NEW YORK – In response to media reports of a possible expulsion of Jews from their towns and homes in the Gaza region, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed its opposition to any such expulsion and reaffirmed its opposition to the apartheid-like principle that only Arabs should be permitted to live in that area.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:
The idea that Jews should be expelled from Gaza, while Arabs should remain there, is frighteningly reminiscent of apartheid.
Moreover, expelling Jews from Gaza would not appease the terrorist Palestinian Authority regimeit would reward terrorism by demonstrating that the PAs ongoing terrorism is resulting in Israeli concessions.
If some Israeli leaders are considering the expulsion of Jews from Gaza in the belief that Americans want such an expulsion, they are mistaken there is, in fact, broad understanding, both among the public and Congress, for the right of Jews to live in the Land of Israel.
A poll carried out by John McLaughlin & Associates among a scientific sample of 1,000 American adults on May 21, 2003, found:
* 64% of Americans Oppose Expelling Jews from the Territories: Asked if Jewish residents of the territories should be expelled (as the Palestinian Authority and the Road Map propose), 64.1% said they disagree or strongly disagree with expulsion. Only 16.5% somewhat agree or strongly agree with the idea of expelling them.
* 61% of Americans Say Jewish Construction in Territories Should be Permitted: Asked if both Jews and Arabs should be allowed to build in the territories, as they do now, or if Jews should be prevented from building there (as the Road Map proposes), 61.5% said both Jews and Arabs should be allowed to build; only 13.5% said that only Arabs should be allowed.
* 63% of Americans Say Jews Should Be Allowed to Live in Territories: Asked if both Jews and Arabs should be allowed to live in the territories, as they do now, or if only Arabs should be allowed to live there, 63.3% said both Jews and Arabs should be allowed; only 9% said that only Arabs should be allowed.
* Only 10% of Americans Say Settlements Are Main Obstacle to Peace: Asked what is the main obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and given four choices the ongoing Arab violence; Palestinian Arab non-recognition of Israel; Israels anti-terror tactics; and the existence of Jewish communities in the territories only 10% blamed the Jewish communities as the main obstacle to peace.
* By Almost 2-1, Americans Say Jews Have Strongest Historical Claim to Land: Asked whether the Jews or the Arabs have the strongest historical claim to Judea-Samaria and Gaza, 31.1% said the Jews; only 18.8% said the Arabs (the remainder were undecided or declined to answer).
In addition, the ZOA points out:
* U.S. Joint Chiefs Favored Keeping Gaza The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in their June 1967 assessment of which territories Israel would need to keep for its security, concluded that Israel must keep Gaza, writing: By occupying Gaza, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israels military advantage.
* Labor Party Established Gaza Jewish Communities:
Most of the Jewish communities in Gaza were established in the early 1970s by Israels Labor Party government, under Golda Meir, because they are crucial to the security of Israel. One of the communities, MFar Darom, was first established in 1946.
* Jewish Roots in Gaza Are Deep and Ancient:
Gaza has been part of the Jewish homeland since biblical times, and is specified in the Bible (Genesis 15, Joshua 15:47, Judges 1:18) as part of the Land of Israel. The oldest and largest mosaic floor from an ancient synagogue ever found in the Land of Israel is in Gaza and dates back to the 6th century CE. At the time that the Muslims invaded and occupied the Land of Israel, in the 7th century CE, Gaza had the largest Jewish community in the country. Every week at Shabbat tables all around the world, Jews sing the popular hymn Kah Ribon Olam which was composed by the Chief Rabbi of Gaza, Yisrael Najara, in the early 1600s.
* Pressuring Israel Wont Make the Arabs Pro-America:
Middle East expert Prof. Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins University School of International Affairs, writing in the May 26, 2003 issue of U.S. News & World Report, pointed out the United States is greatly mistaken if it believes the Arab world will be more pro-America if the U.S. pressures Israel to make more concessions for Palestinian Arabs.