Jerusalem Post, November 17, 2012.
“Ariel Sharon, one of Israel’s more legendary heroes (with all due respect and his present vegetative state notwithstanding) has done more to damage Israel’s security and position in the world, even to the extent of calling into existence her future as a State, than almost any other person – and this in the long and not just the short-term – except perhaps Moshe Dayan, his partner in crime (and these were supposed to have been two of Israel’s most hard-line leaders – themselves, in fact, serving someone supposed to be even more hard-line than themselves, Menachem Begin).
Though I would not characterize myself as one of the Labor Party, give me Golda Meir or Levi Eshkol any day. I refer, of course, both to the unilateral withdrawals from Gaza and Sharon’s cooperation and sanctioning of (to the extent of setting the precedent even through violence) the removal of thriving settlements – Yamit which he (not even Moshe Dayan – what Dayan did was leave the Temple Mount in unilateral control of another Religious Authority) dismantled being, for example, the precedent.
This has now become abundantly clear in the present deleterious circumstances both the Israel Government and populace now find themselves. We can now see the foolhardiness and error of all these decisions (even though some would say “hindsight is 20-20”) in all their clarity. There is no escaping it. They have put both Israel’s security and future and even possibly its very existence – at a time when it does not have a sympathetic Administration in Washington – into mortal jeopardy.
Sharon, hero of Israel, “has” in Winston Churchill’s inimitable words, “fed the crocodile” – an article by Daniel Greenfield entitled “Christopher Stevens feeds the Crocodile”, quoting Churchill and applying it to the recent death of the U.S. Ambassador in Libya (http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/christopher-stevens-feeds-the-crocodile/? – again, not to speak ill of the dead, but simply to be brutally frank) who, it seems, was not such an innocent at all but America’s intermediary on the spot to al-Qaeda-type extremists there – even supplying them with arms from the previous regime for use in Syria and reportedly, too, an inveterate anti-Israeli – “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last”.
Can there be any doubt that this is what has occurred, now that Hamas rockets are falling and killing people in the center of Tel Aviv and others reaching even to the outskirts of Jerusalem with certainly more to come, as the direct after-effect, delayed or otherwise, of the ludicrous unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, after years of carefully-prepared and chosen security settlements in that troubled hotspot?
Nor was there any reason for this to be done so precipitously, including the uprooting of settlements strategically-placed and of long-term presence without any negotiation and no quid pro quo. What was the reason for it? Egotism, egocentrism – the cult of personality, pure and simple – me right or wrong – ‘I know more than all the rest of you and I don’t have to either explain or justify my actions.’ But now one sees that he does or should have, for the results of this have been and continue to be more catastrophic than the situation previously and more catastrophic than anything Israel has previously had to face in the last four decades.
But this is not the end of it. This is only one of its latter effects, the results of which are still to be seen and undergone. From where do these missiles come and how have so many and so much more-effective ones made their way into the area and come into play, not only in places like Gaza but, of course, Lebanon and adjourning areas, to say nothing of Iran? Why, via Sinai of course – the Sinai Accords; and who is responsible for these to a certain extent – why Ariel Sharon, among others, of course.
We cannot stop here, but must move back in time to the period of the Sinai Accords of the late 70’s with Carter and Sadat; and what was the result of this and who was responsible for theseWhy Begin backed by Sharon and Dayan, of course; and not only this, but the dismantling of Yamit as well. Here, as already noted, Sharon established the precedent for dismantling the first settlements which he among others had originally been responsible for, which is why he no doubt felt ‘He could play God’ with the others. So, thirty years later he doubtlessly felt no compunctions at further enlarging on this with the unilateral retreat and withdrawal from Gaza and all the settlements he himself had originally helped establish there.
So where are we now and what is the long-term effect of all this? The long-term effect of all this is the situation we are presently witnessing – missiles now falling as far East as Beer Sheva and even the outskirts of Dimona and as far North as Tel Aviv, and now the outskirts of Jerusalem – terribly destructive missiles, missiles of much greater efficacy and power, in numbers of the sort no one previously ever dreamed of.
Moreover, these will be coming from all directions the moment Israel embarks on any kind of offensive military action, whether this be towards the Gaza Strip or towards the missile concentrations in Lebanon, which is bound to come sooner or later; or even to the greater goal of wiping out the Iranian nuclear potential and threat. This is the situation one presently finds oneself in and which any fair observer would be able to remark is almost completely self-inflicted
There never should have been a withdrawal from Sinai in the manner that took place. Nor should there ever have been the uprooting of settlements like Yamit and the other cities of Southern and coastal Red-Sea Sinai, nor Moses’ Holy Mountain, nor the oil and gas reserves which would have made Israel energy independent, nor the ultra-modern airbases, some even reputedly underground – all these surrendered for nothing much more than ‘a kiss on the cheek’ by Sadat while the whole so-called “Palestinian” issue was left behind on the table to fester, as it were, and the massive Gaza population concentration taken off of Egypt’s hands where previously it had laid; and then, in the very next breath, Sadat assassinated by representatives of the very same Muslim Brotherhood that has presently taken control of Egypt and threatens to assist those in Gaza in their terrorist activities and abrogate all previous treaties and responsibilities anyhow.
This is what is meant by “Feeding the Crocodile” and that is what Sharon, vegetative state or conscious, along with his like-minded fellow “hard-liners” (if this was “hard”, what then is “soft”?) has clearly bequeathed to us. This is the state we presently find ourselves in and what will ultimately be and have to be the answer to this?
Well, obviously, ultimately the reoccupation of Sinai – sooner or later, but now it will just as obviously be without American support (just as it was under Jimmy Carter) – though there never was any reason for leaving it in the first place! This is the largely uninhabited (except now by terrorist and arms-smuggling bands) fallback position-buffer zone and land area – even for recreation – Israel so desperately needed and now absolutely requires, even though Egypt is continuing to make threats over it.
Sinai was never demarcated till T. E. Lawrence and Wooley’s time prior to World War I. It was a no-man’s land, not part of Egypt, not part of anywhere – undeclared territory. But Israel has already acknowledged Egyptian suzerainty over virtually all of Sinai and this will be hard to take back; so how is this to be accomplished – the mistakes of the past reverberating into the present? The present writer has no answer for these things, except to say that sooner or later, they will have to be done and under the present administration where no support or backing even in the UN can be anticipated at all – only that Israel for its very survival and to avoid nuclear Holocaust (and this will work both ways!) must somehow learn from its mistakes and pull together.
Gaza is another story entirely and whatever else might be clear, no security withdrawal should ever have taken place there, particularly one which again was virtually unilateral, uprooted long-standing and thriving settlements, and received no quid pro quo. Anyone with any vision can clearly see what is coming here. Anyone with any vision can just as clearly see what has occurred in Gaza and accelerated after this foolhardy, unilateral withdrawal – Gaza now turning into, with the new regime in Egypt and with Iranian help, the new missile bastion. The writer has no answer to these things – the only answer being, as he has already expressed it both at the beginning and end of this article – Israel must stop “feeding the Crocodile”.