Friday, January 17, 1997

Hebron - R.I.P.?

Hebron-Past, Present and Forever by David Wilder Hebron - R.I.P.? January 17, 1997

Last night Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking at a
press conference, told viewers that "Israel is not
withdrawing from Hebron, rather is resituating in
Hebron." Bibi has a way with words.
For that matter, so does MK Michael Eitan, a long-
time Hebron supporter. Explaining his acceptance of the
accords, he compares the abandonment to a doctor, who has
no choice but to amputate the patient's leg in order to
save his life. This sounds vaguely similar to the
`sacrifices for peace' we were so used to hearing from
the previous administration.
A little over a year ago I tried to express my
emotions when Beit Lechem was abandoned to Arafat. At
that time I wrote that Rachel cried. This week, for
almost two days it didn't stopped raining, for the first
time this winter. Now when Hebron, city of the Patriarchs
and Matriarchs is being abandoned, G-d is crying.
Many reporters have asked me if the present
agreement is better than the original Peres-Arafat Hebron
Accords. The answer is very simple. The two versions of
the Plan to Abandon Hebron are similar to two doctors.
The first doctor approaches the family of a sick patient
and informs them: "I'm sorry, but the patient is dead."
The other doctor approaches the family with a post-mortem
report, saying, "These are the reasons why the patient
died.' However you look at it, with the details, or
without the details, the patient is dead.
How is Hebron going to deal with the present
situation? Many people have asked me why we didn't
conduct a major demonstration today, or do something else
to convey our feelings. For well over a year we worked to
prevent the abandonment of Hebron. The fact that today
80% of Hebron was evacuated is not an indication of
failure. We did just about everything we could and
managed to postpone the final, awful moment for almost a
year. Seven ministers opposed Netanyahu's plan. We lost
because the other two ministers who should have voted
against the accords chickened out. The vote was 11 to 7.
It may very well come to pass that all those who voted to
implement the accords will be remembered in history as
are the 10 spies who, when reporting back to Moses in the
desert, rejected the possibility of conquering and living
in Eretz Yisrael. Those who voted against the agreement
will be recalled as are Yehoshua and Kalev, especially
former minister Benny Begin, who resigned as a result of
the government's decision. Unfortunately our Prime
Minister does not have the same courage as does Begin.
One thing should be clear: Over the past four years
the Jewish Community of Hebron had to prevail over
tremendous difficulties. With G-d's help, we were able
to overcome almost all the problems we faced during the
reign of Rabin-Peres. Just as we overcame four years of
oppression, so will we overcome the present predicament.
There are those who have written Hebron off - they
expect Hebron's Jewish community to leave. They have
declared: Hebron - Rest In Peace. For some reason they
really believe that we are in the midst of a peace
process. They also believe that a Jewish presence in
Hebron is provocative and unnecessary. But, they are
wrong. Only true peace brings true rest. Hebron will not
rest, surely not as part of this false peace. The lie
called Oslo will not allow us peace and quiet. Much to
the contrary. The more we concede, the more trouble we
will have. Hebron has been transformed into a `piece' -
the exact opposite of its true essence, which is total
What will happen to Hebron? One day, perhaps in the
near future, or even in the distant future, all of Hebron
will return to Jewish hands, as will Shechem, Beit
Lechem, and all of Judea, Samaria and Gazza. How can I
be so sure? It took from 1929 to 1967 for Jews to return
to Hebron. It took 2,000 years to return to Eretz
Yisrael, following the destruction of the Second Temple.
How, after so many years, were we able to return? The
answer is because the land of Israel is an integral
component of the Jewish People and for 2,000 years we
never forgot that. From 1929 to 1967 we never forgot our
attachment to the city of the Patriarchs. We yearned, we
prayed, we proclaimed `next year in Jerusalem,' even at
the cost of death, we sat on the ground one day every
year, in commemoration of the burning of the Temple and
the exile of Jews from Israel. We knew that Eretz
Yisrael belongs to Am Yisrael.
The immediate future will be very difficult - of
that I have no doubts or illusions. If the Jewish People
were able to overcome the results of a Holocaust that
left one third of our people murdered, and in spite of
that were able to create a viable state only three years
after the furnaces were extinguished, we can overcome
anything. It will not be easy, but we will persevere.
Only when there is a true and lasting peace, not a peace
of capitulation will we be able to add, after the word
Hebron - Rest in Peace.

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