Planning for Gaza in a Post-Disengagement Environment

(Jerusalem Post)Gerald M. Steinberg - The IDF incursion in Gaza was designed to strengthen the IDF's ability to defend the strategic Philadelphia Route along the border with Egypt and to prevent the smuggling of explosives and weapons into Gaza, including Strella shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. A wider patrol road protected by a ditch plus other obstacles, and removal of structures used by Palestinians to hide tunnels or for attacks against Israeli forces, should significantly improve ongoing security. Policy-makers responsible for the disengagement process briefly flirted with the idea that an international force, along with Egypt, would assume responsibility for preventing smuggling of weapons into Gaza. However, international involvement is a recipe for abandoning all pretense at serious security limits. The international force pledged by the UN and the EU, under French leadership, to disarm Hizballah after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon exactly four years ago, vanished into thin air. Ultimately, only an immediate Israeli presence on land, sea, and air can intercept and deter Palestinian efforts to obtain long-range weapons in Gaza. The writer is director of the program on conflict management and negotiation at Bar-Ilan University.

2004-05-27 00:00:00

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