Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Test Starts Now 

I have supported the right of the sovereign government of Israel to disengage from Gaza, as painful as that is. Nevertheless, the decision must still pass muster practically. Having the right to decide, and the wisdom to decide correctly, are two separate things.

The government appears to have successfully established and defended its right to disengage, protests notwithstanding. Today, however, the second test has begun in earnest, the test of whether disengagement can actually be carried out safely.

The government now must prove it knows how to handle this, a fatal Kassam attack from the Gaza strip against surrounding Israeli communities. Otherwise, it leaves unanswered two lingering challenges:
  1. Will the disengagement end up a frantic flight under a hail of Palestinian bullets and rockets?
  2. Will the armed forces be able to preserve normal life in communities finding themselves suddenly within Palestinian rocket range?
The assumption on the part of many pro-disengagement supporters (like me) has been that the government has answers for these questions and all will be well. It doesn't have to be perfect, but there need to be clear answers. Otherwise, popular support for the disengagement could easily start to whither, and that would be a big problem.

In reality, today's attack isn't even the full test. After all, disengagement hasn't begun yet, and the IDF still maintains its positions within Gaza. Of course, it could be said that the attack doesn't really test disengagement's wisdom, since it obviously could have happened anyway. But if the govenrnment can't respond today, when it still maintains the advantages it has yet to surrender, it will be hard to expect it to do any better a month from now.

The Palestinian terrorists who fired this rocket know this, and are emboldened by the possibilities. An iron fist pounding the source of this murdering rocket would be a good start. After that, maybe we'll see what other plans the government has been readying. I hope it's enough.
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