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Jewish World Review
March 30, 2004
/ 8 Nissan, 5764
A matter of life and death
About that Palestinian state Ö
Oceans of words have been, are still being, and will undoubtedly continue to be written about the "crisis" in the Middle East. (Was there ever a time when the Middle East was not in the midst of an international crisis?).
Today, we have a new set of burning questions. Should the Palestinians have a state? Until 1948, there was no such thing as a "Palestinian". Palestinians were Jews; Arabs insisted on being called Arabs part and parcel of the great Arab nation. Do the Arabs living today in Judea, Samaria and Gaza comprise an indigenous Palestinian people? Or are they rather recent immigrants from neighboring Arab states, enticed to come to Palestine over the past two hundred years by the amazing economic upturn (due to Jewish immigration) in an otherwise highly depressed and impoverished area? (See "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, a detailed and meticulously documented analysis of the population trends in the region in the 19th and 20th century.)
The creation of the "Palestinian people" is the fascinating myth born of lies and a rewriting of history; of unmitigated violence, hatred and jealousy, propagated by the media and complacently accepted by the world. Even so, some things remain clear beyond doubt.
1) Today there are 8000 Jews living in the Gaza (Gush Katif) area and almost a quarter of a million Jews all told in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (out of a total Israeli population of five million).
Although the people of Israel are pressured and confused, seeking as we do, a fair solution to a seemingly insoluble problem, suicidal we are not! The cry of "Am Yisrael Chai the Nation of Israel lives on!" still resounds across the land. Even if Mr. Sharon no longer hears it, the rest of us do. After all, we are well practiced in the art of hearing. Shma Yisrael Hear O'Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is One is our password.
G-d is One, and He has given His one Chosen Land to His one, Chosen People. Despite Mr. Sharon and the rest of the world, we intend to keep it.
2) Forcibly transferring 8000 people, many of them fourth generation, from Gush Katif, and then eventually transferring another 242,000 out of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank" of the Jordan River, an area occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1948, never formally annexed to Jordan, and whose inhabitants were never accorded Jordanian citizenship), means that the Arabs will be that much closer to Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva, and Tel Aviv.
Considering their unabated belligerent stance regarding any Jewish state in the Middle East, this is setting the scene for wholesale slaughter.
An intriguing question also surfaces: If Judea, Samaria and Gaza are to be Judenrein under Arab sovereignty, will Israel be allowed to deport/transfer/relocate the half million Arab citizens living in her midst, thus creating one "pure" Jewish state the new (and 21st) Arab state?
3) At the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Christian Europe, under the auspices of the Pope, united to combat the Turkish threat to Islamize Christian Europe. It was one of the greatest and most decisive naval battles of modern times and very probably saved Western Europe for Christendom. Today, when Islamic forces have risen with renewed and vicious vigor, contemporary Europe seems to think that appeasement is the road to peace. They are deluding themselves. The world is slow to learn the lessons of history. An Israeli pullback from Gaza today, unilateral or multilateral, will not only create a dangerous situation for Israel, it will send a stark message to the world that Islam is on the march and will not be tethered. It will also send the message that ridding one's territory of Jews may be a way to avoid Moslem terrorism. It should give the Jews of the world unsavory food for thought.
4) An Israeli prime minister is at the head of this irrational, suicidal plan which only goes to show that there are unfortunately, some irrational, even suicidal, Israelis around. Even if they happen to be prime ministers. Perhaps it's the infirmity of age or the unending pressures on a man losing hope or and I am grievously saddened to write this an attempt to remove himself and his sons from the public eye, pending accusations of criminal activity.
5) A smaller, more compressed Israel, huddled behind a monstrous (and porous!) security wall which slices through the heart of the country is a black vision. It is not the vision of the Zionist dream, nor is it a vision of the ancient dream of Jewish return to the Promised Land. Like the people who promote it, it is a despondent, unrealistic, mistaken and dangerous response to a difficult situation.
The questions remain: What then shall Israel do, and how do we prevent such a drastic, destructive step from taking place. Our Torah tells us "Thou shalt choose life." Indeed, despite all the trials and tribulations the Jewish nation has endured, Am Yisrael Chai the Jewish people lives on, even though some of our political leaders seem to have lost their will to live.
Some problems have no immediate solution but we are a long suffering and patient people. We will continue to stand firm, engage our enemies, bear our children, build our Land until eventually, time and the Divine Hand in history present additional solutions and avenues of respite. We will continue to live.
6) Last, the entire concept of unilateral disengagement is being insidiously advanced by Mr. Sharon in defiance of all accepted democratic processes. Neither Mr. Sharon's government, nor the Knesset, nor the people of Israel have been apprised of the details of this plan, nor have they given their approval of so drastic a step with such heavy implications for the future. Forcibly removing a quarter of a million Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza; from their homes, farms, industries, communities will negate the moral, religious and historical right of the Jewish people to live in the Land of Israel. It will also cost billions of dollars and will rend the social fabric of the country asunder.
Not being given to the same suicidal impulses which seem to have overtaken our prime minister, the inhabitants of the country will not leave their homes willingly, despite the media's claims that they are all sitting around waiting for reparations, after which they will pack up and leave for greener pastures. Not only will the inhabitants of these communities refuse to leave; a good part of the army will refuse to forcibly relocate them.
If Mr. Sharon thinks otherwise, it is another sign of how detached he is from reality. Israel is not Russia and Sharon is not Stalin. Despite his present madness, we are indebted to Sharon for his past contributions to the state and the Jewish people. But something has gone awry in the mind of this until-now rational man. The upheavals that his present plan would cause if put into effect would affect not only Israel but the entire world. The geopolitical ramifications would be felt across the globe in every country which depends on Arab oil or which hosts a large Moslem population. Islamic hatred and terror movements will not be eradicated by the removal of Jewish "settlements". It will subside only when there is no Jewish settlement at all in the entire country.
So at the danger of sounding like a prophet of doom, I can only murmur, World beware! When the Jews are manhandled and fed to the lions (even by their own misguided leaders), strange things happen around the globe. Not because the Jews are so powerful (they are not) but because, like it or not, they are G-d's chosen people, the manifestation of His presence in the world. If that does not sit well with the rational, secular, contemporary reader, all I can say is, it comes straight from one of the earliest and most revered documents in history the Bible.
7) Ironically, with the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel will be expected to provide jobs, social services and other assistance to the Palestinians and to allow them access to Gaza by further splitting this tiny sliver of a country in two with a road leading from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean in the West. If that isn't suicidal, I don't know what is.
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JWR contributor Yaffa Ganz is the award-winning author of more than forty Jewish juvenile titles including the two-volume teen history "Sand and Stars --- A Jewish Journey Through Time" and the popular Savta Simcha Series. You may contact her by clicking here.
NOT JUST TERROR: What many still don't grasp about the Middle East
A nation of schizophrenics?
Patterns in time? Purim, war and perspective
Jerusalem: Eternal Truths about the Eternal City
Intriguing questions on contemporary Mideast issues
The promise of Purim
Those Days, These Times
A TIME TO CHOOSE
War and Peace ...
When visiting 'momma' is dangerous
The Price of Life
Light a candle
Jewish summers --- a time lag
© 2004, Yaffa Ganz