New York – Trudy Rubin, long-time Mideast senior columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, whose leftwing record is well-known, has unequivocally stated that Israel’s Gaza/Samaria withdrawal/expulsion plan rewards Palestinian Arab terrorism, undermines Israel’s security and greatly strengthens Hamas. Rubin said she just came back from Lebanon and saw first hand how strong Hezbollah has become due to the belief that Hezbollah terror drove the Israelis out. Rubin added, what the Lebanon withdrawal did for Hezbollah, the Gaza withdrawal will do for Hamas. This Gaza Plan will send one clear message, Rubin said, that the best way to get Israeli concessions is by force — not by negotiations.
In her article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (7/20/05), she wrote, “” if Rice wants to understand the dangers posed by the Gaza pullback, she should visit southern Lebanon. I was there last week.
“A drive around the hilltop villages of Lebanon’s south provides a clear and powerful warning: Any Israeli pullback carried out unilaterally will undercut Israel’s security and the shaky future of the peace process itself.
“Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon in 2000 for its own security reasons. But most Lebanese credit the Shiite Muslim, militia, Hezbollah, with driving Israel out. The United States labels Hezbollah a terrorist organization, yet Hezbollah now controls the south. It is viewed throughout the region as the one armed Arab group that has defeated Israel — by suicide bombers and guns.
“Drive down south in Lebanon, and nearly every light post is adorned with posters of Hezbollah martyrs, killed in battles with Israelis. Hezbollah-run clinics and schools serve the poor. Bus tours take Shiite youths to a former Israeli-run prison and to the frontier with Israel, where they can stare into Israeli military outposts a few yards away, beyond barbed-wire barriers. They visit gift shops where they can buy Hezbollah t-shirts, mugs, and cigarette lighters.
“The prestige of “expelling” Israel has also made Hezbollah’s political wing one of the most powerful players in Lebanese politics, more potent than Amal, the more moderate Shiite parry. Hezbollah will soon get seats in the new cabinet.
“What are the lessons from this South Lebanon tale for the Gaza pullout? A pullout from Gaza that it carried out unilaterally will backfire. It will lead Palestinians to the conclusion that the best way to end Israeli occupation is not by negotiations — but by force.
“ Hamas and Islamic Jihad will be the victors and Palestinians will view the Israeli pullback as the consequence of military attacks. Islamists will become heroes; A third Palestinian uprising may explode, focused on Jewish settlements on the West bank.
“The unsettling model for what Gaza could become is visible today in southern Lebanon. It is late in the day to prevent it. But that should be Rice’s model during her trip.”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “Trudy Rubin has joined a long list of leftwing columnists as well as Israeli political and military leaders who now strongly oppose this Gaza withdrawal Plan. Even General Abner Mitzna, the Labor Party candidate, who ran against Ariel Sharon on a platform to leave several Jewish communities in Gaza, said he would do so only in the context of a negotiated agreement where the Palestinian Arabs would make some concessions to Israel as well. Mitzna has criticized the structure of Sharon’s Gaza Plan as has former Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
“Dr. Donald Kagan, distinguished Professor of History and Classics at Yale University, wrote in his book, The Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, that “appeasement and one-sided concessions have failed to bring peace in every attempt throughout history. Each time this approach was used, violence or war soon followed.”