The Jewish Community of Hebron
This morning on the Kol Yisrael radio news, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, speaking about the Hebron accords, emphasized that he has ordered his subordinates to insure that the Jewish residents of Hebron will not feel any lessening of their security following `redeployment.' A few weeks ago Mordechai took a walking tour from Beit Hadassah to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. As he inspected the market, due to be reopened with implementation of the agreement, I shook his hand, welcomed him to Hebron and pointed out to him that the market, located on Jewish property, was stolen from us following the expulsion of the Jewish community in 1929. His response: "And how much land did we take from them?" Shocked at this answer, especially because in Hebron we didn't take any land from the Arabs, I responded, "but they murdered us and then stole our land." Mordechai retorted, "you're looking at this from an historical perspective; where does that historical perspective begin?" This is the Israeli Likud Minister of Defense, who we put into office.
Last week, on Friday, the Bibi bombshell exploded. But unfortunately, too many of us are so shell-shocked that even when a bomb explodes in your face, you're liable to miss it. Netanyahu's right-hand man, David Bar-Ilan, former editor of the Jerusalem Post and one of the most right-wing, if not the most right-wing member of the Prime Minister's team, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, revealed that Netanyahu has rejected the idea of `Eretz Yisrael HaShlema' the idea of a `complete Israel', that the Land will have to be shared and that he will accept a `limited palestinian state.' Of course the words `limited state' contradict themselves. There is no such animal. A state is, by definition, sovereign. If it is not sovereign, it is not a state. And if it is sovereign, it is not limited. And even if Arafat should agree to accept `limited sovereignty - we all know how much Arafat feels obligated by signed agreements. When this was pointed out to Bar Ilan, he confirmed that the administration is aware of this, but even so../..../.. He even went so far as to agree with the interviewer's observation that with the advent of Oslo, and Israel's acceptance of its obligations, there is very little difference today between the Likud and Labor.
Bar-Ilan wasn't speaking for himself. He was speaking for Benyamin Netanyahu. Our Prime Minister. Who we elected.
What is one of the major predicaments of the Hebron accords? It is very simple, but unfortunately remains totally unnoticed.When the Rabin-Peres administration signed the agreement, they did so with the full intention of removing all Jewish presence from Hebron. Rabin, speaking before groups from the US, said time and time again that he had no intention of leaving the Jewish Community in Hebron. He promised not to remove any `settlements' during the interim stage of the accords, but planned, as part of final status agreement, to expel Hebron's Jews from the City of the Patriarchs. Knowing this, both he and Peres had no compunctions about signing an agreement which, for all intensive purposes, sealed the fate of the community. They knew that the terms and conditions of the accords created an intolerable unlivable situation. But that didn't bother them, because that is what they wanted. That is, as disgusting as it is, comprehensible. That they were willing to forsake Jewish lives, to sacrifice Jewish blood, as a means to a goal, is not. But the terms of the accords were at one with the expected future - a Judenrein Hebron.
BUT, Netanyahu, by all accounts, is interested in maintaining a Jewish presence in Hebron. He does not want to abandon Ma'arat HaMachpela to Arafat. He truly desires a strong Jewish community in the city.
On the face of it, he does not wish to be responsible for more `sacrifices for peace.' But what is he doing? He is planning on implementing an agreement, geared around expulsion of the Jewish community, while promising to leave the Jews in Hebron, with `the same security that we presently have,' in spite of the allowance of what will eventually be, thousands of armed Arab terrorists patrolling in and around the city. In other words, he in contradicting himself. He is trying to implement a suicide pact and remain alive, even after firing the bullet into his brain. And it just doesn't work. If you shoot yourself in the head, you die, like it or not.
This morning Yitzhak Mordechai was quoted as saying that he too is unhappy with the Hebron agreement, that it is not good for us, but, what can you do? A `legitimate' Israeli government signed an official agreement that binds not only that government, but the country. We have no choice, in his opinion, but to honor the accords.
Personally, I have a lot of trouble with this philosophy. True, when an agreement is broken one must re-think out the possible consequences and be ready to pay the price. But everyone with eyes in his head sees what Arafat is doing. Using the salami method, he is taking a slice at a time. And he is doing it very successfully. We all know what his goal is. No, not only Jerusalem. Jerusalem is, as is Hebron, a means to an end. He is interested in Haifa and Acco and Yaffo, and Nazareth and, well, all of Eretz Yisrael. He desires to be King of Palestine stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, and perhaps over to the east side of the Jordan too. His goal is not a Judenrein Hebron - it is a Judenrein Israel. And we are playing straight into his hands. We are killing ourselves for him - saving him the work. He is dictating the conditions of our obligations, the conditions of our suicide, while sitting on the sidelines and watching us destroy ourselves.
Arafat took off his mask a long time ago. He doesn't fulfill his obligations and he makes it very clear that he has no intention to - as per extradition of murderers to Israel. The problem isn't Arafat - it is Netanyahu and his administration. I'm not sure if Netanyahu is wearing a mask that has blinded him, or if he is hallucinating, thinking that the Arafat he sees isn't the real Arafat - that Arafat is still wearing his mask. But the whole story is very reminiscent of the Emperor's New Clothes.
I will not say that Netanyahu has betrayed us. He is not a traitor. He did not create Oslo and is not responsible for its existence. But, he is implementing it, against all expectations, against all his promises, against his own personal political philosophies, against all logic or reason. So, inasmuch as I will say that we are very disappointed in him, as are so many others, I won't say that he is a traitor, or that he has betrayed us, that he has betrayed Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael or Torat Yisrael.
But I don't know what history will say../...
Presented by The Jewish Community of Hebron, POB 105 Kiryat Arba, Israel 90100
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