Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Will David Cohen Die Again?

Will David Cohen Die Again?
January 7, 2004

Almost two months ago four ex-security chiefs made international headlines when they “chided Israel,” in the words of a BBC article. “The men called for Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and dismantle Jewish settlements, or face "disaster"” []. Included in the group were four ex-heads of the Israeli Shin-Bet security services, all of whom are extremely left wing.
A couple of days ago another ex-security chief, Ephraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, repeated and expanded upon his opinions concerning the current political situation.

In an article by Ari Shavit, published September 6, 2003 in Ha’aretz newspaper, Halevy says:
"The road map is not a road map. It is a plan for an imposed settlement. It marks out a clear route that leads to an imposed settlement. I don't think an imposed settlement is good for Israel. It's not good for the Palestinians, either. History shows that every imposed settlement has been a temporary settlement. So I believe that our future here in the region has to be based on our learning one day to live with the Arabs and the Palestinians. I believe that is an attainable goal, but it can't be attained by means of some imposed Pax Americana. I don't think the Americans have an interest in this kind of Pax Americana, either. It will impose on the United States responsibility that it won't be able to come to terms with…In the Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the rights of the Palestinians and in return obtained their agreement not to advance their goals by force. Not to use terrorism. Throughout the entire process, the Palestinians recognized only our reality, whereas we recognized their rights. That was a mistake. The road map repeats that mistake. It demands that Israel give the Palestinians strategic assets and in return all Israel gets is a war against terrorism and another war against terrorism. That's not good enough. It's even dangerous. It is liable to lead us in the end into a situation in which we will find ourselves close to the 1967 borders without the Palestinians having recognized Israel's right of existence and without their having forgone the right of return."

A couple of days ago, speaking to foreign journalists, Halevy restated these thoughts, calling the roadmap’s time line ‘irrelevant,’ and adding, "The road map... cannot be implemented. It can not be implemented. We know this, and the Palestinians know this, and the United States knows this.”

HaLevy called on the Sharon government to reconsider uprooting of settlements because of ‘their strategic importance.’ He said, “Settlement uprooting should be reconsidered due to their present strategic importance, and not as they were yesterday or the day before. Strategic considerations are not inflexible. They change over years.”

Included in the ‘first list’ of four ‘illegal outposts’ to be eradicated is “Hazon David,” near Kiryat Arba. When a staff member from the American consulate called and asked me about the “Hazon David outpost” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Only later did I discover that the tent-synagogue called Hazon David, just outside the west gate of Kiryat Arba, below the Givat HaAvot neighborhood, is classified as an ‘illegal outpost.’  According to the powers-that-be, this site is to be deleted from the face of the earth.

Last Saturday night several hundred people gathered at the synagogue, together with two Knesset members and Hebron-Kiryat Arba leaders. All the speakers said the ‘right’ things, basically reiterating what we all know.  The protest was an important show of support against destruction of the synagogue.

In my opinion, however, the following letter, sent earlier this week to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, says it all:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

With this letter, we turn to you, requesting from you a small sanctuary, a synagogue serving as a living memorial, dedicated at the site of the murder of our beloved son, David Cohen, HY”D, who was killed by wicked people, and is now defined as an ‘outpost’ due to be evacuated.

Two and a half years ago our son was murdered at the gates to Kiryat Arba. Since then, our world collapsed. Our world is not large but was filled by our son David, with tremendous love. His departure from our lives has left a void, empty of any content. During holidays, our pain increases sevenfold.

Small consolation and a new light entered our lives, knowing that at the site of our son's murder, at the gates of Kiryat Arba, a synagogue was established. This site gave us some comfort, where we were able to pour out our hearts and worship to the Creator of the world, about our son.

Using our scant resources, we purchased chairs and holy books for worshipers at the site, which newsmen and military officials see as a tattered tent. However, for us, the knowledge that every day and every Shabbat people are present there, studying and praying in memory of our dear son, granted us a new life.

Our thoughts escorted this synagogue, which is, for us, a memorial to our son David, at the site of his killing.

Several days ago our wound was reopened and refuses to heal. We read in newspapers that the site of our son’s memorial has been marked for destruction, G-d forbid, and that a military command ordering its removal has been signed.

Believe us, Mr. Prime Minister, we feel as though our son has again been sentenced to death, without being guilty of anything, and he can only be saved by a pardon.

We turn to you from the depths of our hearts, not out of consideration for the settlers, not due to political or security considerations. Rather only out of considerations of pain, of memory, of humanistic considerations, which no one excepting you could understand.

We beseech you, leave our son’s memorial!  Leave the tent where it is. It looks tattered and worn-out, but even with its shreds and neglect is so special and worth so much to us.

Nothing will be able to replace this tent, established at the site of our son’s murder, nothing will be able to compensate for the loss and the memorial.

With hope that you will take this letter into consideration,

Yaffa and Ya’akov Cohen

So, that is the question: Will Ariel Sharon and Shaul Mufaz force David Cohen HY”D to die again?

With blessings from Hebron.

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