From  Cox and Forkum:

From the FoxNews: Israel OKs 1st Stage of Pullout; Netanyahu Resigns.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigned from his post Sunday to protest next week’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, a ministry spokesman said.
Netanyahu, seen as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s biggest political rival within the Likud Party, submitted a letter of resignation during the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday. The resignation will take effect within 48 hours.

Netanyahu wrote that he cannot be part of what he described as a “process that ignores reality and proceeds blindly, creating a base for Islamic terror that will threaten the state.”

“I am not prepared to be part of this irresponsible act that threatens the security of the Israel,” he wrote.

And from the Jerusalem Post: Hamas launches contest for best pullout poster (via Laurence Simon).

Hamas launched a competition Saturday for the best design of a Gaza pullout poster, according to a statement posted on the Islamic group’s web site.
The design must portray the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a victory for Palestinian groups — in particular, Hamas. The design must also show Israel’s “desperation and defeat.”

In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have been competing for credit for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, each preparing elaborate celebrations, commissioning thousands of flags and frantically sewing clothing with their trademarks.

From Daniel Pipes: “Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem.”:

A top Hamas figure in Gaza, Ahmed al-Bahar says “Israel has never been in such a state of retreat and weakness as it is today following more than four years of the intifada. Hamas’s heroic attacks exposed the weakness and volatility of the impotent Zionist security establishment. The withdrawal marks the end of the Zionist dream and is a sign of the moral and psychological decline of the Jewish state. We believe that the resistance is the only way to pressure the Jews.”
A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri says likewise that the withdrawal is “due to the Palestinian resistance operations. … and we will continue our resistance.”

Others are more specific. At a mass rally in Gaza City last Thursday, about 10,000 Palestinian Arabs danced, sang, and chanted, “Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem.” The commander of Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees, Jamal Abu Samhadaneh announced Sunday, “We will move our cells to the West Bank” and warned “The withdrawal will not be complete without the West Bank and Jerusalem.” The Palestinian Authority’s Ahmed Qurei also asserts, “Our march will stop only in Jerusalem.”

Days before his resignation, Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post interviewed Benjamin Netanyahu: Netanyahu: Pullout will endanger West (via Little Green Footballs).

Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu believes that in the aftermath of Israel’s upcoming departure, “Gaza will be transformed into a base for Islamic terrorism adjacent to the coast of the State of Israel.”
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Netanyahu said the terror threat that would develop in a post-withdrawal Gaza would be a danger not only for Israel but for the Western world in general.

“This it isn’t just our problem,” he claimed.

“It’s the West’s problem as well because forces that are controlled, deployed and cooperate with Iran – and today Hizbullah and Hamas are controlled in a significant way by Iran – will receive an additional base of operations not only in close proximity to Israel’s cities but also on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea not far from Europe.”

I can’t see any good coming from Israel’s unilateral retreat, and Netanyahu is bringing attention to the issue. But for a critical perspective on Netanyahu’s resignation, see David Frum (via TIA Daily).

[Netanyahu] timed his resignation not to make a difference, and torpedo the plan, but to make the maximum splash – and to best position himself to try again for Israel’s prime ministership. This is the second time he has attempted this trick. In the 1990s for example he won office by opposing Oslo – and then in office continued to follow the Oslo policy. Only he did it in the worst possible way: never daring to withdraw from Oslo but instead carrying the policy out so haltingly and grudgingly as to earn Israel all the blame for Oslo’s failure – without any of the putative benefits of actual escape from Oslo.

And Aaron’s cc says the real credit should go to Natan Sharansky who resigned three months ago, stating:

“In my view, the disengagement plan is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace.”
He also criticised Mr Sharon for pushing it through without demanding Palestinian security reforms in return. This is a refrain of the Israeli Right, which accuses Mr Sharon of weakness in promoting a “something for nothing” initiative.

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