NEW YORK- Many leading Israeli military experts are warning that a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza could lead to increased Arab terrorism against Israel.
According to Israel Radio (Feb.17, 2004), senior Israeli Army officials are urging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he should make an Israeli retreat from Gaza conditional on the Palestinians not being able to operate a sea port or airport from Gaza. If the Palestinians are able to operate a sea port or airport from the Gaza Strip after the Israeli retreat, the Palestinians would be able to import weapons that would threaten Israels security, they are warning.
Major-General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on February 10 that a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will be seen as surrender to terrorism and might motivate further terrorism. (Maariv, Feb. 10, 2004)
Shlomo Gazit, former chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, wrote: Our exit from Gaza will transform it into a big armed camp into which weapons of all kinds will stream via land, sea and maybe even air. It will also become an arsenal for independent development and production of arms. Moreover, this capitulation will be rightly viewed as an unambivalent victory for the Palestinian armed struggle. (Maariv, Feb. 9, 2004)
Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens wrote: The announcements of an impending unilateral withdrawal and the uprooting of settlements is bound to give encouragement to the supporters of the Palestinian terror campaign. Just as we are close to victory, we will be strengthening their determination to continue with their campaign of terror. And how are we going to fight Palestinian terrorism after the withdrawal? By remote control? Withdrawal from Gaza looks great at first sight; but on second thought, it is a bad idea at this time. We are likely to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. (Haaretz, Feb.17, 2004)