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Thursday, August 11, 2005 

Ariel Sharon's policies increasing terrorism

Here's an interesting article in the Jerusalem Post (via Ace of Trump) that reveals that Sharon's willingness to withdraw from Gaza have only helped increase Arab/Islamic terrorism:
The Shin Bet statistics, however, have major significance – because they demonstrate that Sharon's security policy, which is based on the twin foundations of the disengagement and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is failing dismally.

According to Sharon, disengagement is supposed to radically improve Israel's security. One would therefore have expected that as the date of the pullout approached, and the Palestinians, who were initially skeptical, began to realize that it would indeed happen, the level of violence would have declined. But instead, according to the Shin Bet, the number of Palestinian attacks in July exceeded the total for any other month of the past year and a half.

THUS FAR from reducing Palestinian violence, the impending disengagement appears to be fueling it – which is precisely what pullout opponents have always predicted. Opponents argued that Palestinians would view a unilateral withdrawal, with no Palestinian quid pro quo, as a retreat forced upon Israel by their five-year-old terrorist war – which in fact, according to polls, is precisely how almost three-quarters of them do view it. As a result, the disengagement would convince the Palestinians that violence works, and therefore encourage them to do more of it.

Under this theory, one would expect the violence to rise as the withdrawal neared. The initial announcement would have little impact, since most Palestinians did not believe that Sharon was serious. But the more convinced they became that the plan was real, the more convinced they would become that their violence had indeed borne fruit. And the fact that this is indeed what has happened bodes ill for Israel's security in the post-disengagement era.

The same is true of Sharon's concessions to Abbas in exchange for the latter's declaration of a truce in February. To bolster the alleged truce, Sharon freed some 900 Palestinian prisoners (some of whom have already been rearrested for renewed terrorist activity), returned some West Bank cities to Palestinian security control (one of which, Tulkarm, soon became such a hotbed of renewed terrorist activity that the IDF reinvaded it), and dismantled many army roadblocks, making it easier for terrorists to move freely through the territories.

If concessions aimed at "strengthening" Abbas were indeed effective policy, one would expect the violence to gradually decline over time. Instead, after a sharp drop during the first few months, the level of violence quickly rebounded to the 18-month high recorded by the Shin Bet in July. In other words, six months into the truce, the number of Palestinian attacks per month is now higher than it was during the entire year preceding the truce. Indeed, more Israelis were killed by Palestinians in June and July than during the same months last year, when there was no truce.

And that, of course, is precisely what opponents of these concessions had predicted. Opponents had argued that the terrorist organizations, severely battered by the IDF's counterterrorism campaign, agreed to the lull because they desperately needed time to regroup, rearm and recruit. Under this theory, one would expect the level of violence to drop sharply initially and then rise as the terrorist groups gradually rebuilt their capabilities. The fact that this is what happened indicates that the terrorists are indeed rebuilding their capabilities, and that, too, bodes ill for Israel's future security.

The Shin Bet statistics thus indicate that Sharon's two main security policies – the disengagement and the truce with Abbas – have been undermining Israel's security rather than improving it. That, surely, is of far more significance than another anti-disengagement demonstration or a minister's resignation.
And this is one more pointer on why Ariel Sharon must resign, ditto his would-be defense minister Shaul Mofaz.

Update: in related news, The Jerusalem Diaries weblog talks about how the Jerusalem Post seems to be taking an otherwise favoratist position towards Ariel Sharon, and presents an AP Wire report that's actually more accurate than what Israel's leading English daily does.

Reading this, I gotta admit that I do wonder at times if I should really recommend them as a worthy news site, since their new editor came some time ago. They've had many different EICs, some good, others bad, and are all over the place as far as news coverage - and even opining - can go.

Update 2: here's something partly related: On Israel National News, an Army Radio journalist admits that the Israeli media/political system in Israel has been turning a blind eye in allowing/encouraging "disengagement" at the price of democracy:
He explained that one of the reasons for the failure is the feeling of closeness of the media with the Prime Minister when they fly together. The media and senior government officials have "become a part of the [Sharon] family who fly together [on press trips] and do not truthfully openly protest for fear of being demoted," Shafran wrote.

The media kept silent, he added, when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "lied" by saying he would accept the results of a Likud referendum on disengagement. "The media's conspiracy of silence protected Sharon when he fired cabinet ministers who did not support disengagement," he wrote, noting that the media also ignored the High Court's criticism of the dismissals.

"We denounced [former Minister] Benny Elon (National Union) for not immediately making himself available to receive the letter of dismissal, but we ignored the criticism of the High Court" on the firings, Shafran wrote.
Well I'm glad someone is coming around now to admit that the so-called media in this country that takes the side of its enemies has failed so badly. Like as if their jobs were the most important thing, eh? Yeah, right.

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