New York — The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University has issued a report, The Effects of Disengagement on Palestinian Politics and Society, that predicts that the implementation of the Gaza/Northern Samaria withdrawal/expulsion plan will lead to an eruption of Palestinian terrorism in Judea/Samaria and create conditions of political, social and economic chaos among Palestinians.
The report, drafted by Mark Heller, an expert on the Palestinians, and Shalom Harari, a former advisor on Palestinian affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, also predicts that the Palestinian Authority will fail to maintain law and order in Gaza and that a land grab for Jewish property and the enlargement of the armed forces of the terrorist movement Hamas will follow (Jerusalem Post, August 13). In fact, Arieh OSullivan in the Jerusalem Post said, The bottom line in the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies paper is that the disadvantages and risks of the disengagement outweigh the benefits.
The report issued by the Jaffee Center accords with the views of many senior military, intelligence and political leaders in Israel, who have predicted that the Gaza/Northern Samaria withdrawal/expulsion plan will lead to more terrorism, not less. They believe a mini-Hamas/al Qaeda terrorist state will evolve and Palestinian terrorists will feel emboldened to intensify their attacks upon Israel.
Heller and Harari conclude that, After the disengagement, terrorisms center of gravity will shift to the West Bank and target the settlements, while Gaza will serve as a rear echelon and support base for this activity. The Jaffee Center also predicted that without public order and transparency, the $3 billion in announced global aid for reconstructing Gaza risks disappearing like the billions in aid given to the Palestinian Authority before 2000.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, It is puzzling that this report was not released until the very day the plan was finally to be implemented, especially when its findings are so devastating. Nevertheless, the Jaffee Center report is but the latest indication coming from informed experts who are left of center that this withdrawal/expulsion plan is not going to be a step on the road to peace but a step on the road to more terrorism and bloodshed.
They join other left-wing leaders and commentators deeply concerned about this plan, such as former Labor Justice Minister and current Yahad/Meretz leader Yossi Beilin, former Labor Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami and leading Haaretz columnist Danny Rubenstein. Leading political leaders who believe that this plan will lead to disaster include former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, former ministers Benny Begin, Benny Elon, Uzi Landau and Natan Sharansky, and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.
Outgoing Chief of the Israel Defense Forces Moshe Yaalon recently stated that this Gaza plan was decided by Sharon without consultation with anyone in the top echelon of the military establishment. Yaalon said Sharon returned from meetings with President Bush in the United States and presented this plan as a fait accompli.
The findings of the Jaffee Center accord with what numerous senior Israeli military and intelligence figures have been saying: that this withdrawal/expulsion plan will lead to increased terrorism and not secure Israeli interests. These include the current General Security Service Chief, Yuval Diskin, former General Security Service Chief Ami Ayalon, former Air Force Commander Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Uzi Dayan, former IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Shlomo Gazit, former Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Yaacov Amidror, and former Mossad heads Ephraim Halevy and Shabtai Shavit.
It is deeply troubling that PM Sharon apparently ignored such a wide variety of informed opinion and decided to proceed with this plan regardless.