The Gaza Strip Blunder
What is motivating Israel?
by Dr. David R. Reagan
"We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state."
— Yasser Arafat on Palestine Radio in November 1995
"We won't rest until we have Tel Aviv, Haifa, and all of Palestine, and the Jews are back in Poland."
— Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority
"We do not and will not recognize a state called Israel... This land is the property of all Muslims in all parts of the world... Let Israel die!"
— Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior Hamas leader
When the Arabs make their intentions regarding Israel so clear, why is it that Israeli leaders continue to believe that they can trade land for peace?
I believe there are three reasons. The first relates to the philosophical nature of the Israeli leadership. There has been only one Prime Minister of Israel who was a true believer in God. That was Menachem Begin. He was an Orthodox, observant Jew. The rest of Israel's leaders, including the current prime minister, Ariel Sharon, have been either atheists or agnostics.
Accordingly, they have all had a Humanist worldview, and the essence of that viewpoint is a conviction that people are basically good. The Bible, of course, says otherwise. God's Word teaches that people are born with the flawed sin nature of Adam and that they are, therefore, basically evil. The prophet Jeremiah put it this way: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
Humanists believe that they can charm and placate their enemies by being nice to them. Such behavior is sometimes effective when the enemy wants something other than your life. But when the enemy's purpose is to destroy you, he is not going to be deterred by acts of loving kindness. That's hard for a Humanist to believe.
Thus, the Humanist leaders of Israel — people like Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres — have deceived themselves into believing that if they give in to Arab territorial demands, the Arabs will respond by giving in to Israel's demands for recognition and peace. Self-deception is the worst form of deception.
Desire for Acceptance
A second factor that motivates Israel's suicidal behavior is a deep-seated desire for world acceptance. This is nothing new. In 1 Samuel 8 we are informed that the Israelites told Samuel that they wanted to replace God with a man as king of their nation. When he asked why, they replied "so that we may be like all the other nations" (1 Samuel 8:20).
In the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, the lead character, a Jewish man in Russia, keeps asking God, "Why did you have to chose us? Why not someone else?" He proceeds to bemoan the fact that they are required to dress and eat differently from the people around them. He keeps asking, "Why can't we just be like everyone else?"
The bottom line is that the Jews have always been uncomfortable as God's Chosen People, serving as a witness of Him to the nations (Isaiah 43:10-12).
Israel's leaders today are convinced that if they will cave in to the demands of the European Union and the United Nations, they will gain international acceptance. Once again, they are deceived, for the truth is that regardless of what they agree to do, they will never be accepted.
Despite the horrors of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust, Israel's leaders continue to believe that one day they will gain international acceptance and approval. Their Humanist mindset prevents them from accepting the truth that anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in the human soul because it is a supernatural phenomenon.
There are people all over this world who hate Jews despite the fact that they have never even met one! That's because Satan has placed anti-Semitism in their hearts. Satan does that because he hates the Jews with a passion. His hatred is motivated by the fact that the Jews are God's Chosen People who gave the world the Bible and the Messiah. Furthermore, God has promised that one day He will bring a great remnant of the Jews to salvation through faith in Jesus. Satan does not want to see this promise fulfilled, and that is the reason he is determined to annihilate the Jews from the earth.
The third crucial factor that is shaping Israeli behavior is political pressure from the United States. We have been the only friend that Israel could count on since the state was established in 1948. We have voted to protect them from UN sanctions, and we have supplied them with billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid. Our friendship has put us in a position to apply great pressure.
That pressure began in earnest during the administration of the first President Bush. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90's, Israel was flooded with Jewish refugees. Two to three thousand arrived in Israel every day for a year! In fact, in one year's time, Israel absorbed a population equivalent to the U.S. absorbing the entire population of France.
Needless to say, since Israel is one of the world's smallest countries, the nation was literally overwhelmed by the flood of refugees. The Israeli leaders turned to the World Bank seeking a loan of $5 billion. The World Bank said they would provide the loan only if the United States would guarantee it. The Bush Administration responded by laying down the gauntlet to Israel: to get the loan, you must start trading land for peace.
Our nation was the one that literally forced Israel to the negotiating table. We are the ones responsible for imposing upon them the suicidal policy of appeasement. And we are the ones who have continued to demand that they give away their heartland in return for a vague and empty promise of "peace." The explanation of our hardball tactics is simple: we are driven by our desire to protect our access to Arab oil.
Even as the settlers were being dragged out of their homes and synagogues in the Gaza Strip, our Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was demanding more of Israel: "Everyone empathizes with what the Israelis are facing... but it cannot be Gaza only." Rice demanded that Israel quickly follow up the "disengagement" with further gestures to the Palestinians. Incredibly, even as Rice insisted that Israel take dangerous risks with its security, she acknowledged that terror groups such as Hamas were actively preparing to launch a fresh wave of terror from Judea and Samaria.
History has proved that a policy of appeasement never produces peace. All it does is whet the appetite of the aggressor. And so it will be in the Middle East. Israel had hardly withdrawn from Gaza before rockets started falling on Israeli farms in the Negev.
The Bible says that when history is over and done with, the Jewish people will look back and declare that God's greatest miracle in their history was not their deliverance from Egyptian captivity, but their re-gathering from the four corners of the earth (Jeremiah 16:14-15). That's why what is happening in the Middle East today is so important.
God has not restored the Jews to their land for them to turn around and give their land to their enemies. Anyone who puts pressure on Israel to surrender a portion of their land or their capital city is going to suffer judgments of God. The same is true of any Israeli leader who gives in to international pressure.
A great war is coming over the issue of who will control Jerusalem. Painful days lie ahead for Israel, but the outcome of it all will be the salvation of a great remnant, to the everlasting glory of God (Zechariah. 12:10 & Romans 9:27, 11:25-26).
Prophecy Teachers Comment on Gaza
Gary Frazier of Discovery Ministries in Arlington, Texas
I sat and watched in shock and disbelief as the Israeli Military began removing residents from their homes in Gaza. I never really believed Prime Minister Sharon would actually go through with this insane plan, and yet there it was! President Bush continues to press for a two state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem with the support of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. What are they thinking by putting unbearable pressure upon Israeli leadership to give away God's covenant land? The Palestinians read this pullout as a victory for terrorism and have so stated. Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar said the pullout from Gaza signifies the "collapse of Zionism." We keep forcing the giving away of land and the Palestinians keep taking Israel piece by piece without ever making a single concession in the interest of peace. When are we going to take the Palestinians at their word? Not their word regarding peace, but their true word as stated by Zahar, "We do not recognize the State of Israel nor its right to control any of the land of Palestine. Palestine is a holy Islamic land..." They want it all, and all means Jerusalem and the extermination of every Jew. God help us for being ignorant of His word!
Gary Fisher of Lion of Judah Ministries in Franklin, Tennessee
God's wrath is provoked by "dividing up His land" (see Joel 3:2). When we started insisting on the division of God's land, we started experiencing wave after wave of natural and other disasters, some allowed by God, and others brought on directly by Him. When disaster strikes, we are mournful for a short time (such as after September 11, 2001), then we return to the same life styles as before. We need a lasting national repentance and revival! Amos, chapter four, makes it very clear that God uses disasters to call the people back to Him. Amos also makes it clear that eventually, God will withdraw. God is speaking! God is calling us back to Him just as he did in the days of Amos. Why not turn back to Him and experience His favor instead of these disastrous alternatives?
Don McGee of Crown & Sickle Ministries in Amite, Louisiana
Ariel Sharon is desperate in wanting the world to see Israel as taking the moral high ground in the war against the Muslim terrorists, and he believes that giving away more Jewish land to their sworn enemies will help do that. He also believes that "consolidating Israel" will put their country into a better defensive position. He is wrong. Never has the giving away of Jewish land to Arabs resulted in either. No matter how much of her own land Israel gives to her enemies, and no matter how much Jewish blood soaks into the sand of their country, the world will never recognize Israel as taking the moral high ground in any matter, and especially in her struggle against the Arabs. Furthermore, never has such action resulted in the Arabs dropping their often repeated goal of the total annihilation of Israel.
Al Gist of Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries in Longville, Louisiana
Even though I cried over the forced evacuation of the Jewish people from Gaza, I am now really laughing! That's because I believe this tragic event will become the "Jewish Alamo." It will become the rallying cry for conservative Jews who will now take an even stronger stance against the incursion of the Arabs. On the other hand, the Palestinian terrorists will hail this as a great victory in their struggle against Zionism. Thus, it will become gasoline poured on the fire of terrorism. The outcome is obvious — an intensification of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the very opposite effect of what the Quartet thinks it is going to have. And although I don't want to see more terrorism and fighting in Israel, I know that it is just setting the stage for the "man of sin" to be revealed who will come with great diplomatic persuasion to resolve this seemingly unresolvable conflict, causing him to be praised as a great peace maker. And that means that Jesus is coming soon for His people!
Don Perkins of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California
As I witnessed the Gaza pullout, I began to weep in my heart for the families that lost their homes and livelihoods. I then immediately began to pray for America, because I knew that we were part of the Quartet that orchestrated this "land for peace program." My concern was for the coming judgment I felt would befall America for forcing Israel into a deal like this. The Scriptures warn against Man's efforts to try to force a settlement on that region (Zechariah 12:2-3). I began to cry out to God for mercy on America for our part in this, and then as I dreaded, the unfortunate consequences of our meddling, in the form of hurricane Katrina, hit America's Gulf Coast. I was amazed at the similarities in the devastation that fell on both groups of people. It was like I was watching the Gaza pull out all over again, but this time it was on American soil.