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Thursday, March 16, 2006
Weekly Commentary: The Retreat Referendum

Weekly Commentary: The Retreat Referendum

Aaron Lerner Date: 16 March 2006

[I had to cut this commentary short because I had to rush to Hadassah Ein
Kerem Hospital this evening - my father, Dr. Joseph Lerner [Josiah ben
Tessa], who also is Co-Director of IMRA, suffered a massive hemorrhage in
his brain this evening. I wanted to send a simple message to my fellow
countrymen who oppose the retreat but out of disgust for the politicians do
not plan to vote: These elections are not about Netanyahu, or Silvan
"Steve" Shalom, or various other politicians in the other parties in the
national camp. These elections are a national referendum on retreat.
Staying at home is a vote for retreat. I have no illusions. There is no
guaranty that the politicians will ultimately even honor the outcome of the
"referendum". But it is our only shot. And sometimes in life you make an
effort because an issue is so important even if you can't be certain that
the effort will pay off.]

In less than two weeks Israel's citizens go to the polls to vote in what has
clearly become a retreat referendum.

Yes, Acting PM Ehud Olmert only said explicitly that he intended to tear
down the Jewish communities located beyond an as yet to be finalized
security fence - and two of the Kamida party's senior security
personalities, Avi Dichter and MK Gideon Ezra, have asserted that the IDF
will not retreat from the rubble, but Olmert has carefully maintained his
option to embrace DM Mofaz's position that once the homes are bulldozed that
the IDF should high-tail it back behind the fence.

And since the retreat is just that - a retreat, this "package" does not
include any clear picture regarding what will transpire in the evacuated
areas beyond the tradition secular messianic view that the IDF will be
eternally able to prevail, at an acceptable cost, regardless of the opening
conditions on the ground.

And those opening conditions in a post retreat conflict may be nothing like
the IDF-Palestinian clashes we have seen to date thanks both to Hamas' rise
to power and Israel's forfeiture of control over transit between the areas
and the outside world (as has already happened in the Gaza Strip).

Until now, PA armed forces have suffered from internal corruption and a lack
of unity that limited their ability to launch an effective war of attrition
against the Jewish State. The Hamas led Palestinian army will be
considerably more potent. And after an Israeli retreat, they will be able
to not only readily arm themselves with considerably more deadly weapons -
but also introduce foreign elements both to bolster their forces and to
serve as human shields.

Today when an IDF team goes into Jericho or Jenin, they face light arms
fire, grenades, and some low grade anti-tank devices and the third party
casualties are Palestinians. The Palestinian response is limited to
threatening terror attacks that they are trying to carry out anyway and
firing Qassam rockets at Israelis in the boondocks.

After the retreat the situation will be completely different. A nightmare
in the very center of the country. A war of attrition that saps the country
and a fighting force that in time of invasion can provide both a bridgehead
for the invaders and divert vital Israeli forces needed at the fronts. .

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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