I was pleasantly surprised upon my return from Israel today to find that our blog site is now listed on both Google and Yahoo.
It has always been my experience that a typical “man in the street” reaction to events in Israel is your friendly taxi driver. Their impression is similar to the mood of most analysts that in the absence of an unforeseen major terrorist attack etc, disengagement will proceed. When asked to evaluate the chance for long term peace, or conversely the possibility of a renewal of terrorist activity, the answer is twofold. Firstly, “I trust Sharon” and secondly what appears to me to be an unwillingness to look too far into the future. Israelis seem to be concentrating on the next few months. They don't want to analyze the future critically.
But if proponents of this move honestly believe that this disengagement is the end of a process I fear they are wrong.
• Egypt has announced that they will not provide security assistance, until Israel withdraws from the Philadelphia route which Israel plans to retain at least for the foreseeable future.
• The new Jordanian Ambassador has announced that Israel must negotiate over the so-called “right of return” even if in practice once Israel agrees to this “right” no such activity takes place.
• The IDF intelligence have publicly stated that there continues to be a build-up of arms and rockets by the forces of the PA.
• Abu Mazen has no intention of disarming any terrorist group or individual. We can only speculate based upon previous performances how Hamas, et al will react in one or two months when they realize that they are not getting everything they want.
• The remarks of President Bush regarding the need for contiguity in a Palestinian State are of course worrisome. There certainly could be tunnels, bridges and even a land exchange, but it is a potentially serious problem. If you look at the map you realize the distance from Gaza to the remainder of Judea and Samaria.
• WE SHOULD REMIND THE PRESIDENT THAT ALASKA IS NOT CONTIGUOUS, NOR IS HAWAII. IN ADDITION SHOULD PUERTO RICO EVER ACCEPT STATEHOOD IT TOO IS NOT CONTIGUOUS TO MAINLAND USA.
• As late as this week the IDF intercepted planned suicide bombers. However, the government is trying to downplay this in view of the spirit they are trying to convey.
• Abu Mazen and his advisors are blasting Israel over the fence construction route. Anyone who believes that releasing a few hundred prisoners will silence this issue is silly. Perhaps news of the Pope, Putin and Bush will keep it out of the media headlines .
• Sharon has made it appear that he has a commitment from Bush that allows Israel to annex the major settlement blocs after Disengagement (perhaps followed by 3 or four more SMALL EVACUATIONS WHICH COULD TOTAL ANOTHER 40,000-80,000 SETTLERS). There are those who now question if this is in fact correct. Imagine the civil unrest if this whole disengagement is based upon wishful thinking, and the UN, Arabs, and Europeans begin to vocally demand a return to the pre-1967 lines--PERIOD.
• The battle for Jerusalem has now only begun to percolate
• I COULD GO ON, BUT THE FUTURE IS LESS THAN IDEAL.
Yes Disengagement is on track, but the Arabs have never lost an opportunity to screw themselves. So remember.
IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS