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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Clueless on Gaza

A well-argued piece from Oliver Kamm in today's Times on Sharon's plan for withdrawal from Gaza.

Myths die hard. Increased security for Israeli civilians is not a mirage at all; Mr Sharon’s policies have been unambiguously successful in curbing terrorism. With the construction of a security barrier (not a “wall”, as anti-Israel campaigners habitually term it, but for most of its length a chain-linked wire fence that could be taken down within an afternoon) and the assassination of successive leaders of Hamas, the number of successful terrorist attacks within Israel fell by more than 75 per cent between 2002 and 2004. The breathing space that these policies have allowed Israelis has encouraged serious thinking about territorial compromise and the outlines of an eventual settlement with the Palestinians.

The dispiriting fact is that no negotiated two-state agreement is likely in the near future. Western commentators who speak of a two-state “solution” adopt a misnomer. A two-state arrangement, with Israel withdrawing to boundaries approximating the pre-1967 armistice line, is not a solution to the conflict, but an outcome of the end of the conflict. The end of the conflict requires something more deep-rooted: a changed relationship and mutual trust between Israelis and Palestinians.

Read it all.

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