The Disengaged Generals

Well-intentioned people who have blinded themselves to reality seek to duplicate the brilliant model of 'the disengagement is good for security' from Lebanon and Gaza in Judea and Samaria

An Israeli settler weeps at a checkpoint on the Gaza border, 2005.

Hundreds of retired high-ranking officers, joined by former senior Mossad and Shin Bet security service officials, signed a so-called professional opinion in 2005 that said: “The disengagement is good for security.” Now that the disengagement has proved to be the best way to achieve peace and security, we all — especially those living near the Gaza border — owe a thousand thanks to the members of the Peace and Security Association. Together they achieved great success, as can be seen by the peace and security in the south in the past 13 years.

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Now, riding the waves of that stunning success, some 300 people who call themselves Commanders for Israel’s Security are leading a campaign to persuade the public to finish the job; that is, to disengage (“for the sake of Israel’s security”) also from Judea and Samaria. The slogan this time: “Divorce the Palestinians.”

As in every divorce, someone must be uprooted from home. From the successful precedent of Gush Katif, it’s clear who that will be. The lofty notion of displacing Jews has never lacked for supporters. Its current supporters (who are unknown; the organization refused to divulge its funding sources) are bankrolling the campaign. To advance the sacred cause, friendly editors and producers in the print and electronic media (of which there is no shortage) are happy to show the masses the justness of the divorce doctrine.

As we know, many ex-defense officials volunteered to help Ariel Sharon convince the public that the worries about missiles in Ashkelon were the stuff of right-wing delusions and fears of peace. They promised the unilateral removal would make the south bloom, and that the billions of shekels that had been spent on protecting the settlers would be diverted to welfare and education. This is how they summed up their security authority: “We those undersigned state, in our professional opinion, that the voluntary disengagement plan helps strengthen the state and is vital to security. Voluntary disengagement is a move of strength.”

Five years before, many of them supported, also for professional reasons of course, a similar move of strength: the heroic night flight from Lebanon. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah likened Israel’s endurance to spider webs. He has been proved right, especially in the Second Lebanon War. Since the disengagement, Hamas has also adopted this metaphor.

We presumably will have to divorce the Palestinians. But why is it always the Jew who must leave the home, the heart of the homeland, and on his own initiative? Such a move also challenges his moral right to the adjacent home to which he must now be exiled. Once again he must shoehorn into a narrow home between Qalqilyah and Netanya, some 12 kilometers wide and vulnerable to gunfire and short-range rockets.

In the flights from Lebanon and Gaza, the security experts promised that if the enemy dares shell the home front “we’ll clobber it.” We can see how Hezbollah was clobbered after we fled Lebanon in 2000, and especially how, when it pounded the home front in 2006, we left the fight before it was done. We let Hezbollah hoard hundreds of thousands of missiles, dig attack tunnels below us and act as advance guard for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. And we haven’t stopped clobbering Hamas, which has been torturing us for 13 years.

And so, well-intentioned people who have long since blinded themselves to reality seek to duplicate the brilliant model of “the disengagement is good for security” from Lebanon and Gaza in Judea and Samaria. The heart aches, and refuses to believe.