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34th Year of Publication

   MARCH 2004 -  Issue #165    


Eyeless in Gaza

Herbert Zweibon

Most of this issue of Outpost is dedicated to exposing the dangers of Ariel Sharon's proposed unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Sharon knows the immense strategic importance of Gaza, as do America's foremost military experts. On June 19, 1967, one week after Israel's stunning triumph in the Six Day War, then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sent a memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, requesting "the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, without regard to political factors, on the minimum territory in addition to that held on 4 June 1967, [which] Israel might be justified in retaining in order to permit a more effective defense against possible conventional Arab attack and terrorist raids."

Ten days later, the Joint Chiefs responded with an analysis of each of the areas Israel had won in the war, which, they emphasized, was "based solely on military considerations from the Israeli point of view." They recommended that for Israel to have "a militarily defensible border," it should keep all of the Golan Heights, most of Judea and Samaria, and some parts of the Sinai. Regarding the Gaza Strip, the Joint Chiefs stated:

"By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage."

The Joint Chiefs never retracted the report, and what they wrote then is as valid today as it was in 1967. The only thing that has changed is the political atmosphere. During the years following the 1967 war, the Arabs launched a propaganda campaign to declare that the Israeli occupation of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza was the obstacle to Mideast peace, this, though their response in the immediate aftermath of the war to Israel's offer to retreat on all fronts, was the three "no"s of Khartoum--no recognition, no negotiations, no peace. The international community, particularly its vocal leftwing elites, inverted the true nature of the conflict. It was no longer a huge Arab world against a tiny Israel, but now a poor, oppressed, weak challenger (the Palestinian Arabs) against a powerful, relentless juggernaut (Israel).

Within Israel itself, the myth that the "occupa-tion" is the heart of the problem gradually made inroads. The Israeli left, internalizing the world's accusations and deeply alienated from the Jewish heritage that the territories symbolize, soon accepted the Arab argument and worked feverishly, through the media and academia, to demonize the "settlers" in order to justify their mass expulsion. Gaza became their easiest target. Gaza did not have large numbers of Jewish residents--8,000, as compared to nearly 200,000 in Judea-Samaria. Gaza did not have the kind of well-known holy sites that have made it harder to deny the area's Jewish roots, such as the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the Tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem, or the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem.

What Gaza does have is unique strategic value. Israel dare not voluntarily surrender what would be a crucial beachhead for a future Arab invasion. Just recall what the Allies in World War II sacrificed to gain the beachhead at Anzio -- six weeks of intense fighting, 30,000 dead or wounded.

Moreover, an Israeli retreat would give Hamas what the retreat from southern Lebanon gave Hezbollah -- a huge boost of morale, a psychological as well as strategic victory of inestimable value. Israel would again be "turned into a doormat," in the words of Arieh Stav, director of the Ariel Center for Policy Research. And if Israel is perceived as a doormat, it will be treated as a doormat--with catastrophic results.  

Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.


The Beilinization of the Likud   by Steven Plaut ..3

Gaza Reconsidered (Again)   by Erich Isaac ...5

They See and Are Silent   by Elyakim Haetzni ...8

March 2004               - 1 -               Outpost


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