Wednesday, May 20, 1998

The Rules of the Game

Last Thursday was the declared Arab-palestinian 'catastrophe day,' mourning the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel. The Arafat propaganda machine worked overtime, depicting the 'catastrophe' whereby one people's celebration is another people's lament. The promotion worked well; world media published accounts of Israeli independence at the expense of displaced Arabs. (I will not go into a detailed account of the charges leveled at Israel - suffice it to say that anyone interested in knowing what really happened is invited to read "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters. Ms. Peters, a journalist-historian arrived in Israel in the late 1970s to write an account of the 'poor palestinians.' However Ms. Peters had a trait rare among journalists: integrity. As she proceeded to research her project, she discovered that her fundamental premise was erroneous. The resulting book, a fascinating study including facts and figures, is fully documented. It is required reading for any serious student of Middle East studies and the Arab-Israeli conflict.)
Arafat did not intend for 'Catastrophe Day' to be an introspective, palestinian version of 'Tisha b'Av.' A siren wailed for two minutes in the morning, marking the calamity. Then the protests began. And Arab protests are not known for their orderliness. Of course, the primary target was Hebron. Media accounts described 'disturbances' which actually consisted of rioting, rock-thowing, firebomb attacks, and shooting. In short, nothing less than minor warfare. From last Thursday, through yesterday morning, a total of six days, the Jewish Community of Hebron was under attack. Dozens and dozens of firebombs were hurled - rocks flew through air, all aimed at Israelis, civilians and soldiers. Two nights ago Arab terrorists, standing on the side of the TransJudea Road, a few miles outside of Hebron, emptied two rifle magazines on an IDF jeep. Ten bullets hit the front windshield. The only reason that no one was killed is because Israeli military vehicles are bulletproofed.
The next morning a firebomb hit an IDF jeep on the road to Tel Rumeida in Hebron. Tel Rumeida is a neighborhood located at the site of Tel Hebron - the home of Abraham, the site of King David's palace, the site of the Tomb of Jessie - King David's father. The neighborhood is accessible via one road - a narrow, bending hill bordering on the H1 - Arafat controlled section of Hebron. Numerous times since last Thursday the road was closed because of Arab rock and firebomb attacks. The neighborhood was literally cut off from the rest of Jewish Hebron. Israeli reaction was almost nonexistent. When soldiers were finally allowed to respond, at which time they shot rubber-coated bullets at the attackers, Israel was labeled as the 'aggressor.'
Prior to the signing and implementation of the Hebron Accords, the Hebron community Jewish leadership warned any and all Israeli political figures: If Israel withdraws from these areas, we will be under constant attack in Hebron. We walked with all of Israel's leaders, including ministers, MKs, and others, throughout Hebron pointing out specific rooftops, hilltops, and other land areas. We warned them in language plainly understandable to any three year old: "If you give this to Arafat, it will endanger our lives. Arabs will attack us from all of these points." Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, all of our predictions have come true. Not because we are prophets - but because the realities were so blatant that they were impossible to miss. Like the Emperors New Clothes.
Yesterday morning, after a firebomb hit the army jeep, the driver stopped, got out, examined the damage, and then continued on his way, continuing without any reaction whatsoever to the attempt on his life. The firebombs and rocks were being thrown from a rooftop only meters from the road. But that particular house is located in the H1 - Arafat side of Hebron, leaving it immune from any Israeli response.
Of course, this lack of reprisal can have only one result - continued attacks on military and civilian targets. A short time afterwards a few Tel Rumeida residents, unable to accept this situation, stood in the middle of the road, on the hill leading to the Jewish neighborhood. After a few minutes car horns were honking, and before you could snap your fingers Israeli police and soldiers appeared, as out of thin air. When rocks and firebombs threat our lives, the street is empty. When a few Jews close the road for a few minutes, well, this is a major crime.
The security forces pushed the Jewish 'criminals' off the street onto the sidewalk. We have been there ever since, having established a protest vigil at the site. Soldiers were stationed on rooftops overlooking the Arab house from where the attacks originated. Israeli patrols actually 'crossed the border' (ssh ssh - it's a secret and against the accords) to try and stop further attacks. And most miraculously, the police and army have 'allowed' the vigil to continue. (Days of the Messiah have arrived.)
Immediately after the protest vigil started, a top police officer arrived and entered into a discussion with some of those present. Of course he objected to the closing of the road and threatened to arrest the offenders. After hearing explanations, focussing around the fact that without some kind of Jewish 'provocation' the attacks would continue, his response was: "What, you people live under illusions that their won't be firebomb and rock attacks? There are rules to the game - it is forbidden for you to cause trouble."
It is worrisome that a man in uniform, whose primary duty is to insure security asks, 'what you have illusions that their won't be firebombs or rocks?' However my impression is that his response is due to indoctrination fed to him before he arrived in Hebron. He hasn't been here too long. But there are others - who have been around for a long time. What about them?
Those who drew up Oslo were warned. Now, due to their unbelievable foresight, some are actually being promoted. General Uzi Dayan, one of the major players in drawing up and implementing Oslo, is being moved up from Central Command to Deputy Commander in Chief. He helped design the maps which gave the Arabs the ability to attack us without allowing the reciprocal ability of the Israeli Defense Forces to appropriately respond.
But his rules aren't our rules. The dice, according to Dayan and some of his friends, are loaded. That's what the police officer said - "don't rock the boat - it's forbidden to 'cause trouble.' " But we don't play by their rules, rules which negate our existence, and our very right to be in Hebron. Mr. Police Officer, Mr. General, Mr. Defense Minister, Mr. Prime Minister: KNOW - there are real rules and there is cheating. We don't cheat. If you do, you will be caught. When you cheat, you are disqualified from the game. It is you, not us, who must start to play by the rules. We too know that there are rules to the game.
Rule number one: Survival.

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Friday, May 8, 1998

Shedding Darkness

Yesterday evening a meeting between the Attorney General's
staff and the Jewish Community of Hebron leadership took place
in Jerusalem. Among those present were Attorney General
Elyakim Rubinstein, chief prosecutor Edna Arbel, and
prosecutors Talia Sasson and Navah ben Oor. Those attending
on behalf of Hebron included MK Hanan Porat (NRP), Chairman of
the Knesset Committee for Law and Justice, Noam Arnon, Rabbi
Hillel Horowitz, Avraham ben Yosef and Mrs. Orit Struck.

The truth is that is was very difficult to sit through the
duration of the meeting. Elyakim Rubinstein's office is
adorned with pictures of people he has worked with. One of the
most prominent pictures is that of former US Secretary of
State Warren Christopher. Opposite Rubinstein's desk, on the
wall facing him, is a huge photograph of the White House Lawn:
Bill Clinton in the middle, Yitzhak Rabin on one side, and Abu
Mazzen on the other. Clinton is smiling. Rabin is signing.
Rubinstein is showing him where to sign.

Elyakim Rubinstein, aged 51, a religious man, has held many
important and prestigious posts during his public career He
worked for the Shamir administration, but for some reason
continued in office during the Rabin-Peres tenure. He
participated in negotiating Oslo, and most specifically, the
accords with Jordan. Before his appointment as Attorney
General he served as a judge.

The meeting was called as a result of the revelation of the
'special law enforcement regulations' which define
discriminatory law enforcement rules aimed at residents of
Judea, Samaria and Gazza, and most specifically, Hebron.

One of the specific instructions in the 'special regulations'
requires the prosecutor's office to give priority to court
cases against 'settlers.' At the outset of the meeting a
letter written by Supreme Court President Aharon Barak was
presented to the Attorney General. Written in 1995, the letter
is in response to a question posed by court secretary, Judge
Ravivi. Barak writes, "Priority may not be given to any court
case because of the location of accused's home, be it Judea,
Samaria, Gazza, or anywhere else." None of the prosecutors
were familiar with this ruling. They received a copy of the
letter and promised to examine it.

The meeting had a number of specific goals:
1. A demand that the 'special regulations' be voided, or, at
the very least, suspended.

2. A demand that an impartial committee, totally unrelated to
the AG's office review and revise the 'special regulations.'

3. A demand that all cases, indictments, and allegations
caused as a result of these regulations be suspended and
reviewed by an impartial committee.

4. A demand that the 'special regulations' be made public, for
all to read.

5. A demand that law enforcement in Hebron be applied equally
to Arabs as well as Jews.

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein categorically rejected
all of these demands.

Time after time Rubinstein said, "you have to remember the
background around which these rules were written. This was the
'era of the stormy demonstrations.' " Our reply - we remember
this time period as the 'era of murders - rocks - firebombs,

In reply to MK Hanan Porat's request that the 'regulations' be
suspended, Rubinstein answered, "These regulations are an
established framework .. what can you do but realize that in
Israel law enforcement has been placed in the hands of the
Attorney General and the prosecutor's office and not in the
hands of politicians." Porat, Chairman of the Knesset Law and
Justice Committee responded: "It is my job to guarantee that
those involved in law enforcement do so honestly and justly."

Why should these 'regulations' remain secret? Following a
careful reading of the entire document, Hebron leaders were
unable to find any 'security secrets' that should prevent its
publication, for all to read and judge. Chief prosecutor Edna
Arbel agreed. AG Rubinstein: "I have instructed that these
'regulations' be reviewed and changed where we decide
necessary. I think it preferable to publish the 'new edition'
of the 'regulations' after they have been modified."

Concerning the request to suspend all cases initiated as a
result of these 'regulations,' Rubinstein answered that he
cannot give 'blanket orders' concerning any one segment of the
population, (in spite of the fact that these 'regulations' are
enforced AGAINST one specific segment of the population). He
suggested writing individual letters requesting an injunction
to suspend hearings in specific cases. Our reply - we have
been doing this for over a year - all of the responses we
receive are negative.

Perhaps the most important and significant demand deals with
equality under the law. This pertains to two aspects of law
enforcement: Jew vs. Jew and Jew vs. Arab. For example, why
should a Jewish child in Hebron be indicted for throwing a
snowball when, in Jerusalem, or anywhere else in the country,
this would never, ever, be considered a 'crime?.' Or, why are
Jews in Hebron brutally beaten and arrested for demonstrating
against continued Arab violence against them, when Jewish
demonstrators in other parts of the country burn tires, block
roads, close factories, etc, and nothing is done to them?.

On the other side of the coin - why are Jews who react to Arab
violence prosecuted, when the Arabs who initiate the violence
are never arrested? How is it possible that thousands of
rocks, firebombs, and explosive devices are hurled at Jews,
and none of the perpetrators are apprehended? Two specific
examples: A Hebron family had, over the period of one month,
12 firebombs thrown at their house. None of the Arab
perpetrators was caught, in spite of the fact that the
firebombs were thrown from within the Israeli controlled part
of Hebron. The twelfth firebomb struck their porch.
It burned the laundry hanging outside - it had been placed
there only moments before. It barely missed hitting a Hebron woman. Her
husband, Shalom, saw the Arab terrorist, ran after him and
caught him. Accordingly, he didn't handle him with kid gloves.
Both Shalom and the Arab were indicted: the Arab for throwing
the firebomb, and Shalom, for hitting him. When Hebron Jewish
residents arrived at the Arab's trial as witnesses, they were
told that they were no longer needed. The Arab agreed to plea
bargain - his sentence was minimal. When Shalom requested an
injunction to temporarily suspend the hearing against him, it
was refused.

In another case, several months ago an Arab jumped from an
adjoining house into the Avraham Avinu neighborhood courtyard
with a knife. He was apprehended and imprisoned. A few weeks
ago he was released into the custody of the palestinian
authority, which has absolutely no jurisdiction in the case,
as it occurred in Israeli controlled Hebron. Why wasn't he
tried by Israel?

Rubinstein had two answers: 1) "Security" is in the
responsibility of the IDF - the Israeli army, not the police
or the DA's office." 2) The 'accords' have created a situation
whereby it is very difficult to deal properly with Arab law
offenders." In other words, if two people stand next to each
other - one a Jew and the other an Arab, and they both throw
rocks, the Jew is arrested, indicted, tried, and convicted.
The Arab is ignored.

The Hebron representatives attempted to show, as of yet
unsuccessfully, the absurdity of this situation. Why are
Hebron's police only allowed to arrest Jewish lawbreakers and
not Arab offenders? Why should Jews in Hebron be held
accountable for actions that any Israeli citizen in any other
part of the country is not held accountable for?

AG Rubinstein claimed that these 'special regulations' were
unknown to almost everyone, including himself and his chief
prosecutor, Edna Arbel. This, in spite of the fact that at
least one of the authors of the 'regulations' was present in
the room with us. This, in spite of the fact that one of the
prosecutors heads a special 'black list' committee which meets
once a month, to coordinate positions of the army, police,
intelligence forces and prosecutors, in regard to 'offenders,'
as is written in the 'regulations.'

Chief prosecutor Edna Arbel claimed that the AG's office is
nothing more than a conduit - they receive cases from the
police and decide whether their is enough proof to warrant a

One of the more humorous moments took place when one of the
senior prosecutors, read a 'random list' of offenses,
committed by Hebron residents. She started by saying that an
overwhelming majority of crimes committed by Jews in Judea and
Samaria were perpetrated by Hebron residents. She must have
read 20 or 30 offences. About 95% of them, if not all of them,
involved one of the following crimes: Bothering a police
officer, insulting a police officer or public servant,
attempting to cause a police officer to fail in his attempt to
uphold the law, attacking a police officer.

"Where are the attacks against Arabs," we asked her. Her
response: "Hebron's Jewish residents commit very specific
kinds of crimes."

Just for the record: If you look cross-eyed at a policeman,
you are charged with insulting him. If he tells you to move
during a demonstration and you don't, you are charged with
bothering him. If you ask him why he arrested someone else,
you are charged with attempting to cause a police officer to
fail in his attempt to uphold the law. A Hebron woman was
charged with attacking a police officer because she filmed
Hebron police arresting her husband.

The 'special regulations' shed much light on Israeli democracy and
Israeli justice. Or perhaps I should say, they shed darkness,
because they remind me of stories told about persecution in
Russia and other former Iron Curtain countries. This certainly
is not the kind of justice that anyone would expect in
'democratic' Israel, fifty years after creation of the State.

It is our hope that following this meeting the AG's office
will seriously consider the points made and conclude, as we
have, that in the name of true justice, these 'regulations'
must be expunged, now and forever.

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Sunday, May 3, 1998

CPT - Squalor on the Face of the Earth

CPT is the abbreviated name of Christian Peacekeeping Teams. This
primarily Mennonite group ends each of its internet postings with the
following signature:

'CPT Hebron has maintained a violence reduction presence in Hebron since
June of 1995 at the invitation of the Hebron Municipality.'

Hebron Municipality = Arab Mayor Mustepha Natsche

What does CPT really stand for? On February 18, they posted the following:
"CPT calls on Christians committed to stop hostility towards Iraqi people
to wear ribbons with the words FOOD NOT MISSILES inscribed on them.The
ribbons will signify our faith that food for people in Iraq rather than
missiles represents the deepest will of God."

Blatant, official support for Saddam Hussein.

Members of CPT have been arrested and imprisoned in the United States
following violent and illegal demonstrations.

These people preach peace and non-violence. In fact, they implement the
exact opposite.

Fact: Art Gish from AthensOhio was detained in Hebron for attempting to
aid a Palestinian terrorist who had just stabbed a 14 year old Jewish girl.
According to eye witnesses, he stepped on the knife used in the attack in
order to hide the evidence from the IDF.

Fact: A number of CPT members have been deported and/or denied entry into
Israel. Others have been arrested for participating in violent
confrontations with the Israeli Defense Forces and other Israeli security

How impartial is CPT? Last June, CPT member Kathleen Kern was interviewed
by IMRA's Aaron Lerner. An excerpt:

IMRA: Do the current disturbances, with rock, firebomb, and bomb throwing,
fall into this category (of supporting non-violent protests)? Kern: No.
There is not a lot we can do but watch. IMRA: What are you doing to stop
this violence? Kern: We are not set up to deal with the sort of things that
have been happening in the market. It is much easier to work on STRUCTURAL
VIOLENCE like land confiscation and the demolition of houses. IMRA: Have
you thought of trying to influence the local population.? Kern: It would be
patronizing for us to come in and say "we want to develop you.The roots of
violence, what is happening in the market place, reflects the underlying

What do these people spend their days doing? Adorned in red baseball hats,
they walk the streets of Hebron, looking for trouble. They have even begun
giving 'tours' of Hebron to unsuspecting Christian groups, spreading their
venomous duplicity. History takes a back seat to falsehood - Jewish
property is 'occupied Arab land.'

On April 18, 1998, THE DAY BEFORE Dov Dribin was murdered, CPT members
visited Arabs living in the vicinity of Maon. They posted an article
specifically mentioning and vilifying Dov Dribin.

On April 26 they posted:
"Another visitor in the hospital room shared some of the following details.
Ahmed, a Palestinian from Yatta was travelling near the area last Sunday.
He reported that he left the car and walked along the rocky goat paths of
the grazing land. Driben and the other injured settler had already been
lifted by helicopter and taken to a hospital in Beersheba. Dabadseh was
lying motionless on the ground and bleeding from bullet wounds to his
chest, below his right shoulder, and in his right arm. Israeli soldiers,
police and settler security paid no attention to Dabadseh. Ahmed picked up
the injured Dabadseh and put him on one of the many donkeys that were
nearby. As he put it, "I stole him from the soldiers so I could take him
to the hospital"

On May 1, they posted the following:
Hebron: A Short Concise Background

"Since the early 1980s, this quiet land of shepherds has become dotted with
Israeli settlements. These settlements are built and subsidized by the
government of Israel in arrogant disregard for international law, under
which they are illegal. They are built on Palestinian land confiscated by
the Israeli Defense Force (IDF, the army). Recently 100 families in the
area were given eviction notices by the IDF to make room for more
settlements. Israelis living in these settlements that look more like
military camps than residential communities are well armed and given free
reign by the IDF to terrorize the local Palestinians. For years the most
infamous of these settlers has been Dov Dribin. We have heard countless
first hand accounts of Dov's brutality, including two execution style
murders in which he tied the hands of his victims before shooting them.
Dov and the other settlers in this area have romantic visions of themselves
as cowboys, claiming the land for Israel and exterminating the "savages"
who inhabit it.

On April 19, Dov and several others blocked a group of unarmed Palestinians
who were trying to get to their fields. According to eye witness accounts,
Dov and one of the Palestinian farmers began to struggle. Dov yelled to
one of his settler friends, "Shoot him! Shoot him!". The settler shot,
missed the Palestinian and killed Dov."

Of course, the libelous allegations in these reports are pure,
unadulterated lies.

1. Dov Dribin never killed anyone - he was never
investigated, indicted, or tried for murder.

2. Dov Dribin was shot at least five times in the chest and once in the
head. He was not shot by one of his friends. He was murdered by an Arab who
grabbed a weapon from one of Dov's friends. Dov was unarmed and was known
not to carry a weapon.

3. Eye witnesses at the scene of the murder have given detailed accounts of
what actually happened. No Arab was left lying, bleeding, in the field. All
the Arabs involved fled, including those who claim to have been shot.

4. The community of Maon was legally established by the Israeli government
over a decade ago. The small farm being developed by Dov Dribin and his
friends is located on land officially belonging to the State of Israel. Dov
and his friends were never asked, or ordered to evacuate the farm.

5. In the vicinity of the murder, there are not any "Arab fields."

6. International law disallows the use of murder and terrorism, the likes
of which have been perpetrated against Israelis by Arabs in all parts of
the country, including Judea and Samaria. CPT seems to have forgotten this.

7. International law does not prohibit Jews from living on their own land
in Eretz Yisrael.

Under a guise of 'violence reduction presence' this group of anti-Semitic
Israel-haters continues to incite Arabs in Hebron, and in the Hebron area,
against Israelis living here. This incitement may very well have been
instrumental in Dov Dribin's murder. Those responsible should be arrested
and imprisoned. As for the others, it is time for Israeli security and
legal forces to take all measures necessary to evict this squalor from
Hebron and from Israel before they do any more damage.

In the mean time, anyone desiring to express opinions directly to CPT is
invited to write to them at: (Christian Peacemaker Teams,
Chicago, IL).

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