Note from Bill:
Here is the beginning of parallels between Israel and the U.S. evacuations. We are discovering more each week. We will keep adding to this in the coming weeks.
Below are President Bush's statements pertaining to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel's completion of their disengagement evacuation. These excerpts are from speeches on Aug. 22-23.
President Honors Veterans of Foreign Wars at National Convention - Salt Palace Convention Center - Salt Lake City, Utah - Aug. 22, 2005
Note: The following is an excerpt from President Bush's speech pertaining to Israel.
In the heart of the Middle East, a hopeful story is unfolding. After decades of shattered promises and stolen lives, peace is within reach in the Holy Land. The Palestinian people have expressed their desire for sovereignty and peace in free and fair elections. President Abbas has rejected violence and taken steps toward democratic reform. This past week, Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by beginning to remove settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. The Israeli disengagement is an historic step that reflects the bold leadership of Prime Minister Sharon.
Both Israelis and Palestinians have elected governments committed to peace and progress, and the way forward is clear. We're working for a return to the road map. We're helping the Palestinians to prepare for self-government and to defeat terrorists who attack Israel, and terrorists who oppose the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state. We're providing $50 million in direct assistance to the Palestinians for new housing and infrastructure projects in Gaza. We remain fully committed to defending the security and well-being of our friend and ally, Israel, and we demand an end to terrorism and violence in every form, because we know that progress toward peace depends on an end to terror. We'll continue working for the day when the map of the Middle East shows two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
President Bush Talks with White House Press Pool - Tamarack Resort - Donnelly, Idaho - Aug. 23, 2005
Note: The following is an excerpt from President Bush's press briefing. He congratulates Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the completion of the Gaza evacuation.
First of all, I want to congratulate Prime Minister Sharon for having made a very tough decision. As I said in my remarks yesterday in Salt Lake City, the Prime Minister made a courageous decision to withdraw from the Gaza. We have got Jim Wolfensohn, the former head of the World Bank, on the ground, helping President Abbas develop a government that responds to the will of the folks in Gaza. In other words, this is step one in the development of a democracy.
And so to answer your question, what must take place next is the establishment of a working government in Gaza, a government that responds to the people. President Abbas has made a commitment to fight off the violence, because he understands a democracy can't exist with terrorist groups trying to take the law into their own hands.
Along these lines, we've also got Gen. Ward on the ground, helping the Palestinians consolidate their security forces. It turns out that the post-Arafat regime is one of different factions and different security forces that were really in place to kind of maintain his power, but not necessarily to protect the overall security of the Palestinian people. It's in their interest to consolidate the security forces, so that there is a - the government has got a vehicle and a group of folks by which to help enforce order.
You asked about the road map. Of course you want to get back to the road map. But I understand that in order for this process to go forward, there must be confidence - confidence that the Palestinian people will have in their own government to perform, confidence with the Israelis that they'll see a peaceful state emerging. And therefore it's very important for the world to stay focused on Gaza, and helping Gaza - helping the Gaza economy get going, helping rebuild the settlements for Gaza - for the people of Gaza.
This is a very hopeful period. Again, I applaud Prime Minister Sharon for making a decision that has really changed the dynamics on the ground, and has really provided hope for the Palestinian people. My vision, my hope, is that one day we'll see two states - two democratic states - living side-by-side in peace.
Tropical Depression 12 Becomes Katrina
Israel's disengagement evacuation and eviction began on Wednesday, Aug. 17, and ended on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
According to CNN, Israel evacuated the last settlers and protesters from the West Bank settlement of Homesh on Tuesday, Aug. 23, completing its historic withdrawal of civilians from 25 settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. (Gaza's final evacuation occurred on Monday, Aug. 22.)
"Today, we accomplished the first phase of the disengagement process ... related to evacuation of the civilians," said Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz.
Israeli forces planned to remove the settlers' belongings, destroy their houses and then withdraw from Gaza.
Authorities used force at times on Tuesday, Aug. 23, to clear the two remaining West Bank settlements - Homesh and Sanur.
On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 23, 2005, Tropical Depression 12 formed. By 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, the newly-formed tropical depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Katrina; and by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, Katrina became a hurricane. On Friday, Aug. 26, Hurricane Katrina hit Southeast Florida. By Monday, Aug. 29, Katrina had become a fierce and enormous Category 4 hurricane that hit Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama - devastating the city of New Orleans. It is now being called the largest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Israel's Gaza and northern Samaria settlements were under military occupation during the time of the evacuation, and New Orleans was under military occupation as they attempted to restore order. As in a war zone, military bases are being established in a city divided into sectors, while the navy has moved warships up the Mississippi for helicopter operations.
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized the mandatory evacuation of residents refusing to evacuate Gaza.
On, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, an hour after New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered the mandatory evacuation of the crippled Crescent City - by force, if necessary, soldiers began coaxing some of Hurricane Katrina's holdouts from their homes due to fire and disease risks.
"We have thousands of people who want to voluntarily evacuate at this time," Police Chief Eddie Compass said, adding that once they all were out, "we'll concentrate our forces on mandatory evacuation."
Israeli settlers stated that the Gaza and Samaria evictions will go down as the worst abandonment of Jews in history and the largest forced evacuation in Israel's history.
Katrina has produced the largest mass migration and evacuation in U.S. history as hundreds of thousands of people were forced from their homes. The media and the Democrats say the White House abandoned black residents of New Orleans by not getting them help fast enough.
Aaron Brousard, the president of Louisiana's Jefferson Parish, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the response to Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history.
Nine thousand Israelis were evicted by their government. Shortly thereafter, one million Americans were evicted by Hurricane Katrina.
Israeli security teams went from home to home to evict Israelis, while teams of soldiers went home to home in New Orleans evicting people.
Israel has an evacuee problem with people spread throughout Israel in hotels, lodged in makeshift homes, and living in tents. Texas and other U.S. states are absorbing record numbers of Katrina evacuees.
President Bush's home state of Texas has more than 250,000 evacuees. Houston's Astrodome is filled with 33,000 people. There are 150,000 refugees in Houston's 55,000 hotel rooms, 20 Red Cross facilities and 20 faith-based shelters.
While 2,700 homes were demolished in Gaza and 300 homes in northern Samaria, tens of thousands of homes were demolished in the Southern U.S., with many more severely damaged.
Businesses were forcefully abandoned in Gaza Israel - many businesses will have to be abandoned in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast cities.
Buses took Israelis out of Gaza and northern Samaria to their temporary homes while buses took New Orleans residents to their temporary homes in Texas and other southern states.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon saw the largest eviction of Jews in Israel's history. President Bush will oversee the largest natural disaster and displacement of people in U.S. history.
Yet despite the enormous influx from across the U.S. of National Guard, reservists, units of the federal army and marines, the coastguard, airmen, firefighters from Los Angeles and even Texas game wardens in boats, the logistics of evacuating the remaining residents from the flooded suburbs, and collecting possibly thousands of bodies, present enormous challenges. They also expose flaws in management structure and communications.
Gush Katif was a very important agricultural area for Israel. New Orleans' port exported much of the Midwest's agricultural production.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan
Note: Scott McClellan provided this Katrina information late Tuesday, September 6:
[We have] 559 shelters in place, and more than 180,000 people housed in those shelters. People in shelters received 11.3 million MREs [Military Ready-to-Eat meals]. You've had 18 million liters of water provided.
And there are more than 75,000 response, rescue - rescue, recovery and law enforcement personnel that continue to work around the clock to get critical assistance to people in need.
We now have more than 60,000 active duty and National Guard personnel on the ground or aboard ships that are supporting the relief operations; some 20 U.S. Navy ships are in the operational area. You have 360 helicopters, 93 airplanes that are involved in this.
The Department of Defense has provided extensive search and rescue, evacuation and medical support. And the Corps of Engineers has closed that 17th Street Canal levee breach and begun pumping water out from that area.
President Bush requested $51.8 billion in additional funding for the immediate needs of the people affected by Hurricane Katrina. Last week, Congress moved quickly to approve the President's initial request of $10.5 billion for immediate needs of people in the Gulf states that were hit by Katrina.
At this point, I can tell you that $50 billion of the supplemental request will go to FEMA; $1.4 billion will go to the Department of Defense; and $400 million will go to the Army Corps of Engineers.
This will not be the last request for the response to the disaster there. We anticipate that there will be a need for additional supplemental spending, especially in the process of recovery there in the Gulf area.
Thousands of National Guardsmen with food, water and weapons streamed into Louisiana on Friday, September 2, to bring relief to New Orleans' suffering multitudes and put down the looting and violence. "The cavalry is and will continue to arrive," said one general.
Ariel Sharon's Condolences
Ariel Sharon: "I would like to send our condolences to the American people and to people in the southern U.S. who were struck by such a severe disaster. It seems to me that the U.S. has been caught up in one of its worst disasters ever. Last week I sent a letter to U.S. President George Bush in which I expressed my condolences and those of the Israeli people over the disaster."
The replacement theology advocates and/ or believers who believe the Church has replaced the Jewish people as God's chosen, not grafted in according to Romans 11, see Katrina as a tragic event and no connection to judgment over Israel's recent evacuation and/or the sins of the U.S.
Those who believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and don't see Bible prophecy as allegorical, see Katrina as judgment and/or the birth pangs that will lead to much more in the days ahead.
Isn't it sadly ironic that the three areas of greatest debate in the church today are whether: (1) the land of Israel should (or should not) be divided, (2) the Church has replaced Israel, and (3) God has a hand in enormous natural disasters.
Today, the media and many in our communities say Mother Nature is responsible for major disasters, rather than calling them "acts of God" - which can be very convicting to those who don't acknowledge God's existence.
As I have shared before, when there were major disasters in the 18th and 19th centuries, American pastors typically called for national and/or regional repentance for the sins of the people. Today, we hear very little of that, especially from those who attend replacement theology churches.