By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

People are puzzled by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's passionate commitment to unilateral disengagement from Gaza (which not part of the "Road Map"). Israel did not have to withdraw unilaterally from Lebanon for any sensible person to know that retreating under fire rewards and encourages terrorism -- in Lebanon, Hizbullah, which now has thousands of missiles on Israel's vulnerable northern border. Surely retreating from Gaza is bound to have similar consequences.

Indeed, Clause 5 of Sharon's disengagement plan involves the entry of Egyptian forces into Gaza as well as the training and arming of terrorists to maintain "law and order." This is a replay of Oslo -- only worse. Despite the 1979 treaty with Israel, Egypt has remained a de facto belligerent. Here's why:

(1) Egypt, threatened by no one, has a wartime "defense" budget of 25% of its GDP! Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Yuval Steinitz has warned that Egypt's military establishment is planning a future war with Israel.

(2) The PLO -- an Egyptian creation -- is serving as Egypt's proxy in the Oslo War of attrition against Israel. Egypt has been the primary arms supplier of the PLO-led Palestinian Authority.

(3) Egypt is the center of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda in the Middle East -- propaganda which serves not only to distract the Arab masses from their own misery, but prepares them for a future war with the Jewish state.

(4) Cairo's al-Azhar University, the most authoritative voice of Islam, has ruled that Islamic law justifies suicide bombings and obligates Muslims to become "martyrs." Al-Azhar is a mouthpiece of the Egyptian government.

For Sharon to invite Egyptian forces into Gaza via Clause 5 of his unilateral disengagement (read deportation) plan is sheer madness: it would endanger ALL Israel.

A desperate Sharon would have us believe that evacuating Gaza will gain 15 years of good relations with Europe. Doesn't Mr. Sharon know that Europe no longer exists, that it has become Eurabia, as historian Bat Ye'or has shown? Eurabia's driving force, the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation, was created in Paris in 1974, not only for economic reasons, but to counter the power of the United States. It now has six hundred members from all major European political parties. By definition, Eurabia is anti-Israel. Sharon is talking nonsense -- desperate to sell his disengagement, i.e., deportation plan. Why?

Fastback to September 2000. The Oslo War has broken out and Ehud Barak is Israel's prime minister. Almost 100 Jews have been murdered by the time Sharon wins a landslide victory over Barak in the February 2001 prime ministerial election. Sharon had a clear mandate to put an end to Arab terror. This required him to abrogate Oslo by destroying Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Sharon did no such thing. Instead, he appointed Oslo's architect Shimon Peres foreign minister. He then established a three-member security cabinet where decisions involving the Palestinians required a unanimous vote. Peres was a member of that security cabinet, along with Sharon and defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor). This mini-cabinet produced not security but self-restraint and the most horrendous Jewish casualties in the Oslo War. How are we to explain Sharon's yielding to Peres, his becoming Labor's surrogate prime minister?

In a September 24, 2004 article appearing in the magazine section of the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick recalls that Sharon, in collusion with Peres, prevented both prime ministerial and Knesset elections from taking place in February 2001for the sole purpose of blocking Binyamin Netanyahu's return to the Prime Minister's Office. This preserved the 1999 Knesset, in which the Likud had 19 MKs versus Labor's 26, and thus forced the public to vote only for the prime minister.

"Sharon did this," says Glick, "despite the fact that opinion polls from December 2000 projected that Likud stood to win more than 40 Knesset seats while Labor would be decimated, dropping to a mere 15 seats. The devolution of the Oslo process into the Oslo War brought about an overwhelming rejection of Labor's appeasement based policy by voters and a clarion call for national leadership by the Likud. Yet Sharon refused to listen. What interested him was being prime minister and this he could do only by preventing voters from exercising their right to choose representatives in the Knesset."

Therein is one explanation why Sharon is adamant about unilateral disengagement from Gaza. In the January 2003 general elections, Sharon and his Likud party campaigned against unilateral disengagement -- the position of Labor chairman Amram Mitzner. By the end of the year, however, Sharon adopted Labor's position, thus betraying those who voted Likud in the January elections, which had given the Likud 38 seats versus Labor's 19. Meanwhile, Peres replaced Mitzna as Labor chairman. Hence it may well be that Sharon was paying off his debt to Peres, who had made him prime minister in 2001.

A collateral explanation is possible. Dov Weissglas, Sharon's top adviser and negotiator, has a law firm that represent the business interests of the Palestinian Authority, including casino firms owned by PLO security chief Jibril Rahoub and Yassir Arafat himself! Investigative reporter David Bedein has revealed that the Palestinian tourist publication, This Week in Palestine, announced that plans are under way to build a new Palestinian casino and resort for tourists in "Southern Gaza," in place of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif!

Clearly, there is a conflict of interest here between the Weissglas, who, as Sharon's negotiator, is supposed to represent the State of Israel, and the Weissglas who represents Palestinian business interests. Surely Mr. Sharon is not oblivious of this illegal as well as dangerous state of affairs.

But notice that the two stated explanations of his commitment to disengagement are mutually compatible. The Sharon-Peres-Weissglas nexus may thus provide powerful ammunition for those who oppose the deportation of Jews from Gaza.


Professor Paul Eidelberg is a member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.