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Ha’aretz’s Danny Rubenstein: Gaza Unilateral

ZOA January 27, 2006

New York – Veteran prize-winning Israeli journalist for the Ha’aretz newspaper, Danny Rubenstein, told a group of Jewish leaders discussing the Palestinian elections that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria last year boosted Hamas’ standing in Palestinian society and strongly helped Hamas win this election. Rubenstein’s statement was made in response to a question posed by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein. Klein asked, “Did Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria last year, by giving away territory and uprooting thousands of Jews for nothing in return from the Palestinian side, help Hamas by showing that terrorism produces these results?”

Danny Rubinstein answered, “Yes, unilateral withdrawal certainly played into the hands of Hamas and strongly helped in their election victory.”

Summing up, Morton Klein said, “It is clear that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal was a boost to Hamas and might even in large part explain its victory in Palestinian elections. In light of this, it is a mistake for Acting Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other figures in the Israeli government to be foreshadowing that, if no serious efforts are made on the Palestinian side to make peace, Israel will simply carry out further unilateral withdrawals. Like the Gaza/northern Samaria withdrawal, further unilateral withdrawals will only bring more terrorism, increased rocket attacks, more smuggling of weapons and more strength to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. Where Israel leaves unilaterally and in return for nothing from the Palestinians, terrorists are emboldened and strengthened and the areas handed over become launching pads for more terrorism. For Israel to be making statements that it will carry out further unilateral retreats is an open invitation to Palestinian leaders to do nothing towards living up to their obligations to fight terrorism and end the incitement to hatred and murder within Palestinian society that feeds it.”

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