The Day After November 13, 1996 The Israeli army has, by all accounts, almost completely concluded its abandonment of the City of the Patriarchs. The IDF has removed almost 100% of its outposts in and around the city, in the areas to be transferred to Arafat. Legally, Israel still has access to the entire city, but patrols in nearly all the neighborhoods have been halted. The major difference between today and post- abandonment is the entrance of the armed, uniformed terrorists into Hebron. Presently, Hebron's Arabs are still wearing civilian clothing and their weapons are still in the closets. Following official `redeployment' that changes. As will Israeli access to about 90% of the city. Barring a miracle - and miracles do happen, we know them very well - but barring a miracle, Arafat's flag will actually fly over the Hebron military compound in the very near future. His soldiers will be patrolling in the hills above the Jewish Community of Hebron, possibly by next Sunday morning. According to the most recent news accounts, Netanyahu, who was supposed to leave tonight for the west coast of the United States, canceled his trip. Early this morning palestinian negotiators met with President Ezer Weitzman, and as a result of this meeting, met tonight between seven and eight, with Netanyahu. It is possible that tonight, or early tomorrow an agreement will be initialed by both sides. The agreement will have to be ratified by the Israeli Cabinet and may be implemented on Saturday night. Israeli officers hosted palestinian `officers' including Jabril Rajub in the city, and discussed Hebron post-redeployment. Earlier tonight all roads leading into Hebron were closed off. Not even Hebron residents were allowed into the city. The reason for the confusion: A enormous military exercise, practicing measures to be taken following a massive terrorist attack outside Ma'arat HaMachpela. Peace has arrived. Earlier this afternoon a reporter sat questioning me in my office . "So," he asked, "what will you do? Are you going to try and stop it?" My response: "What can we do? Everything we could possibly do we have done. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews have come into Hebron to show support. Meetings, rallies, both in Israel and in the US, a legitimate attempt to influence public opinion, and to sway the politicians. We brought about a political revolution - leading to a change in governments. Whatever there was to do, we did it." "Now, we cannot force the Israeli army to patrol where they don't want to patrol. We have no intentions of forming our own militias - that is not our task. Fifty four adult males will not be able to prevent armed Arabs, called police, dressed like soldiers, from entering the vacuum created by the abandonment of the city by the IDF. There really isn't too much else left for us to do. Barring a miracle." So then the reported continued. "What will you do the morning after, the morning after redeployment?" "I suppose we will get up in the morning, the way we get up every morning," I answered. "We will go to morning prayers, eat breakfast, - the kids will go to school and we will go to work." "That's it!?" he queried, "life as normal?" His voice sounded incredulous. "Yeah, I suppose so." What else is there to do? We aren't planning on leaving, if that's what you are alluding to." "But life as normal?" He couldn't believe it. "Look," I answered, "our goal was, and still is, to live as normally as possible, within the given circumstances. True, things will change - they will change drastically. Unbelievable amounts of soldiers and police will wonder the streets and rooftops in the areas still controlled by Israel. We don't really want to live feeling like we are embedded inside a military camp - but we don't have too much choice." "Our security, in spite of the military presence, will have been compromised. No amount of soldiers can prevent sniper fire from the hills surrounding us. We know that, and will have to find a way to live with it." "O.K.," he said. But what's next? You've spent so much time just fighting for survival. That was your goal, almost since the previous government was elected and the Oslo accords were signed. What do you do now - where do you go from here?" I sat and thought for a moment and then responded. "We are going to try to do whatever we can to proceed forward - to build wherever we can and to struggle to build where we will be told that we cannot. We are going to bring as many more people into Hebron as we can, both to visit, and as permanent residents. We are going to keep living in Hebron, and we will develop and expand however we can." It won't be exactly as we wanted it - but we can only do what is in our hands, within our limits. We try, but that is all we can be held responsible for - trying. What we can do, we will do. What we can't do, we won't do." Hebron existed before Oslo, Rabin, Peres and Netanyahu and will continue to exist after them. Three thousand seven hundred years of history, of heritage, of Judaism cannot be eradicated by anyone or anything. There may be those who believe, for one reason or other, that they are above history. But history will prove them wrong. Just as the Jewish people are eternal, so are our roots. Nothing can severe those roots, because they are so deep, that they touch the very essence of existence. That is the status of Hebron. There may be setbacks, there may be failures - but these are temporary. We were exiled from Hebron from 1929 to 1967 against our wills, but we returned home - the same as we returned to Eretz Yisrael after a 2,000 year exile. We may again find ourselves facing a situation whereby most of Hebron is Judenrein. However, we will be back. Hebron-Past, Present and Forever is not only a slogan - it is an expression of truth - of essence. And just as it was, and is, it always will be.