Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David Wilder
October 30, 1996
Yesterday, tens of thousands of Israelis poured into
a storm-struck Jerusalem to protest the planned
abandonment of Hebron. In New York, a group of concerned
Jews chanted in front of the Israeli consulate, "Don't
abandon Hebron." This morning a personal representative
of President Clinton visited Hebron to learn, first-hand,
And the negotiations continue.
Two major issues must be confronted. The Jewish
Community of Hebron has learned that all Jewish property,
including the buildings presently lived in by Jewish
residents, and all the property owned by Jews prior to
the 1929 massacre, is to be transferred to total
palestinian control. All Jewish property in Hebron was
held by a Jordanian `guardian' following the forced
removal of the surviving Jews in 1929. In 1967, with the
return of Israel to Hebron, an Israeli `guardian' had
official authority over all Jewish land and houses. This
authority is now to be transferred to a palestinian
Should this actually happen, all construction,
anywhere in Hebron, on Jewish property, will be dependent
on permission from the palestinian `guardian.' HE WILL
ALSO HAVE THE LEGAL POWER TO REMOVE JEWS FROM THE HOUSES
WE PRESENTLY LIVE IN, CLAIMING THAT IT IS ACTUALLY
PALESTINIAN PROPERTY, UNDER HIS AUTHORITY.
The second issue to be addressed concerns
administrative detention and curfews. According to media
accounts in all Israeli newspapers today, the "Shabak" -
otherwise known as Israeli intelligence, is demanding
that dozens of `right-wing extremists,' especially from
Hebron and the Hebron area, be placed under immediate
administrative detention. There are also rumors that a
curfew will be placed upon Jews in Hebron-Kiryat Arba
before commencement of abandonment. There are reports
that `redeployment' will be implemented by the end of
next week, should the agreement be signed.
The time has come for the Netanyahu government to
reveal, to one and all, its true self. We have assumed,
based on previous statements, declarations, and actions,
that Bibi Netanyahu's heart is actually in the `right
place,' in spite his continued implementation of the Oslo
curse. Netanyahu is, at least in theory, not Shimon
Peres. There really is no need to enumerate why we
worked so hard to put him in office. The reasons are
known to all.
However, it is possible that we were mistaken, and
should that be the case, our error is very grave, indeed.
The above-described intentions to transfer all Jewish
property to Arafat is more drastic than the original
`Peres-Arafat' agreement. How does a government, elected
on a platform guaranteeing continued Jewish development
in Hebron, literally strangle the existing Jewish
community!? How can a Prime Minister who has written
books on combating terrorism, reward Arafat with more
than even Peres was willing to do? How can an Israeli
administration create a situation making Hebron, de jure,
Judenrein? Jews have no property rights, no land rights,
in Hebron, the cradle of Jewish civilization? If we
have no land rights in Hebron, if we can't walk freely
and live normally in the city of Abraham, what
justification do we have in Tel-Aviv or Haifa. If Hebron
is defined as `conquered territory,' what is the status
of Jerusalem. Ma'arat HaMachpela is 3,700 years old.
The Kotel is 2,000 years old.
Administrative detention is a means to incarcerate
suspected terrorists. It is a procedure utilized to
combat terrorist attacks and, used properly, is a very
effective tool. However, the previous administration
began using it to smother political activists whose ideas
and philosophies differed from their own. In a
democratic state, a person suspected of committing a
crime is indicted and tried in a court of law. If found
guilty, he is punished. If acquitted, he is released.
There is no justification to restrict movement of any
citizen in a free, democratic state, and all the more so,
a person may not be imprisoned without just cause and due
process of law.
The previous administration used administrative
detention and house arrest to stifle political
expression. Baruch Marzel, prevented from leaving his
home for over two and a half years, has now been
presented with an additional renewed administrative house
arrest order. As reported above, tens of Jews may soon
be arrested by order of the Netanyahu government, in
complete contradiction to due process of law.
Should the Netanyahu government actually execute
these orders, and, at the same time, while abandoning
Hebron, transfer all property rights to Arafat, Israel
will truly be facing catastrophe, no less than that
threatened by the preceding Peres administration. This
impending disaster is not so much going to be caused by
our enemies. Rather our own government, a
`nationalistic' regime, may bring upon its own people
devastation beyond belief.
The only consolation I have to offer is that if we,
the Jewish Community of Hebron have anything to say or do
about it, it will not happen.