EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Unilateral disengagement from the West Bank, which Israeli PM candidate Benny Gantz seems to support, would have far-reaching adverse implications for Israel in the security, economic, social, infrastructural, and ecological spheres.
For all his efforts to keep his views on key national issues under wraps, so as to make his premiership bid appealing to the largest possible number of Israelis, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has indicated his readiness to apply the highly controversial unilateral disengagement formula that Sharon applied to Gaza in 2005 to the West Bank as well. “We need to find a way in which we’re not controlling other people,” Gantz told the daily Yediot Ahronot in his first interview as a PM candidate. “[The unilateral disengagement] was a legal move, a decision made by the Israeli government and carried out by the IDF and the settlers in a painful, but good manner. We need to take the lessons learned and implement them elsewhere.”
Leaving aside the ambiguity of these well-worn terms (e.g., most of the world views Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem as “settlements” while Israelis consider them an integral part of Israel), or the feasibility of evacuating some 140,000 Jewish residents from their homes with no Palestinian quid pro quo, Gantz’s thinking seems to be predicated on dated suppositions that have long been overtaken by events.