The Impact of "Disengagement" on U.S. Interests

By Yoram Ettinger

The impact of "disengagement" of Israeli land on U.S. interests prompts incidents of terrorism against Israel and confuses war on terror issues. Point one; the morally/strategically justifiable demolition of terror regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan is inconsistent with the creation/bolstering of a terror regime in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The 1994-6 series of disengagement from 85% and 40% of the territory (and 100% and 95% of the population) of Gaza and Judea and Samaria have established the largest terrorist base in the world, led/harbored by PLO/PA graduates of terrorist camps in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Tunisia. Since 1993 the PA has harbored anti-US terrorists. US GIs in Afghanistan and Iraq were encountered by Palestinian terrorists.

2. HIGHER US TERROR CASUALTIES. The July 2000 disengagement from Southern Lebanon propelled Hizballah from a local, to a regional, profile, haunting US GIs in Iraq and Afghanistan and threatening US homeland security.

3. CONTRADICTING U.S. WAR ON TERRORISM. Disengagement is perceived, by the Mideast, as cut & run, appeasement and cave-in, in sharp contrast to US war on terrorism: No negotiation with – and no concession to – terrorists; no ceasefire with – but destruction of – terrorist regimes; no political – but military – solution to terrorism.

4. SETBACK TO PEACE. The only peace attainable in the (inter-Arab) Mideast is deterrence-driven peace. Disengagement undermines deterrence, hence it sets the area farther from peace and closer to exacerbated terrorism and an all out war. Every square inch ceded by Israel to the PA, since the 1994 disengagement, has been transformed into a platform of hate-education and homicide bombing.

5. TAILWIND TO ANTI-U.S. TERRORISTS. While the 1976 Israeli "Entebbe Operation" constituted a tailwind to US war on terrorism, the 1993-2005 retreat by the role-model of countering terrorism (Israel) in face of the role-model of terrorism (PLO/PA) has added more fuel to the fire of terrorism. Disengagement has been heralded by the PLO/PA and other Arabs as a crucial victory, frequently compared to the US flight from Beirut (1983) and Somali (1993). It would nurture Arab hope that neither the US nor Israel possess a marathon-like steadfastness, required for a long-term victory.

6. PA FEEDS ANTI-US TERRORISM. A correlation has existed between the bolstering of PLO stock since Oslo 1993 on one hand, and the exacerbation of anti-US terrorism on the other hand (since the 1993 Twin Towers I, through the 1995 Khobar Towers, the 1998 Kenya and Tanzania US embassies, the 2000 USS Cole and 2001 Twin Towers II). The wider the maneuverability of the PLO/PA, the deeper the inspiration to regional anti-US terrorism, irrespective of (and probably due to) US and Israeli appeasement of – and unprecedented concessions to – the PLO/PA.

7. UNDERMINING THE STABILITY OF PRO-U.S. REGIMES (e.g. Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, etc.). Disengagement would enhance the profile of the PLO/PA, a lethal threat to the Hashemite regime and a chief ally of radical regimes in the Mideast and beyond. PLO-Hashemite relations have been a classic case of zero-sum-game: The stronger the PLO the weaker the Hashemites. The rise of the PLO/PA has emboldened subversive anti-US terrorists in Jordan and in the Gulf area.

8. STRENGTHENING ANTI-US MIDEAST REGIMES. Disengagement would buttress the PLO/PA, which has been a sustained ally of the Saddam and Bin-Laden forces, of Khomeini and his successors in Iran, of the terror regime in Sudan and other anti-US Mideast regimes. A stronger PA would be a liability – to the US – in the UN and in the context of Clash of Civilizations.

9. INVIGORATING MIDEAST PROFILE OF U.S. GLOBAL RIVALS. The strengthening of the PLO/PA would facilitate the road to a re-assertive Russia in the Mideast. It would improve the strategic posture of China and North Korea in the region, at the expense of vital US concerns, including US standard of living.

10. IGNORING PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS. The 1995 disengagement from Bethlehem and Beit Jallah has accelerated the flight of Christians, caused by PLO/PA oppression and desecration of churches.

11. SETBACK TO MIDEAST DEMOCRATIZATION. Disengagement would promote the most corrupt and repressive Arab regime in the Mideast, rewarding a terrorist regime, thus dealing a blow to moderate Palestinians.

12. UNDERMINING ISRAEL-EGYPT PEACE. The 1979 peace treaty disengaged Israeli and Egyptian military forces from one another. The "Plan of Disengagement" would re-engage them in a terror-ridden area, thus fueling unintentional and intentional confrontations. It could drag the US unnecessarily into such conflict. Egypt has facilitated/tolerated the smuggling of terror hardware, missiles and mortars into Gaza. It has undermined US interests in Africa, in the Red Sea and in the UN, and it has spearheaded anti-Jewish Arab/Palestinian hate education (PA hate education employs Egyptian school text books).

13. PLO’s TRACK RECORD OF INTER-ARAB TREACHERY. Abu Mazen, Abu Ala’, Inc. fled Egypt (late 1950s) for subversive activities. They escaped Syria (1966) for betraying their hosts. They were expelled from Jordan for attempting to topple the Hashemite regimes via terrorism. They exacerbated a series of civil wars in Lebanon since 1975. They spearheaded Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait (1990), which hosted them since the 1950s. Their systematic violent violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords have been consistent with their inter-Arab back-stabbing. Disengagement would be viewed – by the PLO/PA as a reward to treachery, which would vindicate the aforementioned track record.