Some congressional leaders worry Gaza pullout amounts to appeasement
Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, August 2, 2005
Nobody in the Republican-controlled Congress wants to be seen as
opposing the wishes of both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the
Bush administration. But quietly, the unilateral Israeli pullout from
the Gaza Strip is making some prominent House and Senate members
Over the past few weeks, these legislators have been briefed by leading
Israeli and U.S. strategists over the impact of the Israeli pullout.
The briefers have not been unanimous in their assessment. But virtually
all raised the prospect of the Gaza Strip turning into another Somalia,
or a terrorist haven hosted by a dysfunctional Palestinian Authority.
The terrorists would certainly include members of the Iranian-sponsored
Hizbullah as well as Al Qaida.
One scenario envisioned that Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi would use the Gaza
Strip to recruit Palestinians for the Sunni insurgency in Iraq as well
as for operations in neighboring Jordan. Another scenario was that Gaza
would be used as a launching pad for attacks on U.S. and NATO shipping
in the eastern Mediterranean.
Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican and regarded as one of the most
security-minded members of the House, expressed his concern over the
Gaza pullout on U.S. interests in the Middle East and the war on
terrorism. In a June 20 House speech, Burton, a senior member of the
House International Relations Committee, viewed the Israeli withdrawal
as a victory for terrorism both over the Jewish state and the United
"Personally, I will not second guess the prime minister's wisdom,"
Burton said. "I very much hope that he is right. But again, my
experience tells me that if you take steps to appease an enemy you only
give him a green light to put more pressure on you. In my opinion, it
is imperative and critical to U.S. national security that we as
policymakers understand the consequences should the Israeli
disengagement plan fail to live up to expectations."
Burton then introduced into the record an assessment by a former
Israeli diplomat, Yoram Ettinger, who served in Washington and as
consulate-general in Houston during the 1990s. The assessment warned
that the Israeli pullout could create a terrorist regime that could
turn the Palestinians into an international threat against the United
States as well as against such allies as Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and
"Disengagement is perceived, by the Mideast, as cut and run,
appeasement and cave-in, in sharp contrast to U.S. war on terrorism,"
the assessment said. "No negotiation with - and no concession to -
terrorists; no ceasefire with, but destruction, of terrorist regimes;
no political, but military solution, to terrorism."