Wednesday, April 13, 2005

If you're going to do something, do it right

It's impossible to cover Israel's Gaza disengagement plan and its effect on the Israeli national mood from this distance and I'm not even going to try. Even from here, however, it is obvious that Sharon is messing up, whether you support the plan or not. The whole thing seems poorly organized and poorly planned -- in this turning point in Israeli history, the government is flying by the seat of their pants.
Just 10 weeks before disengagement, for example they are still arguing over where they are going to relocate Gaza's 8000 Jews to, and what they are going to be housed in. According to The Jerusalem Post, the latest plan is for 'temporary' trailer parks in the Negev, and we all know how 'temporary' those proved for the Ethiopians, for example. Another option is to send many of them to an area which was previously proposed to be given to the Palestinians, making another removal probably only a matter of time.
Certainly if I was one of the people about to be removed from my home and life as I know it in 10 weeks time, I'd want a little more clarity than that. In short, even if you believe as I do that the settlers must be evacuated -- and that the writing has been on the wall for many, many months and that anyone who claims to feel betrayed by Sharon must have been in serious denial -- there is no question that Sharon is not doing enough to keep the settlers and their supporters on side, and is not treating them with the sensitivity and care that they do deserve as Israeli citizens who were sent to settle this land by the government. This is both callous and quite simply bad long-term strategy and not in Sharon's own interests, if he wants the disengagement to go smoothly, to maintain his support in the next election and to maintain some sort of national cohesiveness. I hope he gets his act together quickly because this is not looking good.

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