Gaza withdrawal supporters wrongly
predicted increased security
New York – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, has stated that “The IDF will definitely have to operate in Gaza.” Speaking at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday, Halutz said that Palestinian Arab terrorist groups in Gaza continue to accumulate combat materiel and dig tunnels for weapons smuggling. He also said that the terrorists are attempting to amass anti-tank weapons “as we saw in the Hizballah warfare in the north.” MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a former Chairman of the Committee, demanded a comprehensive military operation in Gaza in order to put an end to the rocket attacks being launched from there into Israel. Following the session, MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union) stated, “The Chief of Staff did not relate at all to the fiasco of having the IDF waste a full year on the Disengagement. They took the entire army for that mission. How could it be that the Chief of Staff didn’t knock on the table and demand an end to that!?” (Israel Nation News, September 19).
Palestinian terrorism from and weapons smuggling into Gaza have continued unabated since Israel’s withdrawal from the territory last year, despite promises of increased Israeli security made by its advocates at the time.
Examples of erroneous predictions by supporters of unilateral withdrawal:
- Then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: “The purpose of the Disengagement Plan is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security … These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with” (Herzliya Conference, December 18, 2003).
- Labor MK, Danny Yatom: “Before the withdrawal from Lebanon, the Intelligence Directorate also threatened us with Katyushas reaching Hadera and we see what actually happened. I estimate, and my estimate is just as valid as those that threaten us with horrors, that after we leave the Gaza Strip, terrorism will decrease, not increase” (Maariv, February 5, 2004).
- Then-Defense Minister, Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz: “I anticipate that the level of terrorism will drop after the disengagement and after pragmatic Arab forces take control” (Israel National News , July 2, 2004).
- Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz: “We will find a full answer to the Qassems without crossing lines” (Speech at Bar-Ilan University, March 24, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said , “The IDF Chief of Staff’s remarks at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday demonstrate as clearly as anything could that last year’s unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was not only a moral and human rights loss, since it involved uprooting 9,000 Jews from their homes, schools, synagogues, farms and businesses, but that it was a strategic and military disaster as well. Advocates of the Gaza withdrawal predicted increased security for Israel, but the very opposite has materialized. According to the Head of Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency), Yuval Diskin, Palestinian arms smuggling into Gaza increased by 300% within a few months of the withdrawal. Diskin also said in January that Palestinian terrorists had succeeded in smuggling in many anti-tank missiles and at least three anti-aircraft missiles, something that never happened when Israel maintained military forces in Gaza. Qassem rocket attacks are a daily occurrence and Qassem rockets have hit Ashkelon, endangering vital national infrastructures, which were previously out of the terrorists’ range.
“Therefore, the Gaza withdrawal has been a military disaster and it is consequently not surprising that General Halutz has foreshadowed that IDF troops will have to remain operating in Gaza to deal with the threats that unilateral withdrawal clearly worsened. One year since the Gaza withdrawal, it has been conclusively demonstrated that those who supported it in both US and Israel were tragically mistaken. The ZOA hopes that the Israeli government will heed this lesson and not revive proposals for further unilateral withdrawals in Judea and Samaria, which would prove only more tragic and dangerous than the Gaza withdrawal.”