Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Painful Withdrawal

"A man does not often change his deepest convictions. But it is not unusual for a man to change his calculation of risk." - The Economist
Bush might want to consider that; but this is actually in reference to Ariel Sharon, who recently got the approval of the Knesset (barely) for the withdrawal of Jewish settlers in Gaza.
Many that supported Sharon's plan want a referendum on the issue, but Sharon is fighting it.
"A person can change their mind from time to time but not give in to pressures and ultimatums," [Sharon] told Haaretz newspaper.
"My position on the referendum is unchanged - I am opposed because it will lead to terrible tensions and a rupture in the public."
People are already divided within Gaza, with some even being targeted by vandals for their views about leaving. This situation will only get worse, as members of the Likud Party and other government officials have threatened to leave the government if a referendum is not called.

It seems like such an odd move for Sharon to push this withdrawal plan. I have no doubt that it is an appeasement effort. Many Palestinians suspect that this withdrawal is just a distraction as Israel takes tighter control of the West Bank.
I remember that after I first heard of the proposal (and doubted its motives) there followed several assassinations of Palestinian leaders. - Pay no attention to the gun I am holding in my other hand.

Still, Sharon seems intent on this plan and I will not pretend to understand the machinations in this situation.

"In the end, the dark and inner thoughts of these geriatric war-horses are unknowable and scarcely matter (not least because neither is likely to be around for the end). What does matter is what they do or can be forced to do while they have power, and whether their actioins look likely to make things better or not. Measured by that yardstick, Mr. Sharon's plan to quit Gaza is a good thing, no matter what his true motives." - The Economist
I am frustrated by the US treatment of the situation. Both Bush and Kerry seem intent on ignoring Yassir Arafat, a fact which has more to do with national politics than any sense that it will help things over there.