It is exactly five years since Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip.
Those Israeli citizens, who refused to accept government compensation packages and leave prior to the August 16, 2005 deadline, were forcibly removed from their homes by Israeli security forces during the following days. In total, some 9,000 Israelis were evicted from 21 civilian settlements. Following their departure, four of the synagogues in which they had worshipped were immediately burned to the ground, while the greenhouses they left behind were ransacked.
Not that Israel had any illusions about whom they were dealing with. Hamas’ charter proclaims that “the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day” (Article 11).
Article 13 adds that “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions (of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict) and international conferences, are in contradiction of the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”
Those who favour applying pressure on Israel to sit down with “the Palestinians” and reach a peace agreement, and even go so far as to propose a timetable for doing so, need to take a serious look at what is really happening in the Palestinian world.
An article in this week’s The Economist reports that “in both Palestine’s cloven halves, governance is remarkably similar. Both Hamas and Mr. Fayyad (Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority) rule by decree…. Both promise elections sometime in the future but in the meantime round up their opponents and silence unlicensed independent media outlets.”
The real victims of this tragic situation are, of course, the ordinary men and women who have learned to accept their rulers’ decrees in silence or risk imprisonment. The Economist tells us that “most people are weary of stepping out of line.”
The article concludes by suggesting that “succession in Palestine may yet come by appointment, palace coup or something even bloodier, rather than by the ballot box.”
Strangely, those in the West, who claim to be champions for human rights, remain curiously silent as the principles of democracy are trampled under foot.
Given this unsettled state of affairs, it is folly to bully Israel into sitting down with “the Palestinians” in the hope of reaching a peace agreement. At Camp David it could have been done, if Yassir Arafat had been prepared to take what Dennis Ross called “that extra step”. However, ten years later the picture is far more complicated.
Meanwhile, Russia has announced that it will begin loading fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr at the end of this week.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Rabbis For Israel