Story-ideas-1011172

US drove Israel to abandon Gaza in '05 –Bedien

  • Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen
Rabbi took his secret with him to the grave: the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Haifa and President of Israeli rabbinical courts, Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She'ar Yashuv Cohen, pictured, passed away this week, taking one of the “most stirring episodes of the history of the modern state of Israel” to his grave with him – the fact that the US ordered Israel to pull out of Gaza in 2005 says David Bedein.
by ANT KATZ | Sep 09, 2016

David Bedein, the director of the Centre for Near East Policy Research in Jerusalem, says that Bedien claims in a statement published Tuesday that the 89-year-old Jerusalem-born rabbi - an 18th-generation descendant in a family of rabbis - had heard and protected the real reason why then-Prime Minister Arik Sharon had pulled out of Gaza in 2005.

Rabbi Cohen’s father was wounded in the battle for the Old City in Jerusalem in the War of Independence in 1948. He was the last Jewish civilian who left the Old City as it fell, carried on a stretcher into captivity.

Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen largeAnd so it was fitting that Rabbi Cohen the younger, then the deputy Mayor of Israeli Jerusalem, was given the honour of being the first civilian allowed to enter the Old City on its liberation during the Six-day War in 1967.

Yet there is yet another mission to Jerusalem which went little reported.

In August 2005, Rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen travelled to Jerusalem to make a last minute plea with Arik Sharon to reconsider his plan to retreat from Gush Katif, which involved Israel’s obliteration of the 21 Jewish communities, including 325 thriving farms and 86 shuls.

“Rabbi Cohen told me at the time that the chemistry remained between him and Arik Sharon had lasted since his days of captivity after the 1948 war and that She’ar-Yashuv was the only Rabbi who was ready to speak with him at the time,” says Bedein.

Sharon gave a clear answer to Rabbi Cohen: “This is what the US is demanding that I do and I must do it.” Bedein says it didn’t matter that half of the 9,000 Jews who lived in Gush Katif had nowhere to go.

Bedien says that “the Israeli government gave each family two containers to help them remove their possessions. The “security establishment” warned that a hasty retreat would create a new Islamic terror base, says Bedein, adamant that Rabbi Cohen heard Sharon making it clear that he was under pressure from the US government and that was that. “The myth of an autonomous Israeli policy in this regard had nothing to do with reality,” says Bedein.

He also says that, while often suspected, “It can now be determined that the US government was behind it all along. In meetings with concerned American citizens, Danny Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to the US at the time, clearly stated that Sharon’s Retreat Plan was part of an overall Israeli-American agreement.”

Bedein days that in June 2005 Ayalon met with representatives of the Orthodox Union (the counterpart of SA’s UOS) and told them clearly that “Prime Minister Sharon is left with no choice. He is doing exactly what the US expects him to do.”

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