After the Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza

Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post) - * What, in fact, is the most likely course of events in Palestinian politics after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza? o There will be no decline in incitement or change in the public rhetoric of Palestinian officials speaking to their own people. Thus, Israeli suspicions regarding their intentions will be reinforced. o The Palestinian movement will continue to be oriented toward conquest and revenge rather than nation-state nationalism. o No stable government with real control over the territory will be created in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority will ignore the road map's provisions about stopping terrorism and disarming radical groups. o The Israeli withdrawal will be claimed as a victory for terrorism, thus laying the basis for more of the same. o Palestinian security forces will stand by most of the time and do nothing as not only Hamas and Islamic Jihad but also Fatah gunmen try to attack Israel. Then the Palestinian leadership will scream when Israel retaliates. The big losers here will be the Palestinians themselves since this continuing war will destroy any chance of development. o Anti-corruption efforts will remain tiny. The new aid money being offered by the West will disappear without a trace. o The Palestinian leadership will do everything possible to avoid power-sharing, wider democracy, or fair elections. * Does this mean Israel should not withdraw? Actually, one could argue the exact opposite. For if nothing is going to change anyway, why should Israel be bound to the status quo? Take away the excuse of "occupation" and let the world - and, far more importantly, the Palestinians themselves - see the real cause of their problems. Let Israel determine its best deployment of security resources rather than have to be permanently tied down to being in the whole Gaza Strip. * Of course, one should add that Israel largely withdrew from the territory 11 years ago, when it was turned over to the tender mercies of Yasser Arafat. The presence of 7,500 settlers and Israeli control over certain roads had very little effect on the Palestinian situation there. The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs.

2005-08-12 00:00:00

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