Benjamin Netanyahu resigned from the Israeli Cabinet, and sent this resignation letter (translation from IMRA):
Mr. Ariel Sharon Prime Minister Jerusalem
From the first conversation when you presented your plan to me, I told you that I oppose unilateral withdrawal without anything in return, that in my estimation will strengthen the forces of terror. As a minimum I asked for the inclusion of the settlement blocs within the security fence before the beginning of the withdrawal and the holding of the Philadephi Corridor in our hands. In this way we would be neutralizing the impression that we are running away from terror and instead shows that we are choosing a new defense line in accordance with out national interests. In addition, we set that after then the Government would be able to consider if to decide on the evacuation in light of the reality developing in the area.
To my sorrow, the security fence has not been completed around the settlement blocs, the Philadelphi Corridor will be handed over to the Palestinians, and worse than that, we will allow the Palestinians to open a sea port that will be open to the terror boats.
To my disappointment, the Government ignores reality. As I warned, the Hamas is strengthening, the terror continues, the firing of rockets and mortars on our communities has not ended, and terror elements proclaim that they will move the rockets that drove us out of the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria, and from there will operate them until “the complete liberation of Palestine.”
I do not know when the terror will break out in full force. It is possible that it will take a month or two or a year or two. It is possible that the terror will first break out in Judea and Samaria. I hope that it won’t break out at all. But just as I warned in 1993 that the Oslo Agreement will bring attacks from Judea and Samaria and rockets from Gaza, so I unfortunately am convinced today that the current move will bring in the course of time to an increase in terror rather than a decrease. As you know full well, security officials also confirm that in the wake of the unilateral withdrawal they expect an increase in terror in the mid-run.
In summary: it is becoming increasingly clear that the unilateral withdrawal under fire doesn’t give us anything. The opposite; it endanger the security of Israel, divide the Nation, and sets the principle of withdrawal to the ’67 lines that are no defendable.
This is not the way to achieve peace.
I always thought that the withdrawal from Gaza is possible in an agreement or for a reasonable consideration. That is not the case now. Therefore, what are we receiving in return for the withdrawal? What are we receiving for uprooting families with their children, their homes, their graves! We will receive an Islamic terror base.
After the terror attacks in New York, Washington, London and Sinai, the world begins to understand that it is necessary to fight terror and not make compromises. The international community understands more and more that it is impossible to fight terror by running away from it, because the accumulating experience shows that the terror only strengthens and pursues us. And yet Israel, which showed the world the way to fight terror, now, goes in the completely opposite direction.
In recent months I hoped that the Government would open its eyes against this clear reality and change direction. But the opposite happened. A balanced Government that reflected the will of the People in the last elections has turned into a Government that carries out automatically policies that oppose the principles of the Likud and the mandate that we received from our voters.
Mister Prime Minister, you could have kept a balanced National Government. You could have prevented the splitting of the Nation. Over the course of months I asked for a national referendum that would maintain unity in the Government and the Nation. To my sorrow, you chose to oppose it, as before you chose to ignore the referendum of the Likud members that you initiated and whose results you promised to honor. Now, in these hard days before us, the need for reserve, control and responsibility from all parts of the Nation and the Government is greater than ever.
All this time I remained in the Government despite my growing opposition to the withdrawal given the developments. I did this as an attempt to minimize the dangers and damages resulting from the unilateral withdrawal. An attempt that to my sorrow has been exhausted. And I did it out of responsibility to my position as minister of the treasury. We are in the middle of carrying out a revolution of reforms and privatizations unprecedented in the market, which will strengthen the State of Israel and its economy. These days I completed the two last reforms, in banks and reducing taxes, and I prepared a responsible State budget that I developed in complete coordination with you.
When I entered my position two and a half years ago, the Israeli economy was on the edge of collapse. Today this economy is healthy, growing and vibrant. If the economic policies that I led are not changed, the growth will continue and reach all parts of the Nation.
Today we reached the moment of truth. There is a way to reach peace and security. Unilateral withdrawal under fire without compensation is not the way. I am not prepared to be a partner to a step that ignores reality and blindly advances the establishment of an Islamic terror base that will threaten the State. I am not prepared to be a partner to an irresponsible move that endanger the security of Israel, divides the Nation, sets the principle of withdrawal to the ’67 lines, and in the future even endangers the unity of Jerusalem.
Therefore I advise today of my resignation from the Government.
Best regards, Binyamin Netanyahu
Yoni Tidi, a long-time guest on my program and 20 year veteran of Israeli security services, has repeatedly warned on air that Gaza will become the R&D center for al Qaeda. He’s not alone. Here is Barbara Lerner’s take from last month on what approaches:
To see what Hamas control of Gaza will mean for us in Iraq, we have to see it as our enemies do – not just Hamas, but its parent organization, the Brotherhood, and its longtime partners Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and the Wahhabi and Salafist movements. To do that, forget Israel entirely for a moment. Look only at the terror war against America, and at the geography of Islamofascism that supports it. Place Gaza in that context, and its strategic location jumps out at you. Control of Gaza gives Hamas and its partners direct access to the land border with Egypt, as well as access by sea to terrorist supply ports in Lebanon and Syria, and from them, overland, to the terror training camps in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran and to the ratlines from Syria into Iraq.
This is the reality we face: The “Palestinian democracy” we rattle on about is a mirage no desert-dweller is seduced by. Abu Mazen is president of nothing; his Fatah party no longer exists. It never was anything but a collection of competing terrorist gangs, but Arafat was a master manipulator who controlled them all by keeping the big carrots and sticks in his own hands and wielding them with ruthless cunning. With his death, Fatah splintered into a multitude of shifting groups and now they’re not just competing – they’re at war, regularly breaking up each others meetings with gunfire and shooting each other down in the streets, along with hapless bystanders. We pretend that with our help and a huge new infusion of Western cash the 58,000-man Palestinian security forces will be able to create order out of this internecine chaos, but this too is a mirage. It’s the security forces that are doing most of the shooting, mostly at each other. As U.S. special envoy General William Ward, our no-nonsense military expert on the ground in Gaza told us last week, Palestinian security forces are “dysfunctional.” Only about a third of them actually show up for work, and it doesn’t make much difference when they do, because the chain of command that supposedly links them to their leaders is so broken that Abbas and his few remaining loyalists can barely get them to protect his headquarters in Ramallah, let alone the whole of Gaza and the West Bank.
Netanyahu’s action won’t stop the pullback, but it will make it impossible to argue that no one saw the worst case clearly.
Yoni, btw, does a number on my Presbyterians. We deserve it. Leave it to the Louisville bureaucrats to get everything exactly wrong. You can oppose the Israeli pullout from Gaza, or you can support it as a wild gamble for peace, but attempting through corproate divestment to put more pressure on Israel is just revealingly ignorant.
There are many Presbyterians who understand how foolish, unjust and dangerous is the “divestment” movement within the PCUSA. Unlike Netanyahu, we have a few options other than resignation. The Louisville church bureaucrats and a few radicals in the congregations have often triggered backlashes in the past, and this controversy is likely to move to that stage now that the actual “divestment” appears to be underway.
Here is the “official” announcement of the PCUSA policy. Background biographies of the five member committee steering this disastrous course are here, here, here, and here.
This “phased divestment” policy is quite obviously a charade, an anti-Israel policy dressed up in the sophistry of Divinity School humbug. The majority of Presbyterians reject this absurd policy, and I suspect now that it has moved beyond the committee endless talking phase, a number of congregations will act quickly to demand of their elders a response that reflects that commitment to Israel.