"Bait and Switch"
Juan Cole's blog is an invaluable resource on the situation in Iraq and also a good place for information on goings on elsewhere in the Muslim world, with particular emphasis on the areas where this involves interaction with the US. Today he has a "Guest Editorial" by Charles Smith on what he describes as the "bait and switch" strategy lying behind the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza:
Much attention has focused recently on Ariel Sharon?s travails in Israel where a majority of his Likud Party oppose his intent to withdraw all Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip as part of his Disengagement Plan. At the same time, though less noticed, President Bush has declared that Israeli realities on the ground in the West Bank, in the form of large settlement complexes, should remain in any future peace arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians.None of this is particularly surprising, I wrote about this when the "disengagement plan" was first announced, but this brief article sums up the reality of what is going on particularly well. Do yourself a favour and go an read it.
...Reports from Israel indicate that the Bush administration will permit settlement construction and expansion to continue, as is now happening in Maale Adumim but deplores any publicity given to the venture; with that in mind, Israel can act as it wishes with Washington issuing a ?standard protest? from time to time which can be easily ignored. This cynicism is matched by Washington?s acceptance of Sharon?s assurances that the security barrier/fence now being built is only ?temporary.? Items that cost over $1 billion are rarely temporary and Sharon clearly intends to keep the vast majority of settlements on the eastern side of the barrier, not just those adjacent to the 1967 border.