In forcibly removing thousands of Jews from their homes and businesses in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came up with yet another justification for this illegal, immoral and strategically illogical move.

In a televised speech this week on the eve of the unilateral surrender of Jewish communities to terrorists, Sharon praised Gaza’s settlers as “pioneers,” but insisted that it is time for Israel to leave the area after 38 years.

“We cannot hold Gaza for good,” he said. “More than a million Palestinians live there, doubling their numbers every generation.”

Now that may sound like sensible pragmatism. Jews are outnumbered and the demographics are getting worse.

But, in reality, it makes no sense. It is nothing more than excuse-making for irresponsible, shortsighted and outrageous actions.

If this is strictly a numbers game, Israel ought to consider packing up and leaving the Middle East altogether right now. Because the fact of the matter is that Jews are vastly outnumbered in their neighborhood. Period. End of story. There are 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and fewer than 5 million Jews.

When Israelis allow themselves to be chased out of Gaza because they are outnumbered, they are inviting further retreats and a feeling of inevitability among Muslim Arabs that all the Jews can be eliminated from the region.

Gush Katif, the block of Jewish settlements on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, are separated by miles from the Arab population centers in Gaza. In fact, the distance between the Arab population center in Gaza City and Gush Katif is greater than the distance between Gaza and the Jewish community in Ashkelon. Wouldn’t the same psychology dictate a strategic withdrawal from Ashkelon?

Even more to the point – and maybe this will hit home with Sharon – Gush Katif is further from Gaza than the prime minister’s private ranch. Why haven’t we heard of any plans by Sharon to turn over his private ranch to the Arabs?

No, the very fact that Jews are so outnumbered in the Middle East is a reason not to turn over any more Jewish lands and properties. It’s a slow-death strategy.

Think about it. The Arab population within Israel is growing, too. Will Israel continue to turn over increasingly Arab communities within the country to the new Palestinian state?

And why is this population transfer a one-way deal? Why is it that Arab minorities among Jewish majorities are not relocated?

Very simple. The Jews have always believed they could get along with Arab neighbors. Unfortunately, that attitude is not shared by the so-called “Palestinians,” who say no Jews will be allowed to live within their new state.

One must also view this “disengagement” in the context of history. The Israeli Defense Forces disengaged from more than 90 percent of the Gaza Strip over a decade ago, leaving these Arab areas entirely under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. In other words, the “disengagement” happened a long time ago. The forcible relocation of peaceful, civilian Jews from their property in Gaza has nothing to do with “disengagement.” The very term is deceptive.

It is, instead, just as Hamas views it, an unconditional surrender of Jewish land to Islamic terrorists. It is a reward for 10 years of continued terrorism – suicide attacks, mortar barrages, rocket launches, shootings.

Make no mistake about it. The Israeli government is providing new incentives for terrorism with the withdrawal from Gaza and other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Further, there is historical and biblical significance to this withdrawal. Some have argued wrongly that Gaza was never part of the historical land of Israel. In fact, Gaza is mentioned in the Bible more than 20 times. The land was granted as an inheritance to the tribe of Judah. Samson destroyed the pagan temple in Gaza.

If the Jews say they have no historical deed in Gaza, it’s tough to make a case they have a history anywhere else in the Middle East.
Any way you look at it – politically, pragmatically, historically, strategically, militarily, biblically – Ariel Sharon’s decision to evacuate Gaza simply makes no sense.

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