The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


The Betrayal of Israel

Filed under: Foreign PolicyDisengagement — eidelberg @ 5:50 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, July 10,2006.

In this report I am going to read and comment on excerpts from Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit’s interviews with three men on the issue of “Disengagement” and “Convergence”: former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter—now Minister of Security; former Chief of General Staff Moshe Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon; and Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin. I begin with Dichter. (Some excerpts will be paraphrased.)

Minister of Security Avi Dichter: “As head of the Shin Bet I was asked what would happen after the Disengagement and in its wake? I said there would be a dramatic decrease in the number of terrorist attacks and that most of the operations against us would be Qassam attacks and fence attacks. That is exactly what happened. I was favorably surprised that from last September until the past two weeks, not one Israeli was killed by terrorism originating from the Gaza Strip. Ten months without any Israeli being killed—is an extraordinary achievement.”

Contrast Dichter’s testimony before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on January 5, 2005, where he gave an entirely different assessment. “In a situation where Israel is not in control of the Philadelphi corridor [which separates Gaza from the Sinai],” Dichter warned, “terrorists arriving from Lebanon are liable to infiltrate through it into the Gaza Strip and there is the distinct possibility that in a short while the Gaza Strip will turn into south Lebanon.” He also cautioned that the current “trickle” of arms smuggling through the corridor is liable to turn into a “river”. According to Dichter, the number of Qassam rockets fired from Gaza nearly doubled following the cabinet approval of Disengagement.

Today he says: “The political echelon has to instruct the IDF to put a stop to the firing of the Qassams, even if it means turning Beit Hanoun into a ghost town.”

Dichter contends that the Disengagement achieved its goal by removing a carpet of Israeli targets from the Palestinian terrorists. “It limited their ability to attack us, reducing it almost solely to the Qassams.” The logic of this position is that if any other area of Israel is attacked by terrorists, we should expel its Jewish residents and withdraw!!!!

Dichter is pleased that, thanks to Disengagement, Israel is no longer responsible for Gaza. Gaza is connected to Egypt, not Israel. But Israel still supplies Gaza with electricity, food, and jobs. Without Israel the Arabs would starve.

Nevertheless, Dichter emphasizes that “Without a Palestinian partner, there will be no Palestine. What we have here is a problem that has no solution.” This is a confession of intellectual bankruptcy.

Dichter does not believe it will be possible to obtain the Quartet’s agreement [the US, EU, UN, and Russia] for any sort of convergence or final borders because a large part of the area will remains in Israel’s hands.

Also, and unlike Gaza, “the Israel defense forces’ access to all the terrorist areas cannot change. Today there is nothing Palestinian in Judea and Samaria to prevent terrorism. What prevents terrorism is solely the IDF presence.”

Dichter concludes: “We have to ready ourselves for the possibility that organizing for the interim convergence will be for many years. I am talking about a double-digit number of years.”

Conclusions regarding Dichter:

  1. He does not maintain a consistent strategic assessment of the enemy. Perhaps his entering politics with Kadima has corrupted his intellectual integrity.
  2. He states there is no solution to the conflict, yet he advocates further retreat. He portrays a hopeless future for Israel.

MK Yossi Beilin: “A unilateral withdrawal from 90 percent of the West Bank,” says Beilin, “means that there will be no incentive for a Palestinian leader ever to reach an agreement with us.

“[Moreover, Olmert] knows he will not get international recognition for the West Bank line [or border he has in mind]. The Europeans told him explicitly that there is no chance that Europe will recognize his border as a permanent border. And if he said 90 percent as an opening position, he will get to 95 percent, too. In my opinion, he will not be able to get to less than 100 percent”—Beilin’s position.

Beilin states that in contrast to Disengagement, “convergence is intended to sweeten the pill for the settlers by allowing 70,000 of them to live in the 10 percent of the territory that will remain in Israel’s hands. That means building 15,000 homes across the Green Line. It means a building boom in the settlement blocs. We [Meretz] will not lend a hand to that.”

Conclusions regarding Beilin:

  1. Beilin wants to expel the more than 200,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria for a signed agreement with the Palestinian Authority, an agreement not worth the paper it would be written on.
  2. Beilin does not consider the possibility that any plan whose goal is to expel 200,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria could lead to civil war. Nor does he consider that that the cost of resettling even 70,000 Jews could bankrupt the country.
  3. Unlike the Arabs, Beilin does not see that the conflict is a religious one. He ignores the demonstrable fact that the Arab goal is the annihilation of Israel. Perhaps his consorting with PLO spokesmen has corrupted his mind.

Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon: “The conceptual flaw that underlies the Disengagement is the following: the fact that there is no one to talk to on the other side does not mean we can ignore the other side or the consequences our actions have on it. The fact that not even Fatah is ready to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state and is committed to the ‘phased doctrine’ does not mean that we can ignore the fact that fleeing under fire is construed as surrender and that it encourages terrorism.

“Although ‘no partner’ means we have no choice but to take unilateral measures, unilateral measures are not only withdrawal. Unilateral measures are also a diplomatic offensive, and perhaps also a military offensive, and an ideological offensive.

“The basic paradigm of the two-state solution is an irrelevant one if only because in the present situation, it cannot be implemented. Therefore, what Israel has to do is to undermine this paradigm, not entrench it.

“The unilateral move of Disengagement did exactly the opposite. It strengthened the Palestinian narrative [i.e. claims to the land] and weakened the Israeli narrative. It entrenched the expectation of additional withdrawals in the West Bank without an agreement and without a quid pro quo.

“The Disengagement created four dangerous precedents. The first is the precedent of withdrawal to the Green Line. This will make things very difficult for us in Judea and Samaria when we come to demand territories that are vital for our security.

“The second precedent is the evacuation of settlements without receiving anything Israel needs for its existence and security.

“The third precedent is forgoing demilitarization and forgoing supervision of the borders.

“However, the fourth precedent is the gravest of all: Israel undertook all the concessions entailed in the Disengagement without obtaining international recognition that the occupation of Gaza has ended. Despite all we did, we are still perceived as being responsible for the fate of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“When the present confrontation began, in 2000, I argued that if we did not wake up in terms of understanding it [the true nature of this war], and if we continued with the withdrawal, an existential threat to Israel’s future would be created. That is why I said we had to sear the Palestinian consciousness.”

This means Israel would have to destroy the PA and devastate its entire terrorist network.

“The Disengagement,” says Ya’alon, “was a cardinal strategic error. It led to the victory of Hamas. It provided a tailwind for terrorism. It nourished the Palestinian struggle for years to come. It gave the Iranians and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaida the feeling that Israel can be defeated. That Israel really is a spider-web society, as Nasrallah claims.”

Thus “the Disengagement also damaged the U.S. regional strategy of the war against terrorism. It gave extreme Islam the feeling that just as it defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, it defeated us in Gaza and will defeat us in the West Bank and will defeat us also in Tel Aviv. In this way, as it already once undermined a world power, it will now undermine the West by defeating Israel.”

“The situation will only get worse with time. We will find ourselves facing a kingdom of terror that is capable of launching into Israel more rockets of greater range and greater effectiveness. It will not be possible to deal with that threat solely by means of aerial attacks. Therefore, if we want to go on living, we may have no other choice than to launch an Operation Defensive Shield in Gaza.”

“Whoever projects weakness in the Middle East is like a weak animal in the wild: it is attacked. The Qassams and Katyushas will no longer be Sderot’s problem. They will reach the front door in Tel Aviv.”


  1. Ya’alon knew that withdrawal from Gaza would have disastrous consequences. Yet, instead of resigning in protest, he implemented the withdrawal.
  2. The idea of withdrawal from Gaza had been considered before Sharon became prime minister. In 2003, however, Sharon adopted the idea to distract and preoccupy the public and thus save him from being indicted for criminal acts—those that sent his son Omri to prison.
  3. Israel’s most dangerous enemy is its own government, which can disregard the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people with impunity, but only because Israel lacks the institutional checks and balances which I have long advocated.