In the H.G Wells novel and subsequent film, "The Invisible Man," the main character takes a dangerous drug and slowly disappears.
That is a metaphor for what is happening to Israel as it plans its latest unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, which it once "occupied" for security purposes. Israel is slowly disappearing, and the twin drugs of appeasement and self-delusion are responsible.
The "disengagement" later this month (which is actually a retreat and is seen that way by Israel's enemies) will not be the end, anymore than previous retreats, concessions, "good will" gestures and written documents have produced security or peace in the region.
Only after Israel is destroyed will the West realize what it did and failed to do, but it will find convenient and comforting explanations to absolve itself from any blame. Jews, you see, are always responsible not only for the world's problems, but for bringing destruction upon themselves by virtue of their being Jews.
Some Israelis are placing faith in a formal "letter of assurance" that President Bush addressed to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, in which the president assured Sharon that the United States would back Israel's claim for defensible borders, which Israelis take to mean the West Bank. The Palestinian and Arab sides have not agreed to any borders.
Israel trusts the word of the president, even as the State Department continues its pro-Arab ways and pressures Israel into real concessions while accepting as gospel empty promises from the Palestinian side, a side that has lived up to only one pledge: to eradicate the Jewish state.
Does anyone doubt that the moment (or even before the moment) the last Jewish "settler" is dislodged from Gaza and the last thriving business closed, that Hamas and its legion of demons will rush into Gaza, expand their terror operation and begin close-up attacks on Israel?
Who will stop them? It won't be the Europeans, or the Palestinians, or any Arab state that helps subsidize them. When the next formal war is launched against Israel, will the United States send troops and planes? With so little land left to defend, it is likely such a war will be over soon after it starts with Israeli cities reduced to rubble and casualties running to perhaps tens of thousands, or more.
No responsible business owner would give something to his customers without receiving something in return, or he would not remain in business for long. Why should Israel be required to do all the giving and none of the receiving?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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