In 2005, an event widely known as “The Disengagement” transpired. The follies of this operation are well known, and have been discussed in depth elsewhere.
The Hebrew word for the plan is התנתקות – separation, disconnection. Yet, in spite of two protracted military operations, and thousands of still homeless Israelis that were the result of this horrendous error, Israel is still very much connected to that tiny piece of land. There was no “disengagement,” only withdrawal of residents and permanent military facilities.
The world over has accused Israel of collective punishing Gazans by blockading the territory and closing the crossings. In essence, a siege. If only that were true – that would actually mean Israel had disengaged, and Gaza would deal with with the world through its Egyptian border. Instead, the world is calling for Israel to remain engaged with Gaza. As analyst Guy Bechor wrote four years ago:
this disengagement is for the sa[k]e of engagement: “crossings” will be opened between Israel and Gaza that will give passage for workers into Israel, the electricity and water companies have already announced that they will continue to provide Gaza and northern Samaria with services as usual even after disengagement.
There is no disengagement, but rather intensive engagement, and not on Israel’s terms. In the same piece from August 2005, Bechor hits the nail on the head: “they control the territory and also continue to milk Israel. In contrast, in its folly, Israel will both lose its settlements in Gaza and also continue to provide for the Palestinians there.”
Israel must decide. This messy, ill-defined situation is only playing into the hands of her enemies. The first option is to return to Gaza, which is not likely to happen anytime soon, nor am I convinced that it is a wise policy decision. The second is to disconnect completely. By truly disengaging Israel will finally shed all responsibility for the “humanitarian crisis” that has been at Gaza’s doorstep for years. No more gas, food, medicine, water, electricity, or money – remove all pretense and “let them fend for themselves or with their great Arab sister Egypt.”