions to the gaza strip which is slowly but surely on its way to become another southern Lebanon. However, the unilateral withdraw will prevail to be one the better more justified decisions taken by Israel for the moral basis on which it stands.