In August of 2005 when Israel was on the verge of withdrawing from Gaza and turning it over to the Palestinians, Likud Party Leader Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a mistake. He went so far as to resign his position as Israel’s Finance Minister to protest the decision. While his colleagues were shocked at his resignation, Israel proceeded with the withdrawal.
Since then, terrorists have used Gaza as a staging ground to launch over four thousand rockets into Israel. Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, won the 2006 parliamentary elections and now governs Gaza. No one now disputes that Gaza has become a terrorist enclave with financial support from, among others, Iran. And now, with elections scheduled for February, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have made the decision to do something about the attacks, just in time to garner support for the upcoming election to replace Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister.
Will voters in Israel remember Livni’s support for the Gaza pullout? Or will they realize that Netanyahu was right, as he has been over his decades of government service? Ironically, when Netanyahu was last Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, President Bill Clinton was in office. If he wins the February election, he will have to deal with yet another Democrat President, Barack Obama. President Bush has been a staunch supporter of Israel; will President Obama continue that support? Will Israel elect Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned of the consequences of the Gaza withdrawal? Stay tuned.