EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The situation in the Gaza Strip since the 2005 disengagement debunks three fundamental assumptions that have become axiomatic in the Israeli security discourse: that total separation between Israelis and Palestinians will inevitably enhance security and stability; that the IDF will comfortably win any future confrontation in the evacuated territories; and that Israeli military activity in the previously held territories will enjoy massive international legitimacy and support.
Ever since Israel’s hasty withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, it has been axiomatic among Israeli decision-makers that spatial separation between Israelis and Palestinians is a vital Israeli interest, even if not accompanied by a peace agreement. In line with this thinking, Israelis have been repeatedly promised that the implementation of spatial separation, including the removal of Jews from these territories and the construction of a security fence, would reduce daily friction and create a safer and more stable security situation.
Thirteen years after the unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, there is empirical evidence with which to identify the location where a more workable security situation has developed. Is it in the territory where complete separation has been effected, or in the West Bank, where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s vision of partial separation prevails?