Israel Concedes the Gaza Strip: Still No Sign of Peace
Later this month, more than 8,000 Israeli settlers will be removed (some physically) from their homes in the Gaza Strip and re-located within Israel. Gaza has been a critical component in Israeli internal and foreign policy ever since the nation won it in the 1967 Middle East war.
Conceived by Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Gaza withdrawal plan has thus far created more controversy and division than it has peace. In time, the withdrawal will prove to be more than just a significant territorial gain for the Palestinians.
Israel’s plan has bred disunity among Israelis, handicapping the nation at a time when it needs to be firmly united in order to successfully ward off Palestinian designs on Jerusalem and the rest of the country.
Throughout Israel, opponents of the withdrawal have “blanketed the country with demonstrations, posters and orange ribbons of protest, and the protests are credited with helping reduce public backing for the pullout …” (Wall Street Journal, July 20).
As protests mounted over the past month, 20,000 police and Israeli Defense Force (idf) soldiers were deployed in southern Israel to block the march of thousands of anti-pullout protestors. Israeli defense forces are working doubly hard in southern Israel as they seek to police the masses of angry Israeli protesters, as well as to protect Israeli settlers from possible terrorist attacks as they prepare to abandon their homes in Gaza.
Dissent over Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is impacting Israel’s defense forces. As the pullout date (August 17) draws closer, concern is mounting over whether idf soldiers will really be willing to go through with it. “An Israeli settler activist heading a group opposed to Israel’s August withdrawal from the Gaza Strip said July 29 that more than 20,000 Israeli soldiers have signed a petition pledging to disobey orders to remove Jewish settlers” (Stratfor, July 29).
Despite the controversy and violence surrounding Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, the pullout is supported by many nations, including the United States and members of the European Union.
But the hope that this concession will pave the way for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and satisfy the Palestinians’ desire for Israeli real estate is simply a pipe dream.
Just last Wednesday, “Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia … said Israel’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip would eventually lead to its surrender of the Jews’ ancient capital—Jerusalem” (Jerusalem Newswire, July 27). The Palestinians will certainly accept the Gaza from Israel—but Israel‘s concession will do nothing to slow them in their drive for the control of Jerusalem.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has failed abysmally in his campaign pledge to reign in terrorist groups and maintain a path of peace with Israel. Since Abbas’s election, Palestinian terrorist groups have gained more political clout, virtually hijacking the Palestinian leadership and guaranteeing a future of war and violence with Israel.
A July 28 Wall Street Journal article highlighted Israel’s concern over the future of Israel: Israel is preparing its forces “for what is feared to be a full-blown ‘third intifada,’ during or soon after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza ….” Israel’s Gaza pullout is supposed to be a step toward peace, yet it will more likely prove to be the beginning of another intifada!
Palestinian leaders agree that a third intifada is on its way. “Palestinian leaders openly warn that another terror war is on the horizon—even if they assert that it would be the fault of the Jewish state alone” (ibid.).
Israel’s Gaza concession has done nothing to foster lasting peace in Israel. Terror and violence are about to get worse in this war-ravaged nation!
The Palestinians have their eyes set on Jerusalem. No concessions, talks or agreements can ever stop them from seeking control over this much-coveted city.
In the coming months and years, peace will continue to elude Israel. But that is not the way the situation will remain. Our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy explains the biblically prophesied future of Jerusalem and Israel, including the plan by which Jerusalem will actually become the focal point and the source of a genuine global peace. Lasting peace will soon flow from Israel!