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December 26, 2003 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-26

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ELYAKIN from page 35

the terror groups, primarily because we
have been in the Palestinian people's face
for the last three years. I'll completely
move all Israelis out of Gaza if you take
apart the terror organizations, arrest the
leaders, and start confiscating weapons."
More and more Israelis are campaign-
ing for initiatives for peace: the "Shin
Bet Four," the Geneva Accord, the pilots
signing letters that they won't fight in
the territories among others. Ehud
Olmert, the former mayor of Jerusalem
and current deputy prime minister, is
now reversing his once solid position on
settlements. Sharon has told his follow-
ers that the future of the settlements is
bleak,' that Israel must prepare to relin-
quish them. I believe the lesson of Sinai
is very instructive now
Israel removed the Sinai settlements
with no guarantees that the peace treaty
with Egypt would bring a future of
peaceful safe borders and security for the
people of Israel. Begin gambled that
Sadat was willing to gamble as well, for a
future of peace. Begin and Sadat showed
the world the light shines brightly for
the peacemakers.
Could Sharon gamble that unilateral
resettlement of the communities in the
Gaza strip will guarantee a peace treaty
with the Palestinian people? Could the
Palestinian leadership look upon the
light shone upon them by Israel and
learn the lessons of Sinai, Sadat and Begin?
In the more than three years of the
current Palestinian intzfada (uprising),
there were no terrorist infiltrations from
the Gaza Strip. If the Israelis are removed
from these 16 or so settlements and the
Gaza fence remains intact, with clear and
secure borders, with freedom of move-
ment for all Arab citizens in Gala, could
we expect or predict that progress can be
made elsewhere with the Palestinian peo-
ple on securing a lasting peace treaty?
It's a win-win situation. Even if the
peace process remains at status quo, the
Gala Strip is still a secure border for the
Palestinians and the Israelis.
Unilateral. resettlement or evacuation
of Gaza with a tacit agreement is in the
end the same thing. Israel had only the
guarantee of a piece of paper with Sadat,
the same thing may play out with Gaza.
Some will say that unilateral decisions
will be perceived as weakness, to be
responded to with even stronger meas-
ures. Sometimes, that light has to be
ignited without knowing how brightly it
may shine. Heads will nod in approval
or dismay whatever is done or not done.
Maybe to do something is the best strat-
egy Israel has not yet walked over to the
other side and said, "We are ready to get
out. What do you bring to the table?" Let
Israel say that, and then do the deed.

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