No discounts and no installments
Wherever they shoot, we pull out. The rest of the territories will wait patiently for convergence, Annapolis, a shelf agreement, or the next catastrophe. Whatever comes first.
When soldiers fell in defense of the settlers in Gush Katif, the Jewish brain invented the patent of unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. When a terrorist from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebel Mukaber murders yeshiva students in the west of the city, the Israeli genius proposes unilateral withdrawal from the capital's "outer neighborhoods."
How easy and simple: Wherever they shoot, we pull out. The rest of the territories will wait patiently for convergence, Annapolis, a shelf agreement, or the next catastrophe. Whatever comes first.
We don't understand why, after we left Gaza, they continue to fire rockets at Sderot from there. Is that how they want to build trust with the Israeli public? Is it any wonder that even the most ardent Meretz supporters are afraid that if we leave the West Bank, their homes in Kfar Sava will enter the range of the Qassams?
We wanted so badly to disengage from the Strip that we convinced ourselves that Gaza and the West Bank are two separate entities. Jerusalem, with its approximately 250,000 Arab residents and the sites holy to Islam and Christianity, is a third entity as far as we are concerned, an inseparable part of the State of Israel.
Nobody asks himself what would happen if a foreign conqueror were to withdraw, say, from the North of the country, leaving the other parts of Palestine-Eretz Yisrael, including Jerusalem and the Western Wall, under occupation. Would the Jewish community in Tel Aviv give the occupier a moment's peace, or would it turn Haifa into a base for continuing the struggle for the liberation of the rest of the country?
It's true that there is no territorial contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank, but the entire world, including the Israeli government, has recognized them as a single, national-political unit. This situation did not change even after Hamas removed Fatah from the Strip in disgrace.
The reactions of Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter to the terror attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva testify to the fact that the country's leadership has not learned a thing from what happened with Gaza. Ramon is enlisting last week's terrible incident for the campaign he is conducting in favor of disengagement from the Arab neighborhoods hastily annexed to Israel in the heat of victory in the Six-Day War: The terrorist came from the Jebel Mukaber neighborhood, we are disengaging from Jebel Mukaber. So simple. Why didn't we think of it earlier? And afterward, we will be surprised when they fire from there on Jerusalem.
The internal security minister's patent is "to connect the body and the heart" of people like the Jebel Mukaber terrorist. Dichter proposes expelling to the West Bank the ingrates among the residents of East Jerusalem, those whose identity was not transformed from Palestinian to Israeli by the blue Israeli ID card that Israel was kind enough to grant them.
It is hard to believe that the man who spent decades in the security service does not understand his main clients. The hearts of most of East Jerusalemites, like the hearts of the Gazans and the residents of the West Bank, are in the same place: the 1967 borders, including, and primarily, Haram al-Sharif, which we call the Temple Mount. Partial substitutes such as the Gaza Strip and Jebel Mukaber bring their hearts closer to the 1948 borders.
If anyone needs a closer tie between body and heart, it is the decision makers in Israel post September 1993. The Oslo Accords brought the hearts of masses of Palestinians close to the solution of two states on both sides of the Green Line. Since then, the bodies of about 250,000 Israelis have wandered from the west side of this line to the east. Right now, at a time when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has decided to freeze negotiations over Jerusalem, which the Palestinians consider the heart of the conflict, his friends in the associations of the extreme right are not sitting idle.
Extremist nationalist Jewish groups are taking over more and more houses in the heart of the Old City and in the neighborhoods of what is called the Holy Basin: Ras al-Amud, Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. According to a Palestinian negotiating team document, this means adding 5,000 settlers to the 3,100 Jews living in 17 neighborhoods in the Old City, and in the ring surrounding it.
Within a year this sensitive and important area, the center of the political, cultural, religious and economic life of the Palestinians, will be finally severed from the rest of the territories. From its body, but not its heart.
Peace is not a program "by popular request" - today Gaza, tomorrow Jebel Mukaber, and the day after, anything is possible. Security cannot bought on sale. In our conflict the price is set. There are no discounts and no installments.