May 3, 2005

Sharansky Resigns to Protest Sharon's Gaza Pullout:

Unlike the physically attractive West Bank, the Gaza Strip is widely considered a leading candidate for The Worst Place in the World, a densely-packed seaside slum running out of fresh water. Israel conquered Gaza back in 1967 and has occupied it ever since. About 7,000 Israeli settlers live in fortified compounds in the Gaza Strip, mostly, as far as I can tell, to stick a thumb in the eye of their Palestinian neighbors by flaunting their power and wealth. Because Israel fenced Gaza off in 1994, it was not an important contributor of suicide bombers during the recent intifada, but the Jewish settlers within Gaza require a huge commitment of Israeli Army forces vastly disproportionate to their numbers and contribution (if any) to Israel's well-being.

Ariel Sharon, that notorious anti-Semitic pacifist wimp, has decided that it is in Israel's national interest to uproot the Gaza settlers, paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars per family to leave.

Now, President George W. Bush's guru of democracy, Natan Sharansky, author of Bush's new favorite book The Case for Democracy, has resigned from Israel's cabinet to protest Sharon's pullout plan. Sharansky predictably cited as his justification for continuing the settlements in the god-forsaken Gaza Strip the Palestinians' also predictable failure to become a fully-functioning democracy complete with women's rights, a free market, and full security for dissenters (according to Joel Rosenberg in National Review). That the Palestinians recently held a reasonably fair election isn't good enough for Sharansky or National Review.

Back in February, I pointed out that Sharansky's purported democracy fetish smelled like a hoax and a trap:

Sharansky is a former housing minister of Israel, with strong ties to the settler movement. His book saying that the solution to the Israel-Palestine problem is for Palestine to become a democracy is widely seen as idealistic, but a more cynical interpretation is that Sharansky is trying to set the bar so high that Israel will never have to deal with the Palestinians and can continue their settlements in the West Bank indefinitely.

It turned out I wasn't cynical enough. Sharansky is now playing the "democracy" card not just to save the quarter-million West Bank settlers from having to return to Israel, but to preserve the 7,000 Gaza Strip settlers as well!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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