From http://www.JewishWorldReview.com August 25, 2005 / 20 Av, 5765 By Victor Davis Hanson ... (thanks to Doron for alerting us to this thought-provoking analysis) ...
...Sharon was always a strategic thinker, and we are seeing his accustomed foresight working in the controversial exodus from Gaza.
The Israeli military is crafting defensible borders,...it no longer made any sense to periodically send in thousands of soldiers in Gaza to protect less than 10,000 Israeli civilians abroad, when a demographic time bomb of too few Jews was ticking inside Israel proper.
But Gaza itself is only a tessera in a far larger strategic mosaic. The Israelis also press on with the border fence that will in large part end suicide bombings. The barrier will grant the Palestinians what they clamor for, but perhaps also fear — their own isolated state that they must now govern or let the world watch devolve into something like the Afghanistan of the Taliban.
...Palestine as a sovereign state rather than a perpetually "occupied " territory also inherits the responsibility of all mature nations to police its own. So when Hamas and co. press on with their killing — most likely through rocket attacks over the fence — they do so as representatives of a new Palestinian nation. In response, Israel can strike back at an aggressor without worry about the blowback on isolated vulnerable Israeli settlements.
Sharon's withdrawal policy from Gaza is thus a critical first step of turning the struggle from an asymmetrical war of terror back into a conventional standoff between delineated sovereign states. And that can only help a militarily superior Israel.
...The pullout from Gaza is bringing long-needed moral clarity to a fuzzy crisis. Heretofore the Palestinians have counted on foreign support through fear of terrorism, influence with oil producers, unspoken anti-Semitism and carefully crafted victim status accorded savvy anti-Western zealots. But now they are increasingly on their own, and what transpires may soon end their romance of the perpetually oppressed.
So Ariel Sharon leaves, with a "Hasta la vista, Gaza — and be careful what you wish for."
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.