U.S.Joint Chiefs of Staff Gaza is crucial
to Israel's security
On June 19, 1967, in the wake of the Six Day
War, the U.S. Secretary of Defense instructed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to
present their "views, without regard to political factors, on the minimum
territory" that Israel would be "justified'' in retaining in order to permit
a more effective defense against possible conventional Arab attack and terrorist
Ten days later, the Joint Chiefs presented a
report which concluded that Israel needed to retain substantial portions
of the Golan Heights, and Judea-Samaria, and all of
Gaza. With regard to Gaza, the Joint Chiefs wrote:
"By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade
approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured
as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion
and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel' s military
Throughout history, foreign armies have used
Gaza as a springboard for invading the Land of Israel, from Pharoah Sethos
I in the 13th century BCE, to Napoleon in 1799.
In 1948, Egypt used Gaza as its route to invade
the newborn State of Israel. Advancing through Gaza, the Egyptians
approached the outskirts of Yavneh, just fifteen miles from Tel
Aviv. Several Jewish towns in Gaza, including Nitzanim and Kfar
Darom, were destroyed by the Egyptians and not rebuilt until after Israel
recaptured the area in 1967.
What prominent Israelis have said about
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in 2002: "Netzarim
[a Jewish town in Gaza] is the same as Negba and Tel Aviv; evacuating Netzarim
will only encourage terrorism and increase the pressure upon us." (Arutz-7,
Nov. 25, 2003)
Then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said in 1988:
"To just get up and leave Gaza would be a mistake and a scandal.
It would create a chaotic situation, a situation like Lebanon; I don't suggest
we take such a step." (Israel Army Radio's "Good Evening, Israel" program,
March 22, 1988)
Yitzhak Rabin's Minister of Housing and
Construction, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, said in 1993: "I wish I could
believe that pulling out of Gaza would solve the problems. But
this won't solve anything and is only running away from the problem which
we have to face." (Jerusalem Post, March 9, 1993)
In 1971, Yisrael Galili, a minister in the
cabinet of Golda Meir's Labor Party government, said that Gaza was "critical
for Israel's security and could never be given up." The Labor
government began building fourteen Jewish communities in Gaza. (Jerusalem
Report, July 14, 2003)
The Jewish presence in Gaza dates back to
Gaza has been a part of the Land of Israel since
biblical times. The borders of Israel specified in Genesis 15 clearly
include Gaza, and it is described in Joshua 15:47 and Judges 1:18 as part
of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, and in Kings it is included in
the areas ruled by King Solomon.
The area came under foreign occupation during
some periods, but the Jewish king Yochanan, brother of Judah the Maccabee,
recaptured Gaza in 145 CE and sent Jews to rebuild the community there.
Throughout the centuries, there was a large
Jewish presence in Gaza--in fact, it was the largest Jewish community in
the country at the time of the Muslim invasion (7th century CE).
Medieval Christian visitors to the region mentioned the presence of the Jewish
community in Gaza--including Giorgio Gucci of Florence (1384), Bertandon
de la Brooquiere (1432), Felix Fabri (1483), and George Sandys
(1611). So did Jewish travelers, such as Benjamin of Tudela and
Meshullam of Voltera (1481).
The medieval Jewish communities of Gaza included
many famous rabbinical authorities, among them Rabbi Yisrael Najara, author
of the 16th-century hymn Kah Ribbon Olam, which to this day is sung at Shabbat
tables throughout the Jewish world, and the kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Azoulai,
author of the famous book Hessed L'Avraham.
Writing about the question of whether or not
there living in Gaza fulfills the biblical requirement [mitzvah] to live
in the Land of Israel, the famous sage Rabbi Yaakov Emden, in his book Mor
Uketziya, wrote: "Gaza and its environs are absolutely considered part
of the Land of Israel, without a doubt. There is no doubt that
it is a mitzvah to live there, as in any part of the Land of Israel."
The Jews of Gaza were forced to leave the area
when Napoleon's army marched through in 1799, but they later
returned. The Jewish community in Gaza was destroyed during the
British bombardment in 1917, but later it was rebuilt again.
When Palestinian Arab threatened to slaughter the Jews of Gaza during the
1929 pogroms, the British ruling authorities forced the Jews to leave. But
in 1946, the Jews returned, establishing the town of Kfar Darom in the Gaza
Strip, which lasted until 1948, when Egypt occupied the area.
Rewarding terrorists is wrong--and
During the past three years, Palestinian Arab
terrorists have carried out tens of thousands of terrorist attacks against
Israel, murdering nearly 1,000 Israelis and maiming many
more. The terrorists demand, among other things, that Israel
withdraw from Gaza and expel the Jewish residents.
Terrorists, like all criminals, deserve to be
punished for the crimes, not rewarded. For Israel to withdraw
from Gaza and expel the Jewish residents would be to reward the
terrorists. It would also encourage more terrorism, by demonstrating
to the terrorists that additional violence may bring about additional Israeli
An Israeli withdrawal means creating a terrorist
state in Gaza:
The Palestinian Authority regime currently
administers parts of Gaza but does has not have sovereignty, because of the
presence of the Israeli Army. The PA does not control the borders,
does not control sea access to Gaza, and does not have a full-fledged
army. If Israel withdraws from the area, the PA will be able
to establish a sovereign state.
Such a state would certainly be a terrorist
state, to judge by how the PA has treated terrorists until now.
It has not disarmed or outlawed terrorist groups; it has not shut down their
bomb factories; it has not closed down the terrorists' training
camps. It has rewarded with terrorists with jobs in the PA police
force. In short, the PA has actively collaborated with and sheltered
the terrorists. Moreover, the PA itself has sponsored thousands
of terrorist attacks against Israel.
The PA has also created an entire culture of
glorification of terrorism and anti-Jewish hatred in its official media,
schools, summer camps, sermons by PA-appointed clergy, and speeches by PA
representatives. PA school textbooks teach that Jews are "evil
Creating a Palestinian Arab state in Gaza
would not lead to peace:
Establishing a state in Gaza would not satisfy
the Palestinian Arabs' goals. The aim of a Palestinian Arab state would
not be to live in peace next to Israel, but to serve as a spring board for
terrorism and invasions aimed at annihilating the Jewish State.
The PA makes no secret of its goal; the official maps on PA letterhead, in
PA schoolbooks and atlases, and even on the patch worn on the uniforms of
PA policemen show all of Israel --not just the disputed territories-- labeled
A Palestinian Arab state in Gaza would be
an anti-American dictatorship:
The last thing the world needs now is
yet another totalitarian, anti-American terrorist state. Yet
that is exactly what a Palestinian Arab state in Gaza would be, to judge
by the behavior of the PA during the ten years since it was
created. The PA is a brutal Muslim dictatorship which tortures
dissidents, silences newspaper that deviate from the PA line, and persecutes
Christians. The official PA media actively incite hatred against America,
and the PA maintains warm relations with the most anti-American regimes in
the world, including Iran, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea.