Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned the Palestinians Sunday that terrorism from Gaza after disengagement will be met with a new and harsh IDF response….
“I made it clear to [Condoleeza Rice] the additional instructions that I have given to the security establishment on this issue are very clear and that the IDF will respond gravely against terrorist activity. I made it clear to the secretary of state that our response will be of a different kind, with an addition of severe means, if it is done during the evacuation, or if there will be terror after we leave the Gaza Strip. This was made unequivocally clear.”
Sharon has said consistently that Israel would not disengage under fire, meaning that if the Palestinians fired on Israel during this period, the IDF would take stringent measures to silence the source of the fire. He took this a step further Sunday, saying that if there were attacks from Gaza after withdrawal, Israel would feel free to use a degree of force it has not used until now.
I doubt that Sharon’s words will make much of an impression; the Palestinians haven’t yet proven themselves able to act in their own self-interest, so why should they start now? Here’s my prediction: Israel will pull out of Gaza without significant incident, and then there will be a bus bombing or other terrible act of murder. Israel will stay true to its word and retaliate. And then the “international community” will collectively rise up in great outrage, denouncing Israel and its continuation of the “cycle of violence.” Spoons will be banged on high chairs in various Arab countries, strained peas will be thrown in the halls of the UN, and little will change.