In its editorial on May 23, The Jerusalem Post calls upon right-wing American Jews and Christian Evangelicals to accept changing realities in the Middle East and back what it believes is Israel's necessary withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria.
US Jewish Right and their Christian allies are mistaken, the Post asserts, in seeing the “disengagement” plan as a repeat of the failed “Oslo” peace process, noting that “the plan...doesn't promise a New Middle East, or even an end to hostilities.”
Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a recognized authority on Arab terrorism and international diplomacy, disagrees.
“Without reciprocity, [disengagement] will lead to catastrophe. I said it 10 years ago [during the signing of the Oslo Accords] and I say it now,” Netanyahu told a gathering of Likud activists last month.
“We have to insist that if the Palestinians don't stop terrorism and incitement, we will not be obligated to any step, and certainly not to transfer territory,” he said, warning that the Arab world was becoming accustomed to receiving Israeli concessions without giving anything in return.
Feeding the Arab belief that Israeli concessions can be extracted by force of arms is the duplicated folly US Jews and Christians see in disengagement, not Shimon Peres's illusion of a New Middle East, which retreat opponents never took seriously anyway.
The Post goes on to point out that “the American Jewish Right no longer campaigns against...talking to the PLO...Israeli leaders meeting with Palestinian leaders...[or] the security fence” because “reality changed.”
Similarly, the newspaper suggests, US Jews and Christians should stop protesting disengagement now, and accept the reality that most Israelis don't want to support the wellbeing of 8,000 Gaza Jews living among one million hostile Arabs.
At any rate, most Israelis don't see retreating from Gaza as a “defeat of the settlement enterprise,” but rather “as the best chance to save as much of it as possible, thereby expanding Israel's eventual permanent borders beyond the pre-1967 lines without threatening the nation's democratic character,” according to the editorial.
What the Post fails to take into consideration is the damage surrendering Gaza and northern Samaria will do to the Jews' claim to any of the land, be it Gaza, Ariel or Tel Aviv.
Israel's Jews owe their right to sovereignty in this region to biblical mandate and historical precedence.
To say now that the Jews were wrong to resettle Gaza and call it their own would only strengthen the Arab claims that all the land is “occupied” and Jewish history in the area is a fabrication.
The planned withdrawal “is sending the world the worst message: ‘We are fixing an old misconduct. We are giving the Palestinians what is theirs and we are taking out our own people who settled on Arab territory.’”
That is how Ra'anan Levy, former aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, explained it in an open letter in February.
Monday's editorial parrots Sharon's assertion that “disengagement was explicitly proposed as a package deal: leaving areas that almost no Israeli believes we will ultimately hold, while solidifying control over the settlement blocs.”
It goes on to admit that while Sharon believes he has a “historic commitment” from the American president on this matter, “Bush has far from explicitly signed on to the second half of the bargain.”
And he never will, because to Washington, getting the PLO and Israel to sit down together and sign a piece of paper titled “final status agreement” is far more important than ensuring Israel's right to live in the land God deeded to the sons of Jacob.
When it comes time to pressure the parties to come together for this purpose, which side do you think Bush will find most malleable – the Arabs, who have never compromised on even one of their demands, or Israel, which is preparing to unilaterally renounce the Jewish people's claim to part of their ancient homeland?
Make no mistake about it - if Israel surrenders Gaza and northern Samaria, the Arabs will see all Judea and Samaria, including Jerusalem, as ripe for the picking, and will make sure the West knows they will only sign another agreement if Israel is forced to withdraw further.
In fact, it has already begun.
Speaking from his office in Ramallah on May 3, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas insisted the Palestinians “would not accept anything less than the 1967 borders.”
“To put it bluntly," Abbas later said in a Gaza meeting covered by PA television, "I will not be satisfied until the entire homeland [a reference to all Israel] is strolled by all Palestinians.”
Sharon is playing a dangerous game that could have negative ramifications for generations to come.
David Ben Gurion's famous statement to the 1937 Zionist Conference in Basel, Switzerland bears repeating here:
“No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish People in Israel. No Jew has the authority to do so. No Jewish body has the authority to do so. Not even the entire Jewish People alive today has the right to yield any part of Israel.
“It is the right of the Jewish People over the generations, a right that under no conditions can be canceled. Even if Jews during a specific period proclaim they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the authority to deny it to future generations. No concession of this type is binding or obligates the Jewish People.
“Our right to the country - the entire country - exists as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until its full and complete redemption is realized.”
Far from accepting the “realities” Sharon and his partners tell us now exist, it is incumbent upon all who believe and trust in the God of Israel and His Word to hold firm to our faith and resist this disengagement from Israel's land, heritage and divine purpose.