The Tragic Gaza Withdrawal
It is hardly a picture of a confident, strong, united nation protecting itself from its enemies. In fact, looking at the heart-rending scenes of distraught men, women and children being bodily torn from their homes, crying and screaming, just who the enemy is is not so clear.
In the next couple days, the 8,500 residents of Gaza will have either left or been evicted from their homes in the largest-ever Israeli military operation outside of war.
That means the 50,000 police and soldiers deployed against Israel’s own citizens are more than the force that has ever been used against the terrorists who seek the nation’s destruction.
The evacuation of these settlements is the first phase of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to retreat from land Palestinians want to establish their own state—a solution that is mistakenly thought will achieve peace in the Middle East.
Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip currently underway, however, reflects the division, lack of national will, and depletion of faith that will soon bring that nation to its knees.
Recent weeks have seen numerous and intensifying protests by so-called extremist Jews—those who don’t want to give up their land. Hundreds have been detained; currently, hundreds more who entered Gaza to support the resistance to the pullout prepare for a standoff with Israeli troops. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers continue to break into homes and drag fellow Israelis to evacuation buses.
The “ultranationalists,” as they are coined by the press, believe the Gaza Strip, along with the West Bank, is part of the land bequeathed to the Jews by God. Today, this is seen as the extreme view. But it wasn’t always. Once, the nation as a whole was united in its determination to defend every inch of its land.
Today, what we see is a nation at war with itself. How can a nation divided against itself stand against its enemies? God prophesied that because of disobedience to Him and a lack of faith, the national will of Israel (biblical Judah) would be broken (Leviticus 26:19).
Wracked by division within and hostility without, Israel sees its only way forward that of withdrawal—reflecting a mindset of resignation.
“We are a generation that is betraying its forefathers, their faith and their sacrifice. We are now engaged in tearing out the heart of the land from ourselves, undercutting everything which we nurtured,” Shmuel Schnitzer stated over a decade ago (Mideast Mirror, Sept. 14, 1994).
Territorial concessions have been a hallmark of the peace process, which, as editor in chief Gerald Flurry has clearly stated—based on biblical prophecy—will prove to be “Judah’s wound” (Hosea 5:13). This “wound” will lead to its weakening to the point of losing half of Jerusalem and being easily overtaken by foreign armies.
Israel’s first territorial concession in its modern history was in 1982 when it turned over the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Since then, Israel has surrendered numerous pieces of strategically important land to the control of the Palestinians in return for empty promises of peace.
This latest withdrawal, however, is the first complete territorial withdrawal since the Sinai. And it doesn’t even involve the pretense of a peace agreement. The Palestinians have made no commitment to stop their war against Israel. The Palestinian Authority refuses to disarm the terrorist group Hamas. Hamas maintains its commitment to the destruction of Israel—in fact, it openly claims Israel‘s withdrawal as its own victory, asserting that it has driven Israel out. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group has made the same claims.
And for good reason. How could supporters of the bloody intifada not feel that terrorism has paid off? A joint Israeli-Palestinian public opinion poll in June found that 71 percent of Palestinians believe that Israel’s Gaza withdrawal is a triumph for the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel.
Yesterday (August 17), thousands of Hamas members marched to one of the Gaza settlements chanting “We shall be back” (Stratfor, August 17). Hamas, along with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have “reportedly established independent motorized strike teams to fill the vacuum left by the Israel Defense Forces upon final evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip” (ibid.).
One needs little imagination to see what is likely to come. The success of Israel’s enemies in this instance will only embolden them. In reality, by handing the terrorists a secure base of operations right in the midst of the country, this withdrawal only makes Israel more vulnerable.
Sharon’s reasoning, it is said, is that this withdrawal will decrease international pressure on Israel and thus make it easier for it to hold on to the West Bank and other territory. Clearly, this is operating from a position of weakness. Israel has lost the pride in its power.
The Arab-Israeli conflict can never be solved by territorial concessions on Israel’s part—whether it retreats to its 1967 borders or any others mandated by any peace accord. Quite simply, the Arabs have a fundamental problem with the very existence of Israel. As long as the State of Israel exists, the Arabs will seek its destruction. To believe anything else is to deny history, reality and the Arabs’ own declarations.
As Gerald Flurry states in Jerusalem in Prophecy, “Soon the whole world will see what the Arabs saw all along—that the peace process is a wound from which the Jews will never recover!” Read Chapter 2 (“Israel’s Deadly ‘Wound’”) in Jerusalem in Prophecy to find out where Israel’s land-for-peace mentality will end. Our March-April Trumpet article “New Hope in the Peace Process?” will also provide some prophetic context for what is truly a tragedy unfolding within the embattled State of Israel.