July 6, 1997
Via Fax: 220-3575
To The Viewpoints Editor:
Re: Your coverage of the Hebron violence (July 5th and many issues previously)
There are certain pertinent facts that are not being communicated to your readers. As a native Houstonian and also a Chronicle reader for over 40 years I feel it is my duty to bring this information to the public. Here is a short but important list:
1. Under the Hebron Agreement signed this year with United States participation Israel agreed to withdraw from over 80% of the city. The Palestinian Authority (PA) agreed to ensure security and stability. They also agreed, with US State Department coordinator Dennis Ross as witness, to maintain order among their population, fight terrorism, and prevent attacks on the Jewish community of Hebron and Israeli soldiers.
2. Violence doesn't BREAKOUT in Hebron by some act of nature. There has been violence for over 3 weeks precisely because Yassir Arafat and the PA believe it to be useful politically. When mobs of Arabs attack Israelis or attempt to break into Jewish section of Hebron, Israeli troops find it necessary to defend both themselves and the Jewish Community. This is not violence breaking out (a morally neutral description) but, in truth, it is Arab aggression and Israeli defense. The two acts are not morally equivalent.
3. My third and final note is that there should never have been the need for Israeli troops to confront Arab attackers. The Hebron agreement clearly states that the PA's Hebron police force, of which there are over 1000, are responsible for maintaining order among the Arab population. The fact that they stand around and fail to prevent Arab mobs is clear proof that their political bosses have told them to do nothing. They clearly have the power and influence to prevent the violence in the first place.
Bernard J. Shapiro, Executive Director
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies