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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why has no one been held accountable for the Gaza expulsion?

Sunday night and Monday, the 10th day of Av, are the anniversary of the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gaza and the Northern Shomron (Samaria) and the expulsion of all their Jewish residents. The Gaza communities in particular have been used as staging areas and training grounds for terrorists. In her Friday column, Caroline Glick asked why no one has been held accountable for what nearly everyone acknowledges was the disastrous expulsion from Gaza. Here's the third of her three reasons.
THE FINAL reason that the failed Gaza withdrawal has not led to any change in either the public discourse or in the general tenor and direction of government policy is because of the debilitating impact the withdrawal had on Israeli democracy. In order to build the public's support for his inhumane and strategically irredeemable decision to expel 10,000 Jews from their homes and destroy their communities in Gaza and northern Samaria in exchange for nothing, Sharon and his colleagues worked systematically to demoralize, disenfranchise and criminalize his political opponents.

He demoralized them by castigating them as criminals, extremists and enemies of the people in general. He disenfranchised them by ignoring the results of the Likud's referendum on his plan that he himself initiated.

In all his activities, Sharon received crucial assistance from the law enforcement system and the media which were themselves corrupted by his plan. As Ha'aretz's left-wing military commentator Amir Oren noted five months after the plan was carried out, Sharon was given a free ride by Israel's elites due to their common "hatred of the settlers."

To enable Sharon to carry out the expulsions they so desired, the state prosecution, backed by the Supreme Court, was willing to close corruption probes of Sharon. As retired Supreme Court justice Michel Cheshin explained, "If Sharon had stood trial, there would have been no disengagement."

More egregiously, as public protests against the withdrawal gained force, Israel's law enforcement system became a tool of political repression, and the media became apologists for that repression. The police conducted mass arrests of law-abiding demonstrators, used brutal force against them and suspended the civil rights of opponents of the plan. The state prosecution and the courts sent thousands of protesters - including children - to jail for weeks and months without filing charges against them.

Then too, Sharon's personalization of the withdrawal distorted the country's public discourse by moving it from substantive discussions of government policies to superficial discussions of personalities. And this transformation has remained in effect until today. It was most recently in evidence in the media's rendering of the debate over the terrorists-for-dead-hostages swap as the personal struggle of the Goldwasser and Regev families against the government.

Sharon's successful repression and castigation of his opponents, and Olmert's successful repetition of Sharon's behavior both in the brutal repression of demonstrators at Amona in February 2006 and in his dismissive attitude towards the protest movement in the wake of the Second Lebanon War, have imbued the public as a whole with a sense of powerlessness. This sense manifested itself with the historically low voter turnout in the 2006 elections.

Israel's prolonged failure to reckon with the disastrous outcome of the Gaza withdrawal bodes ill for the country's prospects. Until the country reckons with the mistakes that led to that withdrawal, and forces those responsible to account for their failings, we will be doomed to repeat those mistakes with those same incompetents leading us over and over and over.
Read the whole thing. While I don't have as many readers as Caroline, I don't believe this country will ever hold anyone accountable for the Gaza expulsion until we hold people accountable for the Oslo disaster. And unlike the Gaza expulsion's architect, who is still a vegetable, Oslo's architects are mostly alive and well, and their leader sits in the President's mansion.

1 Comments:

At 7:00 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

As long as they're not held accountable, Israel will not find favor with G-d. If you do not act justly and you take bribes and you lay your hand against the widow and the orphan, it will not go well with you. When they cry out to G-d, He will see and hear and put an end to all your rejoicing and your merriment. Hear the word of Hashem, O Israel, and repent!

 

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