The United States Department of State has made it clear to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It wants the Jews out of the Katif district of Gaza by August 15th, with no excuses.

The Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, came to Jerusalem and pleaded with Sharon to reconsider his plan to retreat from Gush Katif, which involves Israel’s obliteration of the 21 Jewish communities there, including 325 thriving Jewish farms and 86 synagogues and Jewish study centers.

Sharon’s 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 live in Gush Katif have nowhere to go, with their relocation plans still left up in the air.

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

It does not seem to matter that the experts in Israel’s security establishment are warning that the result of Israel’s hasty retreat will be the creation of a new Islamic terror base.

Sharon is now making it clear that he is under pressure from the US government and that is that.

Yet, one of the common assumptions over the past two years is 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.

It can now be determined that the US government was behind it all along.

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

In late June, 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.”

This week’s sudden announcement of the resignation of Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, then, was aimed at the US State Department more than at the Israeli public.

In the final interview given by Netanyahu before his resignation, 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 creates a terror base in Gaza, and since the Palestinian Authority has incorporated the Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations instead of dismantling them.

Yet, the position of the US State Department remains undaunted: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon must dismantle and withdraw any and all Israeli presence from every Jewish community in the Katif district of Gaza by mid-August.

Sources in the Palestinian Authority and the US government confirm that the US now urges that Palestinian armed forces be immediately moved into these Jewish communities in mid-August, as Israel forcibly removes Israeli Jewish citizens who have lived there for more than thirty years. That could mean that the Palestinian Authority armed forces will be allowed to pursue and punish any Jews who cling to their property as the Israeli army is retreating.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also demands that Israel find a way to assure Palestinian Arabs some kind of safe passage that will enable Palestinian Arab residents of Gaza to traverse Israel in order to reach their compatriots in the other parts of the Palestinian Arab self-ruled areas in Judea and Samaria. Rice is also demanding that Israel allow additional arms and ammunition to flow to the Palestinian Authority, ignoring the fact that the arms and ammunition supplied to the PA between 1993 and 2000 were turned against Israeli citizens since the fall of 2000, with a human toll of 1,073 people murdered in cold blood by armed Arab terrorists. When special US presidential envoy General William Ward was asked two weeks ago by the US Foreign Relations Committee if the US could account for the weapons that it had supplied to the Palestinian Authority in the mid-nineties, Ward’s answer was in the negative.

Rice seems to not know or care that the PA and its ruling Fatah organization remain at war with the state of Israel, with one purpose in mind: the liberation of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

When Israeli Minister of Defense Sha’ul Mofaz objected to Rice’s demand for a safe passage for Palestinian Arab residents from Gaza to the West Bank, sources at the Ministry of Defense confirmed to the media that a screaming match occurred, with the US Secretary of State clarifying that she will not accept “no” for an answer in this regard.

Another recently resigned Israeli government minister, Natan Sharansky, confirms that the initial motivating factor for Sharon’s acceptance of the Road Map {Note the correction – previously was written “Sharon’s acceptance of the Disengagement Plan – ed.} was the pressure that he was under from the American government and other democracies abroad.

Sharansky wonders why it is that the world’s democracies, led by the United States of America, are so keen to witness the creation of a new anti-democratic, anti-Western and anti-American Islamic state in the Middle East.

Questions to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv as to why the US State Department would push Sharon in this direction have remain unanswered.

Israeli government officials do report that they are inundated with calls and e-mails from thousands of American Jews and Christians who question the judgment of Israel’s prime minister in regard to the inherent dangers of his disengagement policy.

The time has come to ask the question: will US citizens challenge the pressures that the US State Department brings to bear on Israel in this regard?

Yet the question remains: If the US State Department relents in its pressure on the government of Israel, would Israel reconsider its plans for a hasty retreat from its Jewish communities in the Katif district of Gaza?

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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.