The death of the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, brings to mind the most stirring episodes of the history of the modern state of Israel.

Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, wounded in the battle for the Old City in Jerusalem, was the last Jewish civilian who left the Old City as it fell, carried on a stretcher into captivity…And Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, who served as the deputy Mayor of Jerusalem in 1967, was given the honor of being the first civilian allowed to enter the Old City in Jerusalem at the time of its liberation during the six day war.

Yet there was yet another mission of this Rabbi to Jerusalem which went little reported.

In August, 2005, Rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen traveled to Jerusalem to make a last minute plea with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to reconsider his plan to retreat from Gush Katif, which involved Israel’s obliteration of the 21 Jewish communities , including 325 thriving Jewish farms and 86 synagogues and Jewish study centers. Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen told me at the time that the chemistry remained between him and Sharon had lasted since his days of captivity after the 1948 war and that Rav She’ar-Yashuv was the only Rabbi whom was ready to speak with him at the time.

Sharon gave a clear answer to Rabbi Cohen: “This is what the US is demanding that I do and I must do it.”

It does not matter that half of the 9,000 Jews who lived in Gush Katif had nowhere to go, and that their relocation plans still left up in the air.

It did  not matter that the Israeli government could not offer more than two containers to each family to help them remove their possessions.

It did not seem to matter that the experts in Israel’s security establishment correctly  warned that the result of Israel’s  retreat will be the creation of a lethal Islamic terror base.

Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen heard Sharon make it clear that the pressure was from the US government and that is that. The myth of an autonomous Israeli policy in this regard had nothing to do with reality.

Indeed, one of the common assumptions until this day  was  that the Sharon government’s plan to expel Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, and unilaterally hand the area over to an independent Palestinian entity, had been an entirely autonomous Israeli decision.

US government was behind it all along.

In meetings with concerned American citizens, Danny Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the US at the time, clearly stated that Sharon’s Retreat Plan was  part of an overall Israeli-American agreement.

In late June, 2005, Ayalon met with representatives of the Orthodox Union, one of the largest contingents of American Orthodox Jews, and told them clearly that “Prime Minister Sharon is left with no choice. He is doing exactly what the US expects him to do.”

In an interview with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, published on June 22nd, 2005, Ayalon reversed earlier Israeli government statements, saying that Israel does not expect the Palestinian Authority (PA) to dismantle terrorist infrastructure until after the planned expulsion. He mentioned that ending terrorism and anti-Israel incitement had been conditions Israel had demanded from the PA before carrying out the plan.

However, Ayalon indicated that the agreement with the US was more important than an agreement with the PA.

The Israeli ambassador said, “Disengagement has to be viewed in the context of Israel-United States relations…. This pullout did not follow an agreement with the Palestinians, but it followed something which is much more important, an agreement with the United States. Disengagement is something that creates a common agenda between us and the United States.”

In the final interview given by Benyamin Netanyahu before his resignation from the Sharon government, to the Jerusalem Post on August 5th, 2005, he indicated that the current policy pursued by the government of Israel should be perceived as a threat to the security interests of the US and of all Western countries, since it created a terror base in Gaza, and since the Palestinian Authority incorporated the Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations instead of dismantling them.

Yet the dictate of the US State Department remained undaunted: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had to must dismantle and withdraw every Jewish community in the Katif district of Gaza by mid-August, 2005.

When Israel did go ahead with the retreat of the  IDF and the expulsion of the Jewish communities from Katif and the Northern Shomron,  Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen told me that he wanted to tell the world that this policy was implemented  as a the result of this clear US government directive to Sharon. This was not meant as a rationalization for Sharon’s policy.

Few people want to hear the warnings of Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen that Israeli policy is often dictated from Washington.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.

 

In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.

 

Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.
 

Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.

 

A focus of the center’s investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict – UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein’s 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.

 

The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education’

 

In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA.

Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.

 

Bedein’s work can be found at:

www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com.

A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, yes it can, g’veret. 1. Ms. clinton was Sec’y of State during the most hostile to Israel (and our other allies) Amer. Administration ever (Bush 41 included). 2. We need only recall one act of the BHO-Clinton Admin. In the middle of a WAR, Israel’s war with Hamas, this Admin. refused to re-supply U.S.-sourced ammunition (and other expended material) to Israel. In the middle of a WAR!! In the middle of a WAR, BHO took the side of the Islamist terrorists; not only refusing re-supply to Israel, but also trying to work with PLO-supporting Qatar to broker a ceasefire favorable to Hamas and unfavorable to Israel. In the event, EGYPT worked with Israel to stop Obama and to broker a ceasefire that gave Hamas not a single gain from their terror war. Let’s recall, it was Bill Clinton who engineered – along with the far Left in Israel– the Oslo appeasement agreement. We all must know by now, how well that has worked out. And the Clinton now running for President, the sweetheart of Suha Arafat, has been hostile to Israel since her college years. See if you can drop the blinders from your eyes.

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