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Where Now for the National Camp?

David Shalom- Wednesday 20th Jul 2005

The thousands of supporters who encamped at Kfar Maimon on the road to Gush Katif are the true Zionists of our times. Their campaign is one to save Israel, to stop a dangerous precedent of dismantling towns in the land of Israel and allowing the Arabs and the terrorists to earn a victory. They are not just standing for the 10,000 Jews who will be expelled from their homes, but they are protesting to protect the entire nation. It is this message that must told and retold in order to earn the hearts and minds of the entire public.

This struggle is a struggle against appeasement, against ideological collapse and against surrender, both physical and metaphorical, which will undermine Israeli legitimacy in the entire land and will strengthen the hand of our many foes. Many Israelis living inside the Green Line are unaware of the consequences of Disengagement, naively believing that the Arabs and the problems associated with Gaza's Islamist terrorists will disappear. This is, of course, a very dangerous dream and must be challenged by full force of argument. The public must know that the hostile Arab masses in Gaza will remain, we shall not "disengage" from them, rather we will be even more engaged after the withdrawal. The problem will not disappear.

The Arab euphoria at their victory will lead to new bloodshed. The internecine violence amongst the terrorist organisations in recent days is actually a worrying sign, for the fight between the PLO and Hamas is a power struggle; it is the Arab equivalent of electoral primaries, with each terrorist organisation vying for a seat at the head of the table. But who wins need not concern Israel too much, for the one uniting factor that these gangs have is their desire to continue their war against Israel. Once Israel leaves, their weapons and more will be turned on the people of southern Israel.

The Israeli reservist who believes that he will spend less days in miluim (reserves) is in for a terrible shock, for once Fatahland or Hamastan is created, the flow of weapons will continue at an unprecedented pace. The missiles will hit well within the magical Green Line and the government will be forced to go to war. The taxpayer who thinks that he will save money will be even more disappointed after he discovers that the nine billion shekels spent on the Disengagement Plan is but a fraction of the money needed to defend the rest of the country from the fallout of the surrender.

Not only in the south will violence ensue, but also in the centre, where the Arabs will use their new foothold in northern Samaria to hit Israeli targets. And conflict will also ensue in the north, where Hizbullah will take advantage of the chaos to attack where and when they can.

A larger, bloody and costly war may eventually ensue. A war that will be harder to fight, given that the international community will condemn Israel for any breach of the newly created Arab sovereignty. A war made doubly hard by the lack of strategic presence in Gush Katif and by the flow of weapons from Egypt. Indeed, Egypt herself may even join such a conflict if she sees that Israeli positions are vulnerable enough or if she, rightly, feels that yet more Israeli capitulations can be achieved.

But Ariel Sharon is not worried about the day after the expulsion, he is not worried about the rift in the nation, about the abuse of the people's army - using it for policing proposes. All that concerns him is his plan and carrying it through, no matter what. Indeed, he is not even worried about his own coalition, which will surely and quickly fall after the implementation of his plan. There can be no doubt that the Left and the Arab parties will no longer give him the votes he needs to survive the day after their objective – the destruction of Jewish towns in Gush Katif - has been achieved.

To all those protesting over the last few days, the courageous men, women and youngsters who were in Kfar Maimon, braving the heat and the police's strong-arm tactics, it must be made clear that the disaster can be prevented; even if they do not reach Gush Katif, there still are other ways to win. Ariel Sharon is living on borrowed time, his coalition can and will implode, and if a delay of this plan can be achieved, then elections and a more favourable government can come to power before the catastrophe.

The point, though, that must be remembered if we wish to succeed is that we must win the support of the public, as this is essential to ensure a national camp victory at the elections and the demise of the corrupt Likud politicians in Sharon's camp. It may, therefore, be better to target the demonstrations more precisely. The demonstrators should move, in their thousands, to outside the Prime Minister's house. It is he who must be blocked and not the ordinary motorist. While road blocking can and does work to some extent, it also alienates the swing voters, the apathetic Israelis of today, the potential supporters of the Left tomorrow, angered at the hours spent waiting in their cars on their way to work. It also doesn't target the real culprits - the Likud traitors and their friends on the Left.

Many in the Likud are as guilty as Sharon in betraying the party and they should be taken to task, first in the primaries, but just as importantly, as the target of public anger and protest. Let Ministers Tzipi Livni, Limor Livnat, Meir Shetreet and Ehud Olmert awake to thousands of protestors blocking their driveways and their homes. Let the Attorney General find that the road to the kangaroo court of his is blocked, as well. And let us not forget the media, too. The mainstream media is playing the role of the chief propagandist for the minority government; it is acting in full collusion of the Left and has no semblance of balance. Thus, protest should be directed at the three TV networks, with Haim Yavin and his friends waking to find thousands of men and women in orange sitting outside their buildings demanding a free media and an end to leftist hegemony.

Let us learn from the original orange demonstrators in the Ukraine and vow not to leave the road to the Knesset, or to the prime minister's residence, or even to his Sycamore Ranch, until free and fair elections are called.

Let us call on the public to join the struggle, too. This can only be achieved by highlighting the danger to all, by stressing that this is not a question of religious or secular, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, Right or Left, but rather one of Zionism, true Zionism, and a struggle for the Jewish nation's survival. The thousands who encamped in Kfar Maimon spread the message to millions and it is their bravery that gives hope to us all.

David Shalom is a leader of Betar in the UK and writes this piece from Jerusalem.



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