Friday, April 30, 2004

Visited maaras hamachpela Wednesday to celebrate little one's siyum on Sefer Breishis. I don't know how much she got out of it (she's all of six years old) but it raised some interesting thoughts. On the one hand, I was raised thinking of the Avos as mythological characters. Not to say that they didn't exist but rather im anu kivnei adam heim kemalachim. The idea that they were real people who camped out in the very spot we now live is a healthy thing for kids to understand. But I hope it doesn't glide into the current arrogant fashion of putting the Avos on the psychologist's couch. It's a fine line. But driving through Chevron also raised some political questions. On the one hand, the Arabs want to kill us all (and the rest of the world wouldn't give a damn) and we have to be very tough and very resolute and not yield an inch. On the other hand, can having a whole battalion protecting a few Jews surrounded by gazillion Arabs be the optimal defense lines? There are some non-trivial trade-offs to consider here.
Which leads me to this hitnatkut business. I understand Sharon's reasoning. He thinks by making a small tactical retreat we can put ourselves in a more stable position for the long haul. But he's dead wrong. I speak not on ideological grounds but on strategic grounds. Think of it this way. We are precariously perched on a high cliff (think of altitude as representing some utility function, so higher is better). Some distance below us is a narrow plateau. If we jump down to the plateau, we will be in less danger of falling off the mountain (think Geneva or whatever the Europeans and their Israeli lackeys are cooking up for us). I see his point. He forgot one thing: momentum. That plateau (exiting Azza and keeping the rest of Yehudah and Shomron) is awfully narrow and establishing a precedent of withdrawal creates a whole lot of downward momentum. Especially since the Weissglas letter to Rice essentially concedes that all settlement (with no exceptions made for "settlement blocs") will be frozen and monitored by Dan Kurtzer (who as dean of YU drove up in a Volkswagon each day and publicly announced that he would not shake the hand of Menachem Begin, visiting YU as PM of Israel). Anyway, Sharon only has two days to cancel the referendum. If he doesn't he will lose by a wide margin (of course, fraud is not out of the question).

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