Israel had the perfect plan for Gaza – indeed, for all Palestinians – when it decided to redeploy its forces around the occupied Gaza Strip in 2005.
Despite statements by Israeli officials at the time that the “disengagement” plan was intended to decouple Israel’s responsibilities from its role as occupier, the reality was different.
Dov Weisglass, a top advisor to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, explained the real reasons for the redeployment.
Weisglass knew exactly what he was saying, and after all, he was one of the architects of the plan.
But to what extent has the Israeli plan, as described by Weisglass, been implemented? And has the current war in the Gaza Strip changed the results anticipated almost twenty years ago?
“The importance of the disengagement plan lies in freezing the peace process,” Weisglass told Haaretz in 2004.
This part has, in fact, been entirely completed. Not only was the so-called peace process frozen, but Israel has since taken numerous steps to ensure that there is nothing worth negotiating.
The exponential growth of illegal Jewish settlements, the killings of Palestinians, the desecration of holy sites and plans for annexation have made unrealistic the very idea that a two-state solution is even possible in practice.
But why did Israel want to freeze a “process” that was futile from the start?
It was not the peace process that mattered to Israel, but the fact that as long as such political conversations were taking place, the Palestinian political agenda remained credible.
This logic, long defended by the Palestinians, was supported by Weisglass himself, when he declared that “when you freeze this process, you prevent the creation of a Palestinian state and you prevent any discussion about refugees, borders and Jerusalem.
“In fact,” he added, “all this package called Palestinian State, with all that it implies, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with general approval. All this with the blessing of the (American) president and the ratification of both houses of Congress. »
This explains much of what has happened since senior Israeli officials made these revelations and predictions.
First of all, all Israeli governments, regardless of their ideological or political orientations, have remained faithful to the plan and have never engaged in real political discussions on the future of a Palestinian state, the rights of Palestinians and, a fortioria just peace.
This indicates that Israel’s intentions were not open to debate within theestablishment politics of the country. For Tel Aviv, it was the end of the so-called peace efforts and the beginning of a new phase, that of the entrenchment of the occupation.
Second, every US administration since then has either invested in the mainstream Israeli agenda or disavowed the “peace process” that the Americans themselves invented and supported.
This is not a coincidence either. Israel has put a lot of effort into lobbying and diplomacy to dissuade the Americans from pursuing their own agenda.
Not only did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu get what he wanted, but he even managed to convince the Trump administration in 2017 to follow Israel’s own agenda on Jerusalem, on refugees, on settlements and even on annexation.
The Biden administration has not changed this grim new political reality established by President Donald Trump, even though some of his comments seemed to suggest otherwise.
Third, although unintentionally, Weisglass indicated that Israel views the Palestinians and their struggle not as disjointed fragments, but as a seamless whole. By blocking one aspect of this struggle, the political process, all the others are expected to collapse like dominoes.
The division of the Palestinians, as well as Mahmoud Abbas’s ability to maintain his Palestinian Authority for all these years despite his inability to achieve anything substantial, allowed Israel to move forward unhindered with its original plan.
Annoyed by the insistence of many countries, including the United States, that it engage in a political process, Israel decided to “disengage” from the Gaza Strip.
“Disengagement is actually formalin,” Mr. Weisglass said. “It provides the necessary amount of formalin so that there is no political process with the Palestinians. »
The Israeli plan, however, was not a complete success. The Palestinians continued to wage a massive campaign of resistance, involving all aspects of society in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
And, as has always been the case, Israel responded with a massive show of force whenever the Palestinians appeared ready to defy their Israeli captors.
From frequent raids on Jenin, Nablus and Jericho to the deadly wars on Gaza, Israel has done everything in its power not only to crush the Palestinians, but also to send them a message: no resistance whatsoever, will not be tolerated, and no form of resistance will ever be enough to put Palestine back on the political agenda of Israel, or its allies.
A sense of “we won and you lost” has pervaded official Israeli institutions and society. Israeli election campaigns seemed completely disinterested in discussing settlements, a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, etc.
The Palestinians, however, remained useful. The Palestinian Authority serves as a line of defense for the ever-expanding settlements. And every Palestinian attack on Israeli targets was used as further proof that Israel has no peace partner, thus reinforcing the anti-peace stance of all Israeli governments.
Media debate following the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 focused on the attack itself, Hamas as a group, and later, although selectively, on the bloodbath created by Israel in Gaza.
But this date did not mark the start of the war; This is a terrible episode in a war that has already begun and is supported by a very violent Israeli military occupation and apartheid.
Just as importantly, regardless of Israeli propaganda and completely biased Western media coverage, there is no doubt that Israel has failed.
This failure was initiated by Sharon’s wishful thinking in 2005, and sustained by the illusions and arrogance of every Israeli government since then.
The truth is that Netanyahu is just one cog in the massive Israeli political machine that aims to dismiss the Palestinian cause forever.
Even those who insist on supporting Israel at all costs can no longer pretend that Palestine is not back on the agenda as the Middle East’s most vital issue.
Without a free Palestine, there can never be peace, security or true stability.
– Middle East Monitor – Translation: Chronicle of Palestine – Lotfallah