For the past month, three of Israel’s most prominent Rabbis worked around the clock to save the synagogues which used to serve the Jewish communities of the Katif district of Gaza from desecration.

These Rabbis saw initial fruit from their endeavors.

The Israeli government cabinet did reverse itself and withdrew its intent to destroy the synagogues.

The Moslem leadership in Gaza also gave the Rabbis a firm commitment to guard the Katif synagogues from destruction.

The precedent: When the Palestinian Authority was established in Gaza in May, 1994, leading Moslem clerics took it upon themselves to guard the ancient synagogue in Gaza from desecration.

That commitment continues to this day.

So what went wrong?

The Palestinian Authority, spawned by the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization under the auspices of the Arab League, would not hear of any such compromise.

From the PLO point of view, the area would have to be completely “JudenRein” and devoid of Jews and Jewish relics.

When it became clear that the PA would indeed destroy these Jewish places of worship, the Rabbis contacted a prominent Jewish American official to see what he could do to get the American government involved.

The American Jewish official contacted the highest levels of the US State Department, which gave him a clear response: If the government of Israel requests us to protect the synagogues, we will assure the protection of the synagogues.

However, the government of Israel would not intervene to ask that the US facilitate the protection of the synagogues.

At 8 a.m. on the morning of September 12, 2005, one hour after the IDF left Katif, PA foreign minister Nabil Shaath appeared on the official PBC “Voice of Palestine”, and ordered his people to demolish the synagogues left in Katif.

The synagogues in Katif were not destroyed by the Islamists of Gaza.

Indeed, the Jewish holy places of worship were burnt by the PLO, yet with the tacit assent of the government of Israel.


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David Bedein
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: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.