When the blood-curdling battle cry exhorting the masses to slaughter the Jews,
“Itbach al-Yahud,” was first shouted on April 4, 1920, by Arab marauders
rampaging through the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, it was accompanied
by another mantra: “A-Dawla ma’ana” – the government is with us.
the first brazen reverberation of the trust that Jews can be attacked with
impunity, that no deterrence exists. It was since oft-chanted during the
perpetration of other atrocities during the British Mandate era masterminded by
Haj Amin el- Husseini, most notably the hideous Hebron massacre of
In a broad sense, that same premise endures and it has spurred
Hamas and its assorted Gazan cohorts – all Husseini’s avid torchbearers – to
escalate their rocket fire, ambushes and other assorted
Their confidence was buoyed by a confluence of conditions.
Foremost was the seeming Israeli toleration for the random rocketing of an
ever-expanding sphere of population centers. Our prolonged inaction had lent the
impression of powerlessness and, in our region apparent weakness only invites
But there was much more than the Arab
misinterpretation of our Western-minded moderation and inclination to delude
ourselves that if we overlook sporadic barrages from Gaza, its homicidal ardor
will somehow dissipate.
Added to the Gazan perception that Israel has
lost its mojo, is the rise of Muslim Brotherhood hegemony in Egypt. For Hamas
this means that the biggest Arab state has its back. Hamas is itself a Muslim
Brotherhood offshoot, boasting the identical ideological DNA as the new Cairo
There is no underestimating the boost afforded Hamas by the
conviction that it has whom to rely on, that it can always expect reinforcement
via its border with Egypt and that Israel will fear upsetting its rickety peace
with the transformed Egypt.
That means a freer hand for Gaza to indulge
The upheaval in Cairo, moreover, didn’t spring spontaneously
in a vacuum. Not only did US President Barack Obama not maintain so much as an
aloof detachment, but he to a great measure enabled the overthrow of Hosni
Mubarak, no bedfellow of Hamas.
Obama’s reelection is grasped throughout
the Arab world as Israel’s misfortune. Freed from the fear of the voter,
last-term president Obama will be tougher on Israel, Hamas believes, and
concurrently the softest- ever in his attitude to Islamist radicals.
readings of the situation crucially raised Gaza’s chutzpah quotient.
upshot is a latter-day version of ADawla ma’ana. Gaza felt that no restrictive
authority stood in its way. The proverbial Dawla – the powers which didn’t
hamper Hamas – included the newly fraternal Egypt, the presumably pliant
Washington and, up until recently, a hesitant Israel.
Israeli timidity is
the most vital element of the above three. Indeed it constituted the fundamental
instigation to Hamas’s ascendancy and audacity. Hamas wouldn’t be where it is –
in position to threaten central Israel, benefit from Egyptian patronage and
expect American lenience – were it not for Israel’s seminal Oslo folly and its
derivative disengagement dementia.
Every single warning desperately
voiced back in the day against naïve territorial surrenders has been far more
than fully vindicated.
Reality has mercilessly exceeded even the direst
of predictions. As it turned out, our greatest pessimists failed to anticipate
the full horror of the consequences of Israeli concessions. It all went far more
dreadfully wrong than anyone could remotely envisage.
Oslo’s first sucker
was prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was railroaded by his then-foreign
minister Shimon Peres into accepting a deal concocted illicitly behind the
scenes. Thoroughly hoodwinked, Rabin delivered a glowing sales pitch on the
White House lawn: “In the alleys of Khan Yunis and the streets of Ramat Gan, in
Gaza, Hadera, Rafah and Afula, a new reality is born. The hundred-year-old
Palestinian- Israeli conflict is ending.”
How Peres’s dupes roared with
derision when warned that their subterfuge will result in Katyushas raining down
on Ashkelon. Political critics were pronounced unadulterated anathema and
denigrated as “Hamas collaborators.”
“Where are those Katyushas?” Rabin
He surpassed even his own considerable capacity for
contempt when marking Oslo’s first anniversary in 1994. Here is a verbatim
translation of what he had to say on that occasion: “The Likud’s nightmare tales
are familiar. Did they not even promise us Katyushas from Gaza? For already a
year the Gaza Strip is under the control of the Palestinian Authority and there
wasn’t a single Katyusha and there will not be one single Katyusha. All that
talk is just empty talk. The Likud has a deathly fear of peace. They are the
cowards of peace!”
As more and more political fortunes were sunk into the
Osloite pit and as more and more intoxicating fumes were inhaled by more and
more gullible and/or opportunistic junkies, so it became harder to kick the
addiction. How unremitting were their efforts to hook others. No ploy was too
For the sake of restraint, we won’t even dwell on the fact
that forecasts that Ashkelon would come under fire were painted in 1993 as
unbelievably insane and outrightly malicious scare-mongering. Yesteryear’s worst
worrywarts didn’t dare conjure up scenarios of Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Holon,
Bat Yam and other Dan region safe-havens being in Gaza’s rocket range. We have
already long accepted that Ashdod, Yavne and Beersheba are.
take an Einstein to work out that something in the grand Oslo design didn’t
quite go to plan – not that this would be remotely admitted by Peres, his
agenda-pushing sidekicks and the whole weird gamut of farsighted creative
omniscients who gravitate to the left wing of our political arena.
didn’t end there. The nature of downward slides is that things go from bad to
worse and then to lots worse.
On October 25, 2004, as he urged the
Knesset to approve his reckless withdrawal from Gaza, prime minister Ariel
Sharon assured the nation that “this disengagement will strengthen Israel’s hold
on the territory essential to our existence and will win the blessing and
gratitude of those near and far, will lessen enmity, will break besiegement and
boycotts and will further us on the path of peace with the Palestinians and with
all our other neighbors.”
In the same vein, Sharon’s deputy Ehud Olmert
also energetically peddled the same dodgy merchandise: “Disengagement will bring
better defense, greater security, significantly more prosperity and much joy to
all who live in the Mideast.... Together we will move forward in the direction
of forging new relationships, improved mutual understanding and enhanced trust.
We will sit with our neighbors, talk to them, help them, cooperate with them,
become their partners, so that the Middle East will indeed transform into what
it was supposed to be to begin with – the Garden of Eden upon this
As the shattered shards of these sham inducements tumbled
menacingly all around us, not only wasn’t Olmert the least bit contrite, but he
vigorously concocted a disengagement sequel for Judea and Samaria, which he
It was to bring the dubious bounties of Gaza’s
disengagement to the elongated eastern flank of our densest population
This is what we must be forever wary of.
and ensuing military operations come and go but our collective memories soon
fade away, overtaken by the inexorable march of fresh news superimposed on
yesterday’s banner headlines. As the current fighting in Gaza recedes into the
past, new schemes will be spawned for more giveaways of strategic
To this day our political arena bristles with know-it-alls who
adamantly refuse to connect cause and effect, who deny the direct link between
the evacuation of Gush Katif, along with the north Gaza buffer settlements, and
the emergence of Hamastan, armed to the teeth with all manner of flying
projectiles, capable not only of harassing the Negev but of reaching Tel Aviv
It wasn’t coincidence that propelled an emboldened Hamas
to power hot on the heels of our withdrawal and that freed it to fire at will on
us from the very Jewish settlements we razed. It was Israel that gave Hamas the
capacity of deciding how and when it might arbitrarily disrupt the lives of
Israeli civilians. Gaza’s monstrous gunrunning was likewise plainly facilitated
by the IDF’s absence.
There’s no getting away from one underlying and
incontrovertible fact – any territory Israel relinquishes is soon converted into
a full-blown threat.
We had to reenter Lebanon in 2006 subsequent to Ehud
Barak’s brilliant unilateral disengagement of 2000. Because we returned so
clumsily and because of Tzipi Livni’s diplomatic fiasco, Hezbollah’s menace has
We had to regain control of the PA’s Samarian cities
in 2002 to halt the slaughter on the streets of central Israel. It’s a surefire
bet that things will get horribly bloodier if we stupidly surrender more control
in Judea and Samaria again.
Four years ago we were forced back into the
very Gaza from which we disengaged.
We patently reengaged during
Operation Cast Lead four years ago. We are now reengaged yet again in Operation
Pillar of Defense, having had to reappear on Gaza’s scene, much as we sacrificed
to disengage from it.
Disengagement’s most elementary definition is to
free or detach oneself from a given association. It’s a disconnection, a
Yet Gaza tenaciously dogs us and won’t let us
Our successive confrontations with Gaza are as explicit an
acknowledgement as can be that disengagement has failed, that we are not
disengaged, that disengagement doesn’t hinge on our wishful thinking, that
disengagement is as much a chimera as truce, peace and all gradations in
Moreover, any future ill-conceived “disengagement” will
necessitate further reengagement.
Our recurrent reluctance to reengage
will unquestionably awaken anew the Arab A-Dawla ma’ana arrogance.
only antidote is not to disengage.www.sarahhonig.com