Hamas gunmen take over Karni crossing
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Israel needs 'complete disengagement' from Gaza

US government members may suggest Israel sever all ties, close all crossings to Gaza, based on article by independent American researcher

WASHINGTON - Members of the American administration may suggest that Israel "complete disengagement" and relieve itself of any and all responsibility for the Gaza Strip. The idea has already come up in a meeting of the National Security Council, Ynet found Friday.


The idea is based on an article by Dr. Robert Satloff, the executive director for the Washington Institute for Near East policy, who wrote that Israel failed to follow through on all political, economic, and security aspects of the 2005 disengagement, thus "denying itself the consequent diplomatic benefits" of the withdrawal.


"The United States should urge Israel to complete the process of disengagement that it began in 2005... which would include the following: severing the custom's union; announcing that Israel will, after a certain defined period, cease to serve as the entry point for all goods, people, and services into Gaza; and terminating the "Philadelphia Road" security agreement which has only become a trap for Israeli security," Satloff wrote.


"Effectively, this would leave Egypt as Gaza's outlet to the world, with food, water, electricity, and other humanitarian goods flowing over the Gaza-Egypt border.


According to Satloff, "Israel paid the cost of disengagement but never received the benefits. In the eyes of the world, only Israel remained an occupying power after it ended its occupation.


"Israel is alone in the world as being the only country responsible for providing food, water, and electricity to a political entity that daily lobs missiles against its citizens. This is madness," he added.


In an interview with Ynet, Dr. Satloff explains that the important thing is that Israel completes the disengagement so that, after a while, Gaza will be considered foreign territory.


Israel's stance needs to be that it's best for both sides if Israel completes disengagement, he continued, including a total closure of crossings that connect between Israel and a hostile party whose stated goal is Israel's destruction.


There should be a period of weeks or months, but not years, to allow the Palestinians, Egyptians and international aid organizations to find alternatives, he said.


When questioned about potential Egyptian involvement, Dr. Satloff responded that while Egypt probably wouldn't be overjoyed by such a prospect, it would be difficult for the nation to oppose formally the complete end to Israeli occupation in Gaza.


"The only serious criticism of the disengagement is that it increased the ability to smuggle arms into Gaza. In my opinion, if Egypt will become the only route in and out of Gaza, it will make the Egyptians want to be more effective about preventing smuggling."


An option of complete disengagement was not suggested during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's recent visit to the United States. However, deputy prime ministers Eli Yishai (Shas) and Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) have both suggested, in the past, cutting off supplies to Gaza in response to Qassam attacks.


פרסום ראשון: 06.22.07, 20:40
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