Wednesday, January 1, 1997

A Virtual Visit

A Virtual VisitJanuary 1, 1997
It is virtually impossible to understand Hebron without
visiting, seeing, feeling, and experiencing, the streets,
the neighborhoods, the children, the adults, the sites,
and the sounds of the City of the Patriarchs. So many
people, even the most staunch of Hebron's supporters, who
for one reason or another have either never been to
Hebron, or haven't visited for many years, only realize
the real significance of redeployment in Hebron after
spending a few hours touring the city. How many times
have I heard a guest exclaim: "Now I understand what you
are talking about."
However, sometimes this same remark is not welcomed.
It depends who says it. For example, not too long ago,
one of the most important military officials in the
country, a full general, visited the Jewish Community.
Part of the tour included a visit to the Abu Snenah
hilltop, overlooking the Jewish neighborhoods. This
hilltop, less than a kilometer from the Avraham Avinu
residences, is to be turned over to Arafat and represents
a significant danger to all Jews in Hebron. Standing
atop Abu Snenah, scanning the view, the general turned to
his host, one of the leaders of Hebron's Jewish Community
and also uttered, "Now I understand what you are talking
about." How is it, that a full general, with
responsibility for the lives of Israelis throughout the
country, who was sent to Hebron to try to convince the
Jewish community to finally agree to implementation of
previously rejected `security measures,' only now becomes
truly aware of "what we are talking about?"

Lately I have added a new site to visit in Hebron.

I subject my tourists to a long climb up to the rooftop
of one of the apartment buildings in the Avraham Avinu
neighborhood. Looking around, at least at first, the
view is phenomenal. That is, before I start explaining:
"Look over here, in back of us. You see these
buildings. They have been abandoned for decades. Here,
underneath us, look inside the window. Arab workmen are
renovating, compliments of Saudi Arabian funding. From
that window, a terrorist can literally jump into one of
our apartments. And we know that Arafat is planning on
populating these buildings with terrorists released from
Israeli jails. The women who lives here, in the
apartment underneath us, has a clear view of that window.
She watches it, day after day. When the Arabs begin
working, she calls the police. They come and send the
Arabs home. A few hours later they are back. And it
begins again.

And look to your right. You can see the fresh

cement, poured a few days ago, directly under an IDF
outpost. The same thing is happening there. In most of
these areas the renovations are permitted, in spite of
the fact that they could be stopped, for reasons of
security. But the building continues.

In back of the these buildings you can see hills.

These hills are called Harat el-Shech. They too are
going to Arafat. They overlook Beit Hadassah and Beit
Shneerson. Our homes are within shooting range of these
hill. Three years ago, Arab terrorists fired a Lowe
missile from this hill into Beit Shneerson.

Now, come over here, to the other side of the

rooftop. Here we see Abu Snenah. From Abu Shenah you
can see us standing here on this roof. You can clearly
view the entrance we use into Ma'arat HaMachpela. You can
peer into Tel Rumeida. This hilltop overlooks the road
leading from Hebron to Kiryat Arba to Jerusalem. In
short, Abu Snenah controls Jewish Hebron.

Now, look down. Here you see the entrance to the

Avraham Avinu neighborhood. To the right of the entrance
is the Arab market, due to be reopened. In order to
separate between Jews and Arabs, the army is planning on
building a wall, cutting the entrance in half, leaving us
a corridor into the neighborhood. We won't have anywhere
to park our automobiles. When Yitzhak Mordechai visited
here he wasn't interested where we'll park our cars. But
he asked the officers with him how the Arab merchants
would be able to unload their produce.

That street in front of the entrance, that is the

most famous street in the world, called Shuhada by the
Arabs, and King David by us. That street is the only
street we are allowed to travel on in Hebron. It isn't
our major traffic artery - it is our only one. The rest
of Hebron is off-limits - closed military territory. If
this road is reopened to Arab traffic, it will fill up
with trucks leaving the market. It will be impossible to
get from neighborhood to neighborhood without getting
caught up in major traffic jams. And we won't have any
alternative-we haven't anywhere else to go. Should a
terrorist leave a carbomb on the street, or bring a truck
filled with explosives into the market and blow it up -
well, Israeli military officials have expressed their
grave reservations concerning reopening the street and
the market - reservations which Netanyahu has ignored.

So actually what you see from this rooftop are most

of the most serious security problems created by Oslo's
Hebron accords. The Arabs are surrounding us -
attempting to strangle us from all directions. This is
Hebron, the morning after implementation of Oslo here, in
the city of the Patriarchs.

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