Sharansky Resigns

Israel’s Diaspora Minister, Natan Sharansky has resigned over Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan. Sharansky’s resignation letter calls Sharon’s Gaza pullout plans a “tragic mistake” that will encourage Palestinian terrorism and further divide Israeli society.

“As you know, I was opposed to the disengagement plan from the outset, on the basis of my deep belief that every concession in the peace process made by the Israeli side must be accompanied by democratic reform on the Palestinian side,” Sharansky wrote.

He told Israel Army Radio that he considers the disengagement plan “a tragic mistake that exacts a high price and also encourages terror.”

Sharansky’s argument is not without merit, but it’s hard to argue how keeping Israel engaged in Gaza does Israel any good. Abbas seems willing to negotiate in good faith, but he doesn’t have the power to deal with groups like Hamas. Keeping Israel in Gaza only weakens Abbas’ position, and if Abbas goes, someone worse is bound to take his place. It’s not unreasonable to expect that the Palestinians make democratic compromises with Israel – however, Israel must also realize that a tactical retreat is in their best interests.

Sharon is in deep political trouble, and disengagement may end up bringing him down. If that happens and disengagement is ended, Israel will only see itself continue to be mired in the conflict with the Palestinians. Sharon is acting in the best interests of Israeli security. He knows that Gaza is not a defensible position. However, it’s not easy for the Israeli people to forget years of mistrust and broken promises on the part of the Palestinians. If Abbas wants to see Israel out of Gaza, he must do something to demonstrate his commitment to stopping terrorism. Elsewise Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan may well fail, and if it does he may fall as well.

2 thoughts on “Sharansky Resigns

  1. Thank you for a great blog. I usually agree with your stated point of view, but I strongly disagree with you on this issue of Sharon’s disengagement plan. It is disasterous for Israel!

    The Palestinians have never, not once, carried out any of their commitments to the so called peace plan. They have not ceased their incitemnet of violence against Jews, even Jewish children. They continue to murder those of their own people who support peace with Israel. They have not disarmed any terrorists. In fact Abbas has said plainly that he WILL not. He has not even rid the PA’s own security forces of terrorists, let alone stood up to Hamas terrorists. Hamas never was and never will be just a political organization, unless their stated objective of driving all Jews out of Israel can be considered a valid political objective. It is ethnic cleansing, plain and simple.

    Pulling out of Gaza without first requiring the Palestinians to stop facilitating terrorism merely gives the terrorists another reward for their murders. Why should they stop murdering Jews? They get land for no peace, without even pretending to desire a peaceful co-existence with Israel.

  2. The issue here is that Israel should not be held hostage by the settler movement. Using up so much Israeli military manpower for 8,000 Gaza settlers was not a long term benefit for Israel. The problem with many settlements is that people go there simply for cheaper land, and Israel essentially bails many of these communities out. The conditional loyality shown by segments of the settler population are alarming. I support any Israeli member of knesset who wishes to oppose Sharon because that is their democratic right. But the problem is not these men such as Sharansky, but people like Zvi Hendel and others in the far right National Union Party and also people like Effi Eitam from the National Religious Party who seem to be encouraging open rebellion. Israel must act harshly against any politician, rabbi, solider, or civilian who encourages or partakes in sedition. I wish this was part of a multilateral deal (its unilateral nature is what cost it the support of Rabbi Ovadia Yossef and the Shas party), but even still believe that its being carried out tremendously helps Israel.

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