The disengagement - a typical Sharon bluff -- B.Michael in Yediot Aharonot, Jan. 1, 2005

Already raking in the profits

Sharon can already do whatever he wants, with nobody to protest - either in Israel or elsewhere in the world.

[Translation by Adam Keller for TOI-Billboard, Jan. 9, 2004]

The real meaning of the Disengagement Plan could have been understood on the very day of its birth from the circumstances which brought this plan into the world, the personality of its initiator and the accumulated experience of his beliefs, his methods and his escapades. All this makes the disengagement clear and transparent to anybody who refuses to close his eyes and sink (again) into the illusion of "The New Sharon".

Those who refused to understand by themselves the purpose of the disengagement were given a second chance with the interview of Sharon's confidential adviser Dov Weisglass to Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz, an interview which evidently went out of control. With candor and an almost childish pride he revealed the truth behind the Sharon Plan.

Those who persisted in refusing to understand what it was all about, even after the Weisglass confession, got from Sharon himself an abundance of other opportunities to find out. On countless occasions, the Prime Minister set out his true intentions, whose unconcealed principle is "we give back half a finger, so that we could keep the hand." True, Mr. Sharon takes care to reiterate with a kind of religious fervor his adherence to the Bush "Road Map". But between the lines - and in fact, also in the lines themselves - one can read Sharon's version of this map: as is usual with him, the Sharon map is composed entirely of crooked roads leading nowhere but into every obstacle around.

And anybody who, despite all of the above, still insists upon keeping his eyes closed without peeking, is invited to take their heads out of the sand for at least a brief moment and glance at what is happening recently in the imperial dominions. Without any difficulty you could see there how Sharon already started raking in the profits from his Disengagement Plan.

Under the smoke screen of the intensive discussion of this plan, and protected by the umbrella of silence spread over his head by the so-called left (thrilled by the prospect of Shimon Peres being appointed viceroy to King Arik) Sharon has gone back to his old games. Restraint and self-denial were, after all, never among his conspicuous qualities. So, construction in the settlements, far from any sign of freeze, is blooming and flourishing. In the southern sector of the West Bank the route of the Fence is once again moving eastward - to again rob Palestinian lands, again annex settlements, again imprison thousands of people in enclaves and enclosures.

"The Disengagement", which has not yet moved further than the stage of planning and mumbling. is already having its desired effect: Sharon can already do whatever he wants, with nobody to protest - either in Israel or elsewhere. The "disengagement craze" has infected the entire world.

Even the biggest fool can read the signs of what is ahead: the next stage in Sharon's crooked "road map", which leads neither to negotiations, nor to agreement, and certainly not to peace, which is nothing but a long-term license to continue robbing land and rights.

The true inclinations of Sharon can be discerned by comparing his activity in the West Bank to what he actually does in connection with the Disengagement. In the West Bank, there is a very concrete action going on: bulldozers crush, trees are uprooted, fences go up, houses are built, highways are laid out, millions and billions are enthusiastically buried among the rocks.

With regard to the Disengagement, to the contrary, Sharon takes care (so far) to implement nothing but the verbal and oral parts. Discussions were held, votes conducted, bills drafted and presented, committees and commissions and task-forces were formed, speeches delivered and complicated maneuvers held among coalitions of political parties and factions. But in practice, nothing happened, and nothing continues to happen. No settlement budget was cut, no evacuation budget was allocated, no area was blocked to the entry of extreme-right hooligans, not a single "unauthorized outpost" was removed - not even as a symbolic step, no construction was stopped, no settlers-only road was closed down.

On the contrary: the government and the army high command seem to make every possible effort to enhance the settlers' power. The army chief-of-staff meets with the settler leaders and trembling begs them to leave his soldiers alone. The chief commissioner of police announces that if the settlers increase their resistance, he might not be able to fulfil the task of evacuating them. With an idiocy which is incomparable (unless it is a deliberate and intentional policy) the whole government exhibits its panic at the settler threats to foment refusal in the ranks of the army, rather than react with amused tolerance and prepare some extra cells in the military prisons.

To state the grotesque truth, the Disengagement will not take place. There will be problems in the government coalition, or problems with the settlers, or problems with terrorism, or an earthquake and tsunami... something will conveniently come up to explain away the non-implementation. But this marginal and obvious fact will certainly not prevent Sharon from squeezing to the last drop the malevolent benefits for advancing his true policies.

There is nothing to be done about it - the "Disengagement" is a typical Sharon bluff. Of course, there is no way to avoid supporting it, if only to call the bluff. But there is certainly no reason to get enthusiastic over it. Because if it does take place, God willing or God forbid, there is no knowing if the damage may not be even greater.

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