Sometimes, you just have to realize when to say no to a bad idea.
That’s what Israel and the United States need to realize about the plan to force thousands of Jews from their homes and businesses in the Gaza Strip next month.
As many as 100,000 Israelis have walked away from their families and jobs in the last few days to march to the Jewish community of Gush Katif in an attempt to save it from Israeli bulldozers.
The confrontation threatens to turn Israel upside down and draw the country into a civil war.
And it’s no wonder.
Jews who have any historical memory don’t like the idea of being told by anyone – not even the Israeli or U.S. government – that they can’t live in certain places because they are Jews.
And make no mistake about it, that is the only reason the Jews of Gush Katif and other communities in Gaza and the West Bank are being forced out – because they are Jews.
Imagine this happening in any other part of the world. Imagine any other religious or ethnic group being told they have to abandon their homes and businesses because a budding new government has no use for them. Imagine any other peaceful group of people being forced off their land because of appeasement to a terrorist enemy.
It is one of the most shocking developments in my lifetime. And I say this as an Arab-American Christian and former Middle East correspondent.
It is ethnic cleansing. It is racism. It is an invitation to another genocide.
There is no moral or legal justification for it.
Understand that these Jews took no one’s land. They developed an arid wasteland unused for decades and made the desert bloom. The community of Gush Katif is so successful, so prosperous, it produces some 70 percent of all the produce consumed in Israel. And it provides some of the only decent-paying jobs to Arabs in Gaza besides the high-turnover positions of suicide bombers.
Symbolically, separated by several thousand miles, I stand with the Jewish marchers on Gush Katif today. They are heroes. I wish I could be with them – even as much of the world ignores their righteous cause and the plight of the residents of Gush Katif and other Jewish communities marked for destruction.
Not only is this “disengagement plan” a disaster for the good people of Gush Katif, it is a disaster for the plight of peace and freedom in the Middle East and throughout the world.
Appeasement never works. Unilateral withdrawals in the face of terrorist aggression are a recipe for more terrorist aggression. Israel should have learned this lesson from its previous evacuation of military forces in southern Lebanon. It was seen by the terrorists as a military victory – not as it was intended, a goodwill gesture by civilized people.
The choice facing Israel is clear today. If it wants to shatter its own national cohesion and rip its civil society apart – Jew against Jew, civilian against military – continue with plans to destroy Gush Katif. If it wants to exchange terrorist rocket attacks on an outpost in Gaza for terrorist rocket attacks on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, continue with plans to destroy Gush Katif. If it wants to hand the fanatical, murdering Islamic terrorists a victory, continue with plans to destroy Gush Katif.
However, if Israel wants to respect the will of its own people – who are dead-set against this plan – it should call off the plans to evict Jews living peacefully on their own land in Gaza. If Israel wants to demonstrate to the world that Jews will not be pushed around by anyone any more, it should call off plans to evict Jews living peacefully on their own land in Gaza. If Israel wants to send a loud and meaningful signal to the entire world – a message of “Never again!” – it should call off plans to evict Jews living peacefully on their own land in Gaza.