Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Continuing to ignore the mistakes behind the myth

...The disengagement failed to reach any of its objectives. Hamas has taken over Gaza Strip, and the rockets possessed by terror groups can cripple half the country. The threats against Israel have grown significantly and terrorism has reared its head.

Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
14 January '14..

Now, after he has been laid to rest with full eulogizing glory, it is time to remember that the crown adorning Ariel Sharon's head did not shimmer solely with "steeled victory and golden hope," as President Shimon Peres put it, but was actually dulled by steeled failures and fool's gold.

Sharon, who has been lauded as an outstanding military commander and a brilliant strategist, made two crucial mistakes during his years as prime minister, and it is a shame that the sad farewell from the man is clouded by an attempt bury the truth.

Sharon was the one to coin the phrase "restraint is a sign of strength," despite knowing better than anyone else that terrorists see restraint as nothing but a sign of weakness.

He exercised restraint against the backdrop of unprecedented waves of Palestinian terror, which claimed the lives of 1,115 Israelis; and it was the successful Operation Defensive Shield of 2002 that proved how wrong he was to assume that "restraint is a sign of strength." History will judge whether hundreds of lives could have been saved had he launched the military campaign sooner, but this question must be asked.

Sharon's other colossal mistake was the 2005 disengagement from Gaza Strip -- a decision whose bitter results we are still dealing with today.

It is enough to listen to Sharon's "soft presentation" of the plan to realize that his premise was refuted yet again. He cynically ridiculed all the pessimists who predicted terror tunnels or rocket salvos -- which are now a reality.

The disengagement failed to reach any of its objectives. Hamas has taken over Gaza Strip, and the rockets possessed by terror groups can cripple half the country. The threats against Israel have grown significantly and terrorism has reared its head.

Sharon was spared these images, and he never had a chance to beg the Gush Katif's settlers' forgiveness, like many of his partners in the disengagement have done over the years.

The way in which the disengagement was executed was undemocratic and outrageous. The proponent of the settlements became their destroyer, reneging on the explicit promise he made to his voters in general and in Likud in particular, who vehemently opposed uprooting Gush Katif's communities.

He also refused to present the move to the public, maybe because he knew he would lose. Instead, he dismissed and appointed ministers left and right to ensure his ranks were stacked with MKs who supported his plan.

He then formed Kadima -- one of the most corrupt political parties in Israel's history. He undermined the Likud and later won an election by the virtue of what can only be described as mass Kalantarism [coined for Rahamim Kalantar, a Jerusalem councilman who in the 1950s zigzagged between parties to ensure his election]. Anyone who now lauds Kadima's inception as political heroism is trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes.

History will also have to judge the premise set by former MKs Yossi Sarid (Meretz) and Zvi Hendel (National Union), who said that "the extent of the uprooting [of Jewish settlers] depends on the extent of the investigation [of corruption charges against Sharon]."

This explanation for Sharon's ideological change of heart mere months after he had preached the security importance of Gush Katif was later adopted by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who even reiterated it in his book, "The Long Short Road."

Sharon and his sons tried to deny it, but senior Haaretz commentator Yoel Marcus, to whom Sharon gave the scoop on the disengagement in February 2004, later wrote the opinion piece, "Corruption can wait," saying, "Every so often, precious historic opportunities arise. When such an opportunity comes our way, we must remain focused and not allow ourselves to be distracted by other issues, however important they may be."

Several days later, I wrote an opinion piece in that very same paper, "Corruption can't wait."

I believed then, as I do now, that even those who thought that the disengagement was a wonderful plan, had no right to defer Sharon's corruption investigation until the disengagement was done without first getting to the bottom of one very important question: Was the plan formulated in good faith or was it of a more insidious nature?

The past few days, which have seen many revisit the issue of the disengagement, have skirted the issue yet again -- not in good faith.

Link: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=7009

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