Al-Bahar said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s “disengagement” was a sign that Israel had been morally defeated by its Arab Islamic foes. “All indications show that since its establishment, Israel has never been in such a state of retreat and weakness as it is today following more than four years of the intifada,” he told reporters. “The withdrawal marks the end of the Zionist dream and is a sign of the moral and psychological decline of the Jewish state. We believe that [terrorism] is the only way to pressure the Jews.”
When Sharon first announced his plan last year, he insisted that Israel would retreat from a position of strength and quitting Gaza would increase security for the nation’s Jewish population. Sharon also claimed that the disengagement would help Israel to retain sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. But many Israelis fear that the Arabs will use the precedent set by the pullout to press their advantage.
Former Sharon aide Raanan Levy wrote recently that Israel is sending a disastrous message: With the unilateral disengagement, he said, it is as if Israel is saying, “We are giving the Palestinians what is theirs, and we are taking out our own people who settled on Arab territory.” Sharon, Levy noted, “will further harm the Jewish claim of historic rights to the land, and he will cement even further the international claim that only Jews moving in one direction, over the rubble of their own homes, can be the foundation for peace.”
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