The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has commended the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman, Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima) and former Officer Commanding Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Forces, Maj.-Gen. Yiftah Ron-Tal, for courageously acknowledging the truth that last years Israeli unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was mistake.
Hanegbi has said that Israels unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was perceived as weakness, and the weakness brought about attacks in Gaza and the north … it was not conducive to better security or to peace ( Jerusalem Post, October 5). Ron-Tal has stated that there was a clear connection between the IDFs failure in the recent Lebanon war and its participation in the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza last year and the uprooting of 9,000 Jews from their homes, schools, synagogues, farms and businesses. Our army last June and July was in a sufficient state of fitness to subdue Hizballah, but the army dedicated most of its time to training for the disengagement, and therefore the training suffered. It was not on such a level that it was impossible to fight, but there was a need to remove the rust in the first days of fighting. Did the army have to participate in the disengagement? It wasnt its job to evacuate Jews, which was non-consensual, and it, as the army of the people, was not supposed to do that ( Jerusalem Post, October 4).
Other critiques of the Gaza withdrawal:
- Former IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon: Gaza has turned into Hamastan, Hizbullahstan and al-Qaedastan … Israels unilateral withdrawals were perceived as escape from the rocket threat. Israel failed to create reliable deterrence for the future ( Yediot Ahronot, January 23).
- Former head of National Security Council, General Giora Eiland: described the Gaza retreat/evacuation plan as contributing nothing to the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Haaretz, June 4).
- Minister of Tourism Labor MK Yitzhak Herzog: One must not ignore the feeling that a prize for terror is created as a result of such processes [of unilateral withdrawal]. Today it is already clear that one of the reasons for the victory of Hamas in the elections was the interpretation of part of the Moslem world of the disengagement ( Maariv, May 12).
- Veteran left-wing columnist, Danny Rubenstein: As far as security and peace is concerned, the contribution of such a move [unilaterally leaving Gaza] will be minimal. In fact, the security situation may even deteriorate, and it will be very difficult for Israel to move closer to peace ( Haaretz, June 5).
- Likud MK Gideon Saar: Unlike promises that the disengagement would bring a better reality, the forecast made by opponents to the disengagement is coming true ( Jerusalem Newswire, July 5).