WHY LIKUD VOTERS MUST REJECT SURRENDER TO TERRORISM
By Bernard J. Shapiro
There are many reasons Likud voters should reject PM Ariel Sharon's plan to surrender Gaza to terrorist Arabs and expel its peaceful productive Jewish residents. I have broken these reasons into three categories: moral, strategic and security. Also I will discuss the fact that U.S. President George Bush's commitments to Sharon have no practical value and are of little more than "smoke and mirrors" to cover up a flawed plan. Then I will review the guarantees Israel has given Bush to achieve these delusions. When you look at the whole picture, I believe you will agree that all Likud members should vote a resounding NO against this surrender to terrorism plan.
1. The expulsion of Jews from Gaza is no different from the expulsion of Jews from any country. This includes the expulsions from Israel by the Romans, Assyrians and Babylonians. In Europe Spain, England, Germany, France, Poland and Russia drove Jews from their homes of many centuries. That Jews should be expelled from Eretz Yisrael by a Jewish government makes it all the more morally reprehensible.
2. Gaza is clearly a part of the Holy Land given by G-d to Abraham for the Jewish People in perpetuity. Sharon has no right to take it upon himself to divest all of us of our inheritance.
3. Sharon claims that the removal of Jews from Gaza would strengthen Israel's ability to protect other Jews. This goes against all Torah principles which state that it is wrong to sacrifice one Jew to save another.
4. One of the greatest moral flaws is the attempt to stifle debate on this crucial decision for the future of Israel. Sharon has refused to debate the issue. The media presents only one side, that of retreat. Israeli politicians are blackmailed into thinking that to go against Sharon's surrender the United States would be upset (which it would not).
5. Surrender to terrorism will embolden it and increase the killing worldwide and not just in Israel.
Gaza has always been strategically important. Throughout history it has been the route of invasion from North Africa into Israel and beyond. Egypt has used Gaza to attack Israel during warfare and with terrorism since before the State of Israel was declared. Jutting like a finger into the heart of Israel it sits only 40 miles from Tel Aviv. Rockets and missiles from Gaza, after retreat, will certainly hit Israeli population centers. Already the strategic port of Ashdod has been struck and most areas in the Negev will become front line communities.
Worse still from a strategic standpoint will be the absence of good intelligence on the ground in Gaza. This will make impossible the targeted assassinations terrorist leaders. It will also create a safe haven for the terrorists to do research and development on advanced weapon systems like missiles capable of carrying biological or chemical warheads.
Israelis are being promised security by leaving Gaza. Unfortunately this will not be the case for a number of reasons:
1. Arabs will still enter Israel to work and a certain number will be homicide bombers.
2. The Gaza fence will not be a perfect barrier to infiltration of terrorists into Israel. With the increased motivation resulting from Israeli retreat, they will seek new innovative ways to cross the barrier. For example, their success in building tunnels into Gaza will be re-directed to tunneling into the Negev from Sinai or directly under the fence.
3. Israelis should expect the terrorists to place greater emphasis on involving Israeli Arabs in acts and support of terrorism. There will be no let up in the terrorist pressure despite assurance that leaving Gaza will have beneficial effects.
PRESIDENTIAL DECLARATIONS – Are They Binding?
Yoram Ettinger recently published a list of American commitments from history that have proven how worthless those promises were "when push came to shove." We should certainly not rely on American promises in our decision to vacate strategic territory and compromise or moral values and security interests. Here is his list of infamy:
FACT: According to the US Constitution, no presidential declaration/promise is binding without a Congressional legislation or ratification.
FACT: President Bush's statements (Apr. 7, 2004) on the "1967 Lines" and the "Claim of Return" are not binding. He did not oppose the "claim of return", did not recognize Israel's sovereignty over major settlement blocks in Judea & Samaria, and did not support Israel's sovereignty beyond the "1967 Lines." Presidents Johnson and Reagan stated (September 10, 1968 and September 1, 1982) that Israel should not be expected to withdraw to the "1967 Lines", but it has not prevented their successors – and did not prevent them – to expect such a withdrawal.
FACT: President Clinton committed (in 2000) $800MN to Israel, to induce a withdrawal from So. Lebanon. Israel withdrew, Palestinian terrorism escalated, but the committed assistance has not been extended.
FACT: Saudi F-15s are stationed at Tabuq, south of Eilat, threatening Israel, in defiance of President Reagan's 1981 commitment to Congress and to Israel.
FACT: President Bush promised (in 1991) to direct 30% of US bombing to Western Iraq, in order to destroy the Scud missile launchers, dissuading Israel from a preemptive offensive against Iraq. However, only 3% of the bombing were directed at W. Iraq, the launchers were not destroyed, but Israel was hit in its Soft Belly.
FACT: President Nixon committed (in 1970) the US to oppose the deployment of missiles, by Egypt, toward Sinai. Missiles were deployed, Israeli complaints were ignored by the US, and the 1973 War erupted taxing Israel with 2,800 fatalities (more than 100,000 in US terms).
FACT: President Eisenhower issued (in 1957) Executive commitments to Israel, in return for a full withdrawal from Sinai. In 1967, Egypt violated the agreement with the US and Israel, the Egypt-Syria-Jordan axis tightened around Israel, President Johnson did not implement the 1957 commitments, which paved the road to the Six Days War.
FACT: Presidential candidate Bush made a commitment (in 2000) to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. In 2004, the embassy is still located in Tel Aviv.
FACT:According to the US Constitution, international treaties and commitments assumed by the president must be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate, in order to be constitutionally binding.
FACT: According to the US Constitution, the Power of the Purse is on Capitol Hill. No presidential financial commitment stands, unless legislated by Congress (which is constrained by rigid budget caps).
FACT: According to the US Constitution, the president and/or Congress can rescind any international commitment by issuing an Executive Order and/or by a congressional vote.
FACT: A President may bypass Congress by Executive Agreements and Executive Orders, which could be rescinded by the president, by his successors and by Congress.
FACT: US international commitments (including NATO) are characterized by ambiguity, lack of specificity and by the absence of automaticity of implementation, in order to preserve the interests of the US (rather than the interest of other countries).
The contention that presidential declarations/promises are carved in stone reflects misunderstanding of the US democracy, a dangerous delusion and ignorance of precedents, which have taxed Israel severely.
In return for an ambiguous, non-specific presidential declaration – devoid of an automatic trigger – Israel is expected to carry out a specific, certain and tangible retreat, which would constitute – according to Israel's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Dec. 3, 2003) – a tail wind to Palestinian terrorism.
ISRAEL'S COMMITMENTS TO BUSH
Israel made many commitments to Bush which greatly limit Israel's sovereignty and its ability to act in its national interests. Some of them are listed below:
1. No settlement growth beyond the limits placed on Israel by the Americans. US Ambassador Kurtzer, who has a pro-Arab bias, will determine those limits.
2. Removal of unauthorized outposts. The list of such outposts will be presented to Ambassador Kurtzer within 30 days.
3. Palestinian revenues should be dispersed. This matter is pending in various courts of law in Israel, awaiting judicial decisions.
4. The Israeli government remains committed to the two-state solution – Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security – as the key to peace in the Middle East.
5. The Israeli government remains committed to the road map as the only route to achieving the two-state solution.
6. The Government of Israel supports the United States' efforts to reform the Palestinian security services to meet their road map obligations to fight terror. Israel also supports the American efforts, working with the international community, to promote the reform process, build institutions, and improve the economy of the Palestinian Authority and to enhance the welfare of its people, in the hope that a new Palestinian leadership will prove able to fulfill its obligations under the road map. The Israeli Government will take all reasonable actions requested by these parties to facilitate these efforts. [This is the most ridiculous of commitments. Can you train terrorists to fight terrorism?]
THE BOTTOM LINE
I hope the Likud voters will review carefully the material presented here. I believe there is an overwhelming case for voting no on the surrender referendum for moral, strategic and security reasons. And also, the commitments of Bush and Sharon do nothing to change the realities on the ground and we should be wary of falling for "nice words" that mask the real issues. The future of Israel is in your hands now, please do the responsible thing.
Bernard J. Shapiro is the executive director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies <www.freeman.org> and the editor its monthly Internet magazine, THE MACCABEAN ONLINE.