Ralph Kostant weighs in on this one:
Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum, writing in The Jerusalem Post, notes that the upcoming Gaza withdrawal will provide a test of the theories of Israel’s critics, who say that it is Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that causes Palestinian anti-Semitism, terror and suicide bombings. He writes:
The answer is coming soon. Starting on August 15 the Israeli government will evict some 8,000 Israelis from Gaza and turn their land over to the Palestinian Authority. In addition to being a unique event in modern history (no other democracy has forcibly uprooted thousands of its own citizens of one religion from their lawful homes), it also offers a rare, live, social-science experiment.In one sense, however, the experiment proposed by Pipes is unfair. When Israel’s enemies argue that Palestinian terror is the result of Israeli occupation, they do not mean solely the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the areas conquered by Israel in the June 1967 Six Day War. To them, the mere existence of Israel represents Zionist occupation. As George Will has written, with his incomparable gift for turning a phrase, “The problem [for Israel’s enemies] is not that Israel is being provocative; the problem is that Israel’s being is provocative.”
We stand at an interpretive divide. If Israel's critics are right, the Gaza withdrawal will improve Palestinian attitudes toward Israel, leading to an end of incitement and a steep drop in attempted violence, followed by a renewal of negotiations and a full settlement. Logic requires, after all, that if "occupation" is the problem, ending it, even partially, will lead to a solution.
Pipes, however, predicts a very different result. The reader should read his entire column, comparing Pipe’s predictions, and the evidence he offers for them, with the predictions that would seem to follow from the point of view of Israel’s critics, and consider which sound more plausible.
Ralph B. Kostant