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After Gaza

Why Withdrawing From the West Bank Would Make Israel Safer

An armored military ambulance damaged in a Palestinian mortar strike near the border with the Gaza Strip, August 4, 2014. Baz Ratner / Courtesy Reuters

As the latest battle between Israel and Hamas in Gaza wears on, there are two schools of thought -- one on the right and one on the left -- about what Israel should do next.

The first take, on the right, is that renewed fighting in Gaza proves that Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005 was a mistake. According to this view, the withdrawal empowered Hamas, inviting rockets from above and tunneling terrorists from below, while earning Israel no international credit for having ended its occupation of the coastal strip. That pattern, the thinking goes, would repeat itself should Israel disengage from the West Bank. For that reason, any pullout now would be dangerously misguided.

The second argument, on the left, is that Israel’s mistake was not that it disengaged from Gaza, but that it did not sufficiently support the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, thereafter.

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