Monday, January 13, 2014

Is there a lesson in Ariel Sharon’s death?

This week, Israel buries Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister, war hero—and creator of the 2005 ‘Disengagement Plan’. As a result of that Disengagement, 8,000 Jews were expelled from Gaza—and Jihadi Jew-hate now bangs on Israel’s door.  

Disengagement was a grand gesture. By making Gaza Jew-free, Prime Minister Sharon hoped to enhance Israel’s security. He hoped to polish Israel’s international reputation. He wanted to show how willing Israel was to make ‘tough decisions’ for peace.

But Israel didn’t get peace. It didn’t get security or a burnished reputation. It got 8,000 -12,000 rockets fired from Gaza, sometimes on a daily basis. It’s been demonized at the UN. It’s being threatened by the European Union. Gaza meanwhile, was supposed to become a haven for peace and prosperity. It’s turned out to be a ‘haven’ for corruption, unemployment and brutal rulers.  

Disengagement failed. It’s become the poster-boy for failure.

But it’s not a failure for US Secretary of State John Kerry. Before Sharon was buried, Kerry said Sharon made ‘tough decisions’ for peace (“In tributes to Sharon, a not-so-subtle message for Netanyahu”, (01/12/14, Times of Israel). Kerry is said to have uttered these words hoping that current PM Netanyahu will learn a lesson: he should make his own Sharon-like ‘tough decisions for peace’.

But Sharon’s death does not remind everyone of ‘tough decisions for peace’—primarily because Sharon’s Disengagement didn’t beget ‘peace’. For some, Disengagement has empowered Jihadi extremism (listen to Hamas speeches). For others, Sharon’s death at precisely the moment Kerry promotes ‘peace’ (“ Kerry: 'Peace Now,' in 2014”, 01/13/14, Arutz Sheva), is a reminder of a different kind: those who surrender Jewish land pay for their treachery.   

Is that possible? Well, here is a list of what has happened to the major players in the 2005 Gaza Disengagement Plan (see “Katzav Said: 'This is Happening to Me Because of Gush Katif', 01/02/11, Arutz Sheva; and “Sharon’s Fate Part of Stunning Downfall of Gush Katif Perpetrators”, Jewish Press, January 2, 2014):

- Ariel Sharon, the prime minister who carried out the Disengagement, suffered a stroke shortly afterward. He remained in a coma for almost nine years before passing away early January, 2014.

- Omri Sharon, Ariel’s son and close political aide, went to jail for corruption.

- Chaim Ramon was a senior minister in Sharon's government who championed the Disengagement. He was found guilty of sexual offenses.

- Dan Halutz, IDF Chief of Staff, was forced to resign after an investigative committee blamed him for botching the Second Lebanon War.

- Moshe Karadi, Commissioner of Police, Southern Command in 2005, was forced to resign after a committee of inquiry found fault with his actions regarding organized crime.

- Ehud Olmert was Sharon's deputy during the Disengagement. He replaced Sharon as Prime Minister--and continued to support the Disengagement decision. Olmert  resigned after being charged with corruption.

- Uri Bar-Lev was Commander of the Police's Southern District.  He resigned because of sexual misconduct allegations.

- Tzachi HaNegbi was a member of Sharon's government. He resigned from the Knesset after being found guilty of corruption.

- Avraham Hirschson was a minister in Sharon’s government. He was convicted of embezzlement.

-Niso Shacham was a police commander in 2005 caught on video vulgarly giving orders to his policeman to use excessive force on non-violent, unarmed civilians who had gathered to protest the Gaza expulsion. In 2013, he resigned from his post as Commander of the Jerusalem District after being indicted for sexual harassment, indecent assault, fraud and breach of trust.

-Dan Halutz was IDF Chief of Staff who had replaced Moshe Yaalon. Sharon didn’t trust Yaalon to carry out the expulsion order. Halutz did. He resigned from office in disgrace when it was discovered that he had sold off his investment portfolio just hours before the second Lebanon war began.

- Yonatan Bassi headed the Disengagement Authority. He was forced to leave his own community because of public anger against his support for expelling the 8,000 Gaza Jews.

- Moshe Katzav was President of Israel during Sharon’s Disengagement Plan. He has been found guilty of rape and serves time in prison.

-Shaul Mofaz was Minister of Defense for Ariel Sharon. In March, 2012, he reached the zenith of his political career. He defeated Tzipi Livni by a 61.7 vs 37.2 per cent vote to become leader of Israel’s Kadima Party.  But then, under his leadership, Kadima collapsed from having won 22.5 per cent of Israel’s vote in the 2009 national election to 2.09 per cent in the 2013 national elections. In a matter of months, he plummeted from Leader of the opposition to ‘failure’.

There may have been others in public office who supported the Disengagement—and remain untouched by it. But these Disengagement advocates (above) have certainly suffered public humiliation.

Is this coincidence? Can the public humiliation of fourteen powerful people within eight years—all of whom are  connected to Disengagement--really be coincidence?

Former Israel President Katsav believes it is not coincidence. He is reported to have said that the charges which ruined his career were divine punishment for his role in the 2005 expulsion.

Not everyone buys such an argument. Most probably reject it. Still, Sharon’s death does come at an interesting time. There is ‘pressure-for-peace’ against Israel. Kerry uses Sharon’s death to promote peace just as others remember that Sharon’s surrender of Gaza did not bring peace. His death reminds them that, if anything, Disengagement brought Arab Jihad closer to Israel.

According to some, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu has a choice. He must choose between John Kerry and the G-d of Israel.  The question is, which message will he take away from Sharon’s death? He can choose the Kerry message of more surrender; or, he can choose the lesson that Israel’s land belongs to G-d, who may not be kind to those who give away what is His.

What choice will Netanyahu make?

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