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Israel at the Crossroads
Last uploaded : Monday 12th Apr 2004 at 15:45
Contributed by : Imre Herzog


In these difficult times of recession in Israel, the Sharon withdrawal plan is being criticized by many in Israel and most particularly in the Diaspora.

The polls in Israel show that a majority of Israelis are for the withdrawal plan. For this there are many reasons which are very simple to understand.

With the building of the fence, the Israeli government hopes that the entrance to Israel of Palestinian terrorists will be put under control. I cannot say that the fence is 100% foolproof, but it will surely make it
difficult for terrorist attackers to enter Israel.

Further, by closing all frontiers to the Palestinian daily workers entering Israel, the Palestinians will be forced to put up an economically viable state; iff there will be enough income for the Palestinians, they will
have a better life and thus refrain from mingling with the radical movements.

Israel's economic situation is very bad. The government has had to decrease the social welfare benefits, the pensions of the retired as and investment in research on new military components as well as decreasing the call-up of many reserve army personnel due to lack of funds.

There is no doubt that the dismantling of settlements from historic Israel is painful, but to guard these settlements is actually economically not feasible. Therefore the withdrawal from the settlements inside the Gaza
strip fence has become a must, for this electronically monitored fence has not allowed to date the entrance of any terrorists to Israel to commit their hideous deeds. Dismantling these settlements and establishing them near Ashkelon or in the Negev will facilitate guarding Israel against terror attacks and at the same time economize the costs of having IDF forces
to guard the settlers.

The dismantling of some of the settlements in Jehuda and Shomron is also a must, for some of these settlements are too near Arab cities and villages.

Furthermore, one must also take into consideration the UN's resolutions No. 242 and
338, which state clearly that Israel is to withdraw to secure borders, which they have to decide on. These secure borders force the dismantling of some settlements and it is for this reason that the fence is being built in such a way that when there will be a democratic administration in the Palestinian body and the radical extremist groups have been dismantled,
peace negotiations could start and the constitution of a Palestinian State
can become a reality.

Israel is under great pressure by many leftist and religious groups, some for the dismantling and some against the dismantling of the settlements. In my opinion it is very easy to live in the Diaspora and make declarations
without taking into consideration the future viability of the Israeli State.

This decision is only up to the Israeli citizens. The members of these Leftist and Religious groups, have to place themselves in the daily context of the lives of the Israelis or immigrate and live in Israel to understand
the reality of what it feels to live in Israel. Israel is the only country where most citizens listen to the news broadcasts every half hour, to know if there was any terrorist attack or not. These Leftist and Religious groups have at first to pass this test and feel the pressure of the Israeli population prior to making declarations which are against the will of the
citizens of Israel. Most of these declarations cause Israel because it gives the biased media licence to depict Israel as a rogue and dictatorial state.

Whether we are for or against P.M. Sharon's plans, what we should hope and wish is that it will be fruitful for the Israeli State, so that we can worry less about the future of Israel and Klal Israel.


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