D. Rubinstein, Major Columnist For Israel’s Ha’aretz, Has Second Thoughts, Now Says: Don’t Withdraw From Gaza
July 18, 2005

New York – Danny Rubinstein is the most prominent journalist in Israel covering Palestinian Arab affairs. He has been writing on this issue for 30 years. He authored a biography of the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat and formerly wrote for the Labor Party/Histadrut newspaper Davar.

Writing today (7/18/05) in the prestigious leftwing Israeli daily Ha’aretz (sometimes known as the New York Times of Israel), he said, “The time has come for those who favor the unilateral disengagement from Gaza to think again, because it may be that the entire issue is not worthwhile… The argument for second thoughts stems from the events of recent days, which raise fears that a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza is causing serious security damage to Israel.

“The fact that a majority of the Palestinian public sees Israel’s decision to withdraw as a sign of the victory of the intifada has long been known. It is hard to argue with this. Years of a peace process and negotiations between the Palestinians and Israeli governments, including Likud governments, have not led to Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The idea of withdrawal entered the mind of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon only after suicide attacks, Quassam rockets and mortars.

“Even if these attacks were not the reason why Sharon came up with the idea of disengagement, the Palestinians are certain that that is the case, and this has reinforced their belief that Israel only understands the language of terror attacks and violence. This belief will now become an absolute certainty — if Israel withdraws unilaterally under fire.

“Those who are taking credit for the great victory of the withdrawal from Gaza, and with a great degree of justification, are the members of Hamas, which led the attacks and the terror campaign against Israel….’We are partners in blood, and we want to be partners to the decisions,’ say Hamas spokesmen.”

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “Prominent Israeli journalist Danny Rubinstein has joined a long list of important leftwing leaders who are opposed to this Gaza Plan as constructed by Israeli PM Ariel Sharon. They include former Labor Party Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, former Labor Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former General Security Chief Ami Ayalon, former Air Force Commander Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, former IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Uzi Dayan, former IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Shlomo Gazit, former Mossad Heads Ephraim Hakevy and Shabtai Shavit.

“Danny Rubinstein’s concern that this Gaza retreat will cause only more terror is supported by a recent statement by Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas commander, who sees the disengagement from Gaza as ‘proof of our victory. The withdrawal is an important achievement of the Palestinian people, its intifada and armed struggle, its determination and great sacrifices and confirms the willingness, correctness, and usefulness of employing an armed struggle and its ability to attain political objectives.’

“In addition, Jibril Rajoub, Palestinian Authority Security Chief and former head of its secret police, said that while the present ‘period of calm’ would remain in effect at least until Israel withdraws from Gaza, after this withdrawal ‘We will have to re-evaluate the situation…the period of quiet will not last longer than the scheduled withdrawal from Gaza unless it is actively renewed by the various organizations.’

“And Israeli leader Natan Sharansky said last month, ‘I oppose the disengagement plan which is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism, and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace.’…and General Yaacov Amidror added that ‘leaving Gaza creates a dangerous possibility that Hamas will provide a Gaza safe haven for al-Qaeda…including operational, logistical and financial sanctuary there.'”

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