For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Avi Tarengo/Translation Elad Benari ShalomLife.com 19 January '10
Amnesty International has called on Israel to end “the siege on the Gaza Strip”. The problem with this is that one word, “Egypt”, is missing. According to Amnesty, the Gaza Strip has no opening to the world other than the border with Israel. The timing of the campaign is not coincidental: “The Mubarak Line” which is being established on the Egypt-Gaza Strip border is an excellent opportunity to place responsibilities towards the civilian population of Gaza on Israel’s shoulders.
Does Israel have any policy regarding the Gaza Strip? Meaningful policy is supposed to take into account Israel's long-term interests, including its perception by the world. Five years ago, Israel vacated its citizens and army and left Gazans a well-developed economical and agricultural infrastructure. Since the disengagement, Israeli “policy” towards the Gaza Strip has been outlined by a series of symbolic and random decisions, most of them contradicting one another. The indecision regarding Israel’s position in the Gaza Strip can be expressed by the lack of an answer to this simple question: Is Israel still the “occupying force” in the Gaza Strip? The lack of a clear policy is what allowed Judge Goldstone to place the responsibility on Israel as the “occupying force” which is supposed to take care of all the needs of the Strip’s residents.
Unlike Israel, Egypt administrates a clear policy, which slowly but consistently advances Egypt towards achieving its goals. “The Mubarak Line” is not meant to serve Israel’s interests nor is it meant to stop the smuggling of rockets to the Gaza Strip, as Egyptian ambassador Al Hadidi explained so well to the Turks (who complained of the difficulties in transferring aid to the Gaza Strip through Egypt): “Our goal is to prevent the detachment of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The Gaza Strip must remain under the status of Territory considered occupied by Israel, and the humanitarian aid must come from there - not from Egypt. Recognizing Gaza as an independent entity will damage Palestinian unity and will harm the Palestinians’ cause – remove it from the world’s agenda.”
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"