|Israeli drills search for terror tunnels on the |
Gaza border. (AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov)
05 May '16..
In the last year, Israel’s foes and critics have redoubled their efforts to pressure it to end the “occupation.” Most observers assume that to mean that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank and/or much of Jerusalem. But do these people actually care what would happen if Israel did just that? The current standoff on the border between southern Israel and Gaza gives us a pretty good idea of the answer to the question.
The independent Palestinian state in-all-but-name run by Hamas terrorists that exists in Gaza has lobbed thousands of rockets at Israeli towns and cities and has dug tunnels in order to facilitate cross-border kidnapping and murder raids. The discovery of yet another such elaborate tunnel by the Israel Defense Forces and the skirmishing with Hamas as it seeks to prevent the army from destroying that and other such facilities illustrates what the government of Gaza does with the aid that is funneled into the strip ostensibly to help the poor and rebuild homes destroyed in the last war. That raises the question for those activists determined to help isolate Israel or to disassociate Americans and Jews from its measures of self-defense, why the silence about Gaza terror? In whose name does Hamas dig?
Few of those who seem most outraged by the presence of Jews in these places where Jewish history began seem to think they have any sort of obligation to also pressure the Palestinians to make peace with Israel in exchange for such a gesture. Of course, given the continued Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel or to indicate that any sort of gesture from the Netanyahu government would incline them to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn, such calls would not be heeded.
But those who are most vocal about about the occupation — a term that most Palestinians, including their supposedly moderate leader Mahmoud Abbas, thinks refers to all of Israel, including the lands under its control before June 1967 — seem to be curiously silent about what happened when Israel did end their presence in part of the territories. The occupation of Gaza ended in 2005 when then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulled out every Israeli soldier, settler, and settlement from the strip. Sharon was no peacenik but by that point he agreed with the notion that Israel needed to separate from the Palestinians.
Yet the withdrawal from Gaza — the exact thing that Israel’s critics have said they wanted — led to two interesting developments.
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