Prof. Morris teaches at both California Polytechnic Institute-Pomona and the Wingate Institute in Israel. He also serves on the SPME Board of Directors
I have been asked this question many times the last week or so-why are you against disengagement? Here is part of my answer: To unilaterally displace Israeli citizens is to create new refugees. To unilaterally leave an area that has social, religious and political impact upon the citizens of Israel is a precursor to coming egregious acts upon fellow citizens. To unilaterally leave Gaza means you have opened the door to immediate and long-term actions by a group of people who have stated publicly over and over again that Israel is their enemy and that Israel does not have the right to exist. In turn, this alone is reason enough for me to not have unilaterally left Gaza.
Allow me to present a few points that cannot be “swept under the rug” -if you do then you truly do not understand the repercussions of such actions. The Egyptian border was left opened for days after Israel finally left-we now see the results: weapons, bomb building material and munitions have freely flowed into Gaza-on whom do you think these will be used? Suspected terrorist of the worst kind have freely entered Egypt-do you think they are there to enjoy the sea? The PA, the Egyptian government and now today, Friday, Sept 16, our own IDF leadership says how surprised they were at this “hole in the border and what it produced”. I understand why the PA and the Egyptians would offer such discourse-why is Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s political and security division surprised with such results?
OK, you may say to me, this was to be expected, nothing could have stopped it? I say to you, “you really believe this, then why when we were in control, only days before, that none of this occurred? In the last 4 days, here is what has happened:
· Palestinian and Israeli security officials announced separately that they had seized a total of 600 kilos of drugs along the Gaza-Egypt border.
· Dozens of smugglers have been arrested-this means dozens more made it throughnotice the incredible and dramatic increase in smuggling activity
· Palestinian police stood by as about 50 gunmen from Hamas and the Palestinian Resistance Committees rammed a dump truck into the cement wall, knocking down several large slabs thus opening up the border
· Twenty-three Palestinians crossed illegally from Gaza into Sinai and then into
southern Israel-our forces acted and the Palestinians were arrested Thursday.
· Finally, today, Friday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz called for a security belt to be erected on the Palestinian side of the northern Gaza security fence to distance Israeli communities from the chaos in Gaza-why was this not anticipated and done ahead of the evacuation?
· Three Israeli communities in the South are struggling to deal with the new border at their doorstep, which in some cases is only 100 meters from homes.
Promises by the government to provide the communities with a security envelope, including electronic fences, cement barriers to prevent sniper shooting, reinforced roofs of children’s quarters and kindergartens, and the latest electronic technology have so far failed to materialize-why was this not anticipated?
· Moshav Netiv Ha’asara is perhaps the most vulnerable of the three communities, with the Gaza border a stone’s throw from houses, and the entire community open to sniper fire as well as Kassam rocket and mortar shell attacks. Dozens of Palestinians were stopped on the Moshav’s fence as they prepared to illegally enter the area-this is Israeli land and look at what has already happened-why was this not anticipated?
Finally, unilateral evacuation invites any number of additional immediate negative results on Israelis, inside Israel. For example, consider the treatment of water and sewage. If the Palestinians go ahead with building a sewage pipe from the Gaza Strip to the sea, this could cripple the new desalination plant near Ashekelon. The plant, planned to desalinate 100 million cubic meters of water annually, is due to be inaugurated at the end of the month. Israel spent millions on this project, years to build and Israel by unilaterally leaving a disputed territory (as deemed by international law) looses the ability to take any substantive action against the offender.
A Water Commission report warns, “if the Ashkelon desalination plant is crippled due to the sewage flowing from the Gaza Strip into the sea, the outcome would be intolerable for Israel’s water sector. Any attempt to lay a pipeline to drain sewage into the sea must be physically stopped.” The report says that in addition to the damage caused by putting the plant out of business, the sewage would pollute Israel’s beaches.
Why did Israel at least not demand that the five donor states, including the United States and the European Union, prior to the disengagement take immediate action to assist with sewage removal?
This is one looming problem among many others I will report during the coming weeks, that is the result of a rush to intoxication of international support. By this I mean, Sharon and his government collaborators were moved to take quick action with a near-sighted vision to its short term and long-term consequences. Why the sudden adulation by the international community for steps taken by the Israeli government? Is no one suspect about this behavior? Can it be that the only time Israel is given proper acknowledgment is when it acts in harmony with a world community who heretofore did not support Israel’s action for protecting its own security? Is this anything similar to one being told that you have a right to speak and act so long it is the way we tell you to act-this is neo-democracy at its best. Forewarned is forearmed. Do remember one human fact, intoxification does wear off and one always returns to the existing state.