Gaza. The western corner of Israel—despite its bright golden beaches, its warm climate and its green orchards, parks and gardens—is one of the most tense places on Earth.
For a strip of land only 7 miles wide and 25 miles long, it has given Israel no end of trouble. For over a decade, weapons have been smuggled to Palestinians across the Egyptian border through a complex network of tunnels. The Gaza Strip is a base of operations for some of the worst Arab-Israeli savagery.
The most recent violence stems from the nerve struck by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan—involving a complete evacuation of Israelis from Gaza by 2005. Proposed in February, the plan would evacuate 7,500 Israelis in 21 Gaza settlements and four more settlements in the West Bank.
Sharon pushed the disengagement plan as a step toward peace for Israel, saying that, with the completion of the security fence, it would give Israel defensible borders and reduce friction with the Palestinians.
Though Sharon’s own party voted against any withdrawal in a referendum on May 2, over 60 percent of Israelis support the disengagement. Sharon is likely to come up with an alternative plan before long.
Sharon’s plan called for a unilateral move that ignored negotiations and a recently proposed “road map” for peace—however stalled. Palestinians were furious, feeling they would end up with less in the long run if Israel, backed by the U.S., drew the borders by itself rather than negotiating over the fate of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and other issues.
Thus, rather than drawing out jubilant Gazan crowds, the withdrawal plan caused an outbreak of despicably inhuman violence. On the day of the referendum, two Palestinian terrorists forced a car containing a pregnant Israeli woman and her four daughters off the road, then shot them at close range. A few days later, two more Palestinian gunmen fired on the memorial service of the murdered family. Hours after that, terrorists detonated a bomb beneath an armored personnel carrier, destroying the entire vehicle and strewing the body parts of six Israeli Defense Forces (idf) soldiers all over the site. The carnage continued the next day, with five more Israeli soldiers killed in an attack on another idf convoy.
Sharon and his political allies have called the pullout the only way to prevent further deaths in Gaza. But consider what happened when Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon in 2000 without a peace plan: The Palestinians began the intifada that continues to this day.
Israel’s giving up land has never appeased its enemies, because they are not interested in minor concessions: They want the nation of Israel as a whole destroyed—pushed off that bright golden sand right into the sea.
The real solution to the Gazan quagmire lies in knowing the cause of these ills. The Jewish nation was born and sustained by godly miracles. But today, Israel refuses to trust God.
As a result, God is breaking its national will (Leviticus 26:19). Israel is being ground down by terrorism. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Israel still clings to the idea that giving up land is key to having peace. This is utterly false.
Only when Israel turns to God in repentance will it find lasting solutions to these relentless problems. For more, request our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.