I’ve expressed concerns about the path that Israel is on with respect to its profound security issues, without having much to offer in the way of constructive criticism except a desire for Israeli officials to explain themselves. When I recently attended presentation in St. Paul by IDF counterterrorism officers, the officers noted the lack of any visible operational change from the Arafat era on the Palestinian side either on the West Bank or in Gaza. (They otherwise scrupulously refrained from commenting on poltical developments.) See generally Caroline Glick’s April column “The Palestine problem.”
The coming Israeli pullout from Gaza seems destined to relegate the area to Hamas. Despite the resurrection of the “road map” to the creation of a Palestinian state, neither the Bush administration nor the Israeli government seems to have a road map to the cessation of the Palestinian war on Israel or the removal of the terror gangs from Palestinian territory.
Yesterday Israeli security forces foiled a double suicide attack by Islamic Jihad in Jerusalem (click here for the Jerusalem Post story). For American consumption, Daddy Mazen states that the suicide bomb era “may be over” (click here). He expressed only the reservation “that if progress toward a peace agreement was not achieved in meetings with Sharon next month, ‘despair and loss of hope will come back and a return to the old ideas’ of armed resistance.” As “old” as yesterday, I guess.
Today Haaretz runs an interesting interview with the retiring chief of the IDF: “Ya’alon: Israel to face terror war after pullout.” Here’s the heart of the interview:
“If there is an Israeli commitment to another move, we will gain another period of quiet.”
“If not, there will be an eruption … Terrorist attacks of all types: shooting, bombs, suicide bombers, mortars, Qassam rockets.” Without an additional withdrawal, “there is a high probability of a second war of terror,” which will begin in the West Bank.
Asked whether Ya’alon intended to say that, following the disengagement, Kfar Sava’s situation will be like Sderot’s today, he responded: “And Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, too. There will be suicide bombings wherever they can perpetrate them.”
In the interview, Ya’alon said that recent statements by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas show that Abbas “has not given up the right of return. And this is not a symbolic right of return, but the right of return as a claim to be realized. To return to the houses, to return to the villages. The implication of this is that there will not be a Jewish state here.”
Therefore, he said, the establishment of a Palestinian state will lead to war “at some stage,” and such a war could be dangerous for Israel. The idea that a Palestinian state can be established by 2008, and will then produce stability, is “divorced from reality” and “dangerous,” as any such state “will be a state that will try to undermine Israel.”
Asked about the current situation in the PA, Ya’alon responded: “For the Palestinians it is still convenient to maintain a gang-based reality rather than a state foundation.
“When [the PA] permits Hamas to take part in the elections without abandoning its firearms, is that democracy? It’s gangs. Armed gangs playing at pretend democracy,” he said. “If Fatah continues to behave as it does now, Hamas will eventually take over the Gaza Strip,” he added.
I suppose that Ya’alon’s predictions are debatable, but they certainly have substantial factual support. In any event, it seems fair to ask where precisely this road map is leading.