Leaving Gaza
(Photo from the Ha’aretz article linked below).

Today at 7:00 AM, the last Israeli vehicle exited Gaza and the Israeli military and civilian presence in that part of the world is over.

As they departed, the Israelis had a tough decision to make regarding Gaza’s synagogues. Although the government had intended to raze them, challenges in the Supreme Court delayed the process. The Israelis quietly approached the PA to request that they take responsibility for preserving these sacred buildings, but the PA told the Israelis to not even bother with an official request, they would not protect anything.

As we know, in 1948, the Jordanians conquered what we now call East Jerusalem and promptly destroyed all of the synagogues and their contents. They also desecrated most of the visible Jewish graves and their gravestones. Therefore, few had any illusions about what would happen to the Gaza synagogues once Israel left. But Jewish authorities in Israel demanded that Israel not be the destroyer of these buildings. They claimed it would be a precedent and harmful to the Jewish people.

Ultimately, the Cabinet and Shaul Mofaz seemed to agree. They voted to leave the synagogues standing. The synagogues are already burning.

In my opinion, Israel did the right thing. It’s true they changed an earlier Cabinet decision at the last minute, something which is making Mazuz, Israel’s AG, unhappy. However, there is no reason for Israel to destroy places of worship just because the incoming Palestinian Authority doesn’t wish to respect these sites. It is to their discredit that they are destroying these buildings because they could have been a symbol for a return to peace and future talks. Instead, they are a symbol now for hatred and destruction.

Then again, if that’s the truth of the situation, why cover it up?

I’m not particularly happy to be out of Gaza, but I believe it was the right move. There is no question, however, that the real battle begins now. Gaza only had 8000 settlers, but 250,000 settlers live in the West Bank with over 50,000 living in areas to the East of the security barrier. So, The fight over the West Bank and which parts of it Israel will keep is just beginning. There are already international groups including several large Christian organizations that are pursuing a divestment strategy against Israel. In England, a couple of days ago, a retired IDF general who had been responsible for the Gaza strip at one point did not leave his El Al plane and returned to Israel because he learned he was going to be arrested with a charge of war crimes. The Europeans are telling the Israelis that the West Bank is next. Bush has told the Israelis that the Road Map is coming and parts of the West Bank will have to be relinquished. The Palestinian terror organizations will now begin to act more aggressively out of the West Bank, while continuing to shell from Gaza (IDF should have a standing order to randomly fire 5 missiles into Gaza for every one that is fired at Sderot or any Israeli community. Okay, maybe not).

But having said all that, this is a fresh new beginning where we won’t have Jewish Israelis with guns and armor managing the lives of others. That is a good thing.

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  • Just remember, one day the burning down will cease, and the rebuilding will begin.

    One love.
    One G-d.
    One future.

    May peace descend on us all.

  • TM: if the sky fell down, i suspect you’d find something positive to say. I simply don’t get you: I think you’re naive. Patience has its limits, taken too far it’s cowardice. Eye for an eye works just fine for me. Brotherhood can only be forged with the willing!

  • jmjinan, can you expand on what you’re saying? Are you saying I’m naive because I see a positive side to the disengagement from Gaza?

  • Middle: Do I read you correctly, that you think the Gaza pullout has a downside in hastening the day of partial withdrawal from the West Bank?

    Israel’s not somehow more vulnerable to international pressure post-Gaza. If anything, the opposite is true. Sharon (should he remain as PM) emerges as a much more prestigious figure internationally, and more credible, should he choose to resist further withdrawal.

    The pressure to withdraw (via the ‘road map,’ etc.) persists, Gaza or no Gaza. And now, the Palestinians have to show they can first bring order out of Hamas-style chaos in Gaza. Best of luck to ’em.

    As for the Methodists et al., they march to the beat of their own drummer. (See, the Reformation WAS a mistake.)

    One can confidently predict that disengagement well serves Israel’s short- and long-term interests.

  • “what we now call East Jerusalem”

    What you mean “we”, white man?

    There is no such place as “East Jerusalem”. Only anti-Semites call the illegally-occupied, illegally-annexed and illegally-cut-off-from-the-rest-of-Jerusalem-after-all-of-the-Jews-were-killed-or-forced-out part of Jerusalem “East Jerusalem”.

    Stop perpetuating goyish lies on a Jewish site, Middle.

  • The day Arab terror beat the Jews, again.

    The former chief of staff stated this evening that until the disengagement, Israel’s policy was not to surrender to terror.


    Today, we are a humiliate nation. Middle, why would anyone want to make ‘peace’ with us? Enemies make peace when they realize that they realize they can’t beat each other or the price is too high.

    The Arabs, again, have seen that if they hit us, we’ll retreat pretty easily. There is absolutely no upside to this retreat. Even the miracle tsumani on Gaza prophecy does not console the entire Jewish people.

  • Tom, no I did not mean that it’s a downside, merely that it is the likely next step and will be much more challenging. Your Reformation joke is quite funny.

    Ephraim, while I agree with you about the use of the term “East Jerusalem,” there’s nothing I can do about the fact that it’s East Jerusalem.

    Josh, nobody expected peace to come from this disengagement. Everybody understands that Israel gave up an area in which they saw far smaller value – especially with respect to holy and historic sites – than the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. I think that while the international community expects there to be a lull for a while, most realists know that the Palestinians are going to prepare for a new offensive and will launch it soon. And yet, I believe we left a place that has hurt us more than helped. It is not our place to subjugate others, nor is it desirable from many different perspectives. I’d rather have an agile army outside the Gaza border ready to shoot into Gaza or re-enter in times of danger, than continue to clog that place with Israel’s fine young men learning to lord it over others.

    Others can perceive this as they wish. Israel left from a point of strength, not weakness. If all the naysayers are right, Israel can also always return.

  • It is NOT East Jerusalem, Middle. Just because the anti-Semites choose to say it is something it is not does not make it so.

    There is not now, nor has there ever been, a city called East Jerusalem. By using this terminology, you are legitimizing the illegal Jordanian occupation and the illegal division of the city.

    Why do you always adopt the goyish viewpoint on these things and allow the enemy to determine the ground on which you choose to fight?

  • Muffti has no view really on this, but isn’t ‘East Jerusalem’ a description rather than a name, like ‘East LA’?

  • Yeah, I always kind of figured that saying “East Jerusalem” implies no ideology, but rather refers to a geographical entity within Jerusalem that is distinct from West Jerusalem, as it is predominantly Arab. And is east of the center of the city. I mean, if instead of “East Jerusalem,” it was called “the eternal capital of the Palestinian people in its entirety thanks to the victorious Jordanian army al-hamdu lillah” I could see your point, but that doesn’t really roll of the tongue.

    Although maybe from now on I’ll refer to Harlem by its original Indian name. I’d hate to legitimize the illegal Dutch occupation and division of Manhattan island. That would be so goyish.

  • No. Those who refer to the part of Jerusalem that was illegaly occupied and annexed by the Jordainans as “East Jerusalem” as opposed to, say “eastern Jerusalem” are trying to implant in the public consiousness the idea that the eastern part of the city was, is, and should continue to be separate from the rest of the city. It is an attempt to normalize the Jordanian division of the city and lend credence to the view that Israel is illegally “occupying” it, all to make it seem “reasonable” that the Paleostinians are entitled to “East Jerusalem”, since the Jews, after all, have “West Jerusalem”. It is part of the ongoing attempt to redivide the city and once again make it impossible for Jews to have access to that part of Jerulsaem.

    I’m really beginning to lose some respect for you, O Most Sublime and Grandest Of All Grand Mufftis. Can you really be this dense?

  • Oh, right, “predominantly Arab”. You might ask the Jordanians how that came to be, Michael.

    I’m a little puzzled by your Manhattan reference. Are you implying that the Jews calling Jerusalem “Jerusalem” is somehow an attempt to eradicate the supposedly Arab character of the city the way the Dutch giving Harlem a Dutch name was an attempt to eradicate its originally Indian character of the place?

  • Well, uh, East Jerusalem was predominantly Arab before the Jordanians. The only significant Jewish community in Jerusalem before Montefiore encouraged the creation of West Jerusalem was in the Old City. Why pretend the Arabs don’t exist? I don’t know if you’ve ever walked around East Jerusalem, but trust me, it’s not exactly like Yemin Moshe or Rechavia over there.

    My Manhattan reference is more just implying that by refusing to acknowledge that East Jerusalem is somehow distinct from West Jerusalem, even if they’re part of the same city, would be ignoring current political realities, sort of like refusing to acknowledge that Harlem is no longer Indian country.

    Or, to put it another way, without resorting to Kahanist fantasy, what do you propose to do with Arab East Jerusalem and its several hundred thousand distinctly non-Jewish residents?

  • You are losing respect for the Grand Muffti for asking a question about a name?

  • I’ve never heard this point made before, Ephraim. East Jerusalem is East Jerusalem and does not refer to any form of Palestinian or Arab legitimacy. Rather, it reflects the physical division of the city in 1948.

    I’m also unsure as to the difference between Eastern Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, but that’s only because I’m dense and support the goyish viewpoint on the Oxford Dictionary.

  • There is no such place as Arab East Jerusalem, Michael. One neighborhood of Jerusalem has more Arabs than others. That does not make it a separate entity with its own special name.

    My “solution” is that the city stay whole and under Israeli jurisdiction. Although I would be very happy if all of the Arabs left, I have no Kahanist fantasy about driving them out. Taken as a whole, the population of Jerusalem is solidly majority Jewish and is likely to remain that way for the forseeable future. I see no particular problem with Arabs living in Jerusalem so long as they do not aid and abet terrorism.

    However, your talk about “political realities” makes me think that you favor the redivision of the city. Do you? If the presence of Arabs means that where they live should be severed from israel, you might as well sign away most of the Galil as well while you’re at it.

    No, Muffti, I’m surprised that someone as obviously intelligent as you seems not to see what is behind the peddling of “East Jerrusalem” as though it is a separate city.

  • Actually Michael, that is not correct. Jews had been the majority in the Old City since the early 1800s. In fact, it was the growth of their community that led them to build out to areas outside the Old City, beginning with Yemin Moshe and slowly gravitating outward to what became West Jerusalem. The Old City also has an Armenian population, don’t forget. By 1948, the Old City and its environs became predominantly Arab because it became both dangerous and impractical for those Jews who had the ability to leave to do so.

    That’s one of the ironies of the conflict and the complaint about Israel removing local Arabs from its communities. The Arabs were doing it as well – and in fact had started much earlier.

  • Ephraim, there may be a Jewish majority, but there may not be a Zionist majority. It would be far better if they allowed the security barrier to circumvent certain pockets of Palestinians.

  • That’s right, Middle, it reflects the ILLEGAL division of the city. By using that name, the ILLEGAL division is justified. That is the entire purpose of calling it “East Jerusalem”, which is a proper name, as opposed to “eastern Jerusalem”, which, since it is not capitalized, is simply a description of where that part of the city lies in relation to the rest of it.

    Do you honestly think I give a rat’s ass about what the Oxford dictionary says about Jerusalem? I ask you again: why do you let the goyim define the terms of the debate? Once you do that, you have already lost. They call it “East Jerusalem” because they believe it belongs to the Arabs by virtue of the ILLEGAL Jordanian occupation (which Britain accepted, although no one else did, except for Pakistan). By adopting their terminology, you are signalling that you agree with them.

  • Um, that was just a joke about the Oxford dictionary. I have no idea what they think of this matter and didn’t consult a dictionary before posting that little joke.

    I still don’t get where you come across this information about East Jerusalem being some sort of political construct intended to signal Palestinian control or right to that part of the city.


    I’ll tell you what, since I really don’t find this to be a critical issue, when I remember, I’ll call it eastern Jerusalem and when I don’t, I’ll probably call it East Jerusalem.

    Wow, am I hungry for some good hummous now.

  • Where do I come across this info, Middle?

    I put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4, that’s how. I didn’t look it up in the “Anti Semitism For Dummies” manual if that’s what you mean. I used my Yiddishe kop. You should try it sometime.

    It is the same rhetorical device as referring to Arafat as a “moderate” so as to contrast him with the supposed “extremists”. People who don’t think come to believe such things (“Well, I read it in the New York Times, so it must be true!”), and so the mass of ignorant people who see the term “Arab East Jerusalem” are naturally going to assume that there is a place named Arab East Jerusalem, just like the mdeia was able to create the entirely spurious image of Arafat as a “moderate” just by repeating it often enough. All you have to do is say it enough and people believe it, even if it is obviously untrue.

    This is a propaganda battle as much as it is anything else, and perception is absolutely key to winning it.

  • No, “East Jerusalem” is also prpaganda, for the reasons I have explained. Calling the eastern part of Jerusalem “eastern Jerusalem”, (WITHOUT a capital “E”) is just describing the location of part of the city.

  • Actually, Ephraim, I don’t want to split Jerusalem in half, I was just arguing that there’s no bias implied in calling East Jerusalem East Jerusalem. Also I like to argue. And I wasn’t sure if when you said you wanted a whole Jerusalem you weren’t entertaining unrealistic Joe Schmo-style wet dreams about expulsion and actually accepted the fact that Arabs live in Israel and may not be happy about leaving. So good, at least you’re not living in la-la land.

    TM, I wasn’t talking about the Old City. I was talking about the area east and north of the Old City now called East Jerusalem, which was predominantly Arab and remains predominantly Arab.

    Although I tend to agree with middle that certain parts of greater Jerusalem should be cordoned off and become part of the theoretical future Palestinian state. As long as the Old City and Mount of Olives and environs are under Israeli control, who really cares about holding on to totally Arab neighborhoods?

    Also, I don’t understand why you at the same time assert that it doesn’t matter what gentiles think and appeal to the illegality of Jordanian occupation by world (i.e. gentile) opinion. I mean, now most of the world thinks the occupation of the West Bank by Israel is illegal, but clearly you disagree. So stick with your guns. Either world opinion doesn’t matter, or it does.

  • Michael said: Although I tend to agree with middle that certain parts of greater Jerusalem should be cordoned off and become part of the theoretical future Palestinian state.

    Uh… I disagree. Where will we get good hummous? Fuck that. I’m for keeping all of Jerusalem.

  • C’mon Michael, think like a Jew: gentile opinion is right when it agrees with Jewish opinion, and wrong when it doesn’t. Simple as that.

    If Israel could keep the Old City and get rid of the Arabs by cordoning them off, fine, frankly. But we saw what happened when Israel threatened to “return” Umm el-Fahm to “Palestine”. The Paleostinians screamed bloody murder, even though no one was going to be moved anywhere; they were just going to redraw the border. But apparently being citizens of the Zionist hell is preferable to living in Hamasistan (although it was Fatahland at the time).

    Anyway, in the popular imagination “East Jerusalem” surely includes the Old City, so your personal definition of “East Jerusalem” is certainly not acceptable to the Arabs.

    In a reasonable world some divison like that could theoretically be workable: Israel keeps the important parts of Jerusalem (the Old City and all the parts where the Jews live) and the Arabs get the rest for the captial of their “state”. Honor is served, everybody is happy. If I believed that this could work, I would support it.

    Anyway, this is all idle speculation. Hamas is going to put paid to Abu Mazen and the PA in fairly short order, and so quibbling about the specific delineation of the eastern part of Jerusalem is a moot point.

  • Sorry, E, Muffti didn’t mean to be naive: he just wasn’t sure how the use of ‘east’ was intended in this case; as a geographical mark or as a political boundary (or both). Thanks for straightening him out; he’ll be less dense in the future.

  • Oh, yeah, I don’t mean that we should not care about what the goyim think. We have to, unfortunately. When I say don’t adopt the goyish definitions of things, what I mean is one should challenge their definitions when they are wrong and do one’s best to disabuse them of mistsaken notions when it comes to Jewish things (e.g. “the vengeful Jewish G-d of the Old Testament”). This includes the notion of a separate Arab city called “Easst Jerusalem”, since while some people’s definitions of this place may not include the Old City, for almost everyone the common understanding of “East Jerusalem” is that it is whatever Israel conquered in ’67.

  • ck, you could always go to Abu Ghosh or even that Taami place off Ben-Yehuda you got so excited about.

    Ephraim, maybe you’re right. I suppose we’ll all see soon enough.

  • All Im going to say is that Tm you are a naive fool who never ceases to amaze me with foolishness:

    TM: “…..But having said all that, this is a fresh new beginning where we won’t have Jewish Israelis with guns and armor managing the lives of others. That is a good thing.”

    –Isn’t that unbeleivable that after giving all the arguments for how now the arabs are attacking more and want more and other reasons that explain that them taking gaza is terrible
    -after all that you just toss teh clear implications in the garbage and say “but after having said all that…” !!!!

    jminan, alexbn and of course Ephraim and the other sane ones- read carefully what people like TM write. All of them the mainstream Jewish organizations: AZM, Bnai Brith, ADL…
    With them as with TM all logic goes out the window- they first give all the arguments against their own position and with no brains whatsoever conclude the opposite.

    Join thoise who think and conclude accordingly (according to thought not emotion)-
    read “they must go” by Rabbi Meir Kahane
    -Yes the same kahane who was banned from running in the Knesset, after already having a seat, by similar scared illogical people like TM.

    Truth and honesty not falsehood as espoused by TM and Co. That includes being honest and truthful with yourself.
    All else is irrelevant.

    The seal of G-d is truth.

  • The seal of God is truth, the seal of Joe Schmo is repeating himself ad nauseum.

    Joe, why don’t you put your money where your never-closed mouth is and live the Kahanist dream and move out to a heavily-armed caravan in the middle of West Bank? Preferably one without Internet access. I promise, there you can have all the wet dreams about your beloved Kahane you want and nobody will bother you with such pesky annoyances such as rational thought.

    Do it for the team, Joe!

  • Joe, there are things that make sense and things that don’t. We know the enemy and we know what they’ll do. We are stronger without this area and its few resources and few Jewish civilians to protect. There would have been no end to this situation and while that suits your purposes, it doesn’t suit Israel’s.

  • TM,
    Then you should have left out all your arguments before the words “But having said all that …”
    because every single statement you said before that proved opposite of what your conclusion was.

    Furthermore now you call them an enemy whom ‘we know what they will do’ but above in this quote: “…where we won’t have Jewish Israelis with guns and armor managing the lives of others. That is a good thing.” you imply they are innocent people we are ‘controling.’

    Which one is it TM? Why are you singing two different tunes?

  • Because, Schmo, the world is full of shades of gray and not everything is black and white. In addition, my little Kahanist, we have to accept that we have to be a moral and just people because our faith demands it and our history demands it.

    Who the hell are we to make another nation suffer?! What gives us the right? No matter how enlightened we try to be, an occupying army is an occupying army and one cannot simply remove a couple of million people to another place.

    We are in a position to make decisions that will lead to a safer country and a more moral one, and those are the decisions that need to be made. Of course, security needs to be maintained in every respect and is the greater priority. However, in the view of many including me, leaving Gaza enhances security. And morality.

  • In that case you deserve what you espouse.

    Those like you who espouse being merciful to the cruel and wicked are the cause of the suffering of the merciful and innocent.

    Those who have mercy on the cruel and cause the merciful to suffer they and not the innocent should suffer from the cruel.

    What you espouse and cause on your own head.

  • Um, Schmo, not all Palestinians are wicked and cruel. Not all Jews or Israelis are merciful and innocent.

    Shades of gray.

  • Why do you constantly personalize things, TM? Nobody is talking about individual Arabs and individual Jews. We are talking about the character of the two nations as a whole as they are revealed in the policies of their respective governments and the structure of their respective societies.

    Once this is looked at dispassionately, there is only one possible conclusion: the Arabs, as a collective, are backwards, primitive, dictatorial, hard, merciless, and cruel, and their societies reflect this. There is not a single Arab country where there is any freedom of religion, freedom of assembly or the press, equality of the sexes, or anything whatsoever that corresponds to what we Westerners hold to be the basic funadental elements of a just and equitable society. This is not an opinion, it is a documentable fact. Compared to the cesspool that is Paleostinian society, Israel, for all of its faults, is like Gan Eden.

    Take one look at “Palestine”. It is hell on earth, and I submit that it has NOTHING to do with the “occupation”. Ever since Oslo, more than 90% of the Paleostinians have free of the “occupation” and generously provided with all of the resources necessary to begin building a functioning society. We all know what happened.

    The people who run “Palestine” may be the natural expression of the will of the Paleostinian people, or they could be extremists who have hijacked the society. Either way, they are running the show. If it is the former, no peace will be possible, and we are in just one small lull before the fighting really begins. If it is the latter, then why do not the “majority of peace-loving Paleostinians” plead with the UN, the “world community” or even (Heaven forfend!) the Jews to help rid them of this plague that has infected an otherwise cuddly and lovable nation? Some may say that the silent majority is afraid of the thugs. I can understand why people want to believe this: the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. But, again, study after study has shown that Paleostinian society is rotten with anti-Semitism and primitive blood lust and that the “institutions” of the Paleostinians reflect accurately their “national” character.

    The withdrawal from Gaza only makes sense if it frees up needed resources and gives Israel a freer hand to crush the terrorists. Otherwise it will prove to be a disaster.

    Personally, I think we are seeing the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart being played out right before our eyes. The Paleostinians just can’t seem to help themselves. Another war is inevitable. As always, Israel will do its best to maintain its morality in the face of the most implacable and savage hatred. But no matter what it does, no matter how many people it may have to kill to defend itself, it will never sink to the level of its enemies.

    Why? No one can sink that low, unless Hitler were to come back from the dead.

  • Oh, right, Muffti:

    It’s just the difference between “East” and “east”. I realize that many people use “East Jerusalem” as just a descriptor for the eastern part of the city and don’t mean anything political by it. But many do, especially those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s presence there, so I just thought I would point that out.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a pet peeve of mine. So sue me.

  • I admire your positive stance but im a bit cynical. When will you ever give enough. These people will never stop! give them the west bank they’ll want Jerusalem. Give them that they’ll want the whole of Israel. It will never end, best not to begin.