Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sharon Explains Israel's Gaza Pullout

Maybe Sharon is wrong, but I wouldn't want to second-guess the strategic choices of the Israeli general, who not so long ago was vilified as a war criminal, indirectly responsible for Palestinian massacres in Lebanon's Sabra and Chatila camps. Now he's being vilified as an appeaser and a coward. The truth probably lies somewhere in-between. Here's an excerpt of his speech on Israeli television:
It is out of strength and not weakness that we are taking this step. We tried to reach agreements with the Palestinians which would move the two peoples towards the path of peace. These were crushed against a wall of hatred and fanaticism.

The unilateral Disengagement Plan, which I announced approximately two years ago, is the Israeli answer to this reality. This Plan is good for Israel in any future scenario. We are reducing the day-to-day friction and its victims on both sides. The IDF will redeploy on defensive lines behind the Security Fence. Those who continue to fight us will meet the full force of the IDF and the security forces.

Now the Palestinians bear the burden of proof. They must fight terror organizations, dismantle its infrastructure and show sincere intentions of peace in order to sit with us at the negotiating table.

The world awaits the Palestinian response - a hand offered in peace or continued terrorist fire. To a hand offered in peace, we will respond with an olive branch. But if they chose fire, we will respond with fire, more severe than ever.