Jack EngelhardJack Engelhard’s classic international bestselling novel Indecent Proposal, which later became a worldwide hit movie, has been republished to meet readers’ demands. His other major works include Compulsive: A Novel, his award-winning post-Holocaust Montreal memoir Escape from Mount Moriah, plus Slot Attendant: A Novel About A Novelist. His website: www.jackengelhard.com
I was watching the BBC. On came a former Israeli ambassador to explain Israel’s military action in Gaza, the place Hamas turned into Terrorist Central.
This ambassador who used to be so good came weak and unprepared. So I won’t mention his name. He failed. He made no case for Israel. He made the case for the BBC.
As he sat there mostly dazed for half an hour, I found myself hollering, “Why don’t you simply tell how it all began? That is the crux of it all.”
That is the crux of the war taking place this very moment.
For in the beginning Gaza was not Hamas. In the beginning Gaza was Israel…and it was rich. In Gaza’s Gush Katif some 200 farms in 17 Biblically religious communities produced cutting edge organic agriculture serving nearly a third of Israel. Some 9,000 Israeli inhabitants employing about 4,000 Arabs served even Europe’s grocery needs. Everybody prospered from export revenues that totaled some $200 million annually.
One day – kaput.
One day Israel’s hawk woke up a dove. The lion woke up to find himself a mouse. Kafka already wrote how this can happen, and it happened to Ariel Sharon, Israel’s prime minister along 2004-2005. The mystery persists – how the man whose strong hand in favor of expanded settlements suddenly went limp.
Sharon came to power a friend of Israel’s Middle and Israel’s Right, accounting for the vast majority of the Jewish State. He was scorned by the Left, which took him to be far too hawkish. For a time, this was true. Then after a time, something happened, something snapped. Sharon became obsessed.
He became obsessed with the task of diminishing Israel one step at a time. He became obsessed with Gaza’s Gush Katif. He wanted it gone from Jewish hands.
At first he tried some gentle persuasion to bring Israel around to his side. The Left now embraced him and quickly fell in. Yes, Jewish Gaza must go.
The Left had turned him around. The Left could always be counted to be more merciful than God.
They kept urging Sharon to act. There was no time to waste. Peace was at hand.
Sharon made the pitch, but the rest of Israel was not buying. So he found his inner bulldog and went rogue. He turned Israel into a one-man tyranny. His new friends on the Left could come and go as they pleased, say as they pleased, but no such luck for the rest of the people.
Sharon clamped down on all whispers of dissent. Anyone who disagreed with his Gaza Withdrawal Plan was considered a traitor and harassed accordingly. He replaced his Cabinet as often as it would take to find agreeable votes. Public protests were met with force. The news media – newspapers, radio, television – were warned to play along – or else. Most did.
Some did so out of fear. But most, being mostly Left Wing, agreed that vacating Gaza was a wonderful idea. Peace was surely at hand.
Then it happened. One day the trucks arrived. The Jews of Gaza were ordered to pack up and leave, leave behind their homes, their schools, their synagogues, their businesses, their graves, but to take with them their shirts on their backs. So virtually overnight, a night of August 2005, Gaza was cleansed of Jews by a Jewish government.
Merciful American Jewish philanthropists saw that these people needed help. No, not the homeless Israelis. Yes, millions of Jewish dollars went to the Arabs to build.
Surely they would build justice, freedom, peace, stability and democracy.
Arabs under the rule of the Palestinian Authority immediately moved in and immediately rioted, shot rifles in the air, and tore everything down – beautiful homes left behind, schools, libraries, industrial buildings, all were smashed and even the greenhouses were torched. They built smoldering hatred and resentment.
Some two years later Hamas gained control of Gaza. Hamas quickly established itself in the import business. They imported rocket pads, rocket launchers and a million rockets, which they began firing at Israel. Non-stop. They built tunnels to import more weapons, which they used against Israel, and when Israel fired back, Hamas used children as human shields.
What grievance could they have? Gaza was theirs?
Don’t ask me. Ask the Left. They started this war.
Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. New from the novelist, the anti-BDS thriller Compulsive. Website: www.jackengelhard.com