Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Ha’aretz Hooligans

The Ha’aretz Hooligans
February 17, 2004

HaAretz is at it again, playing its favorite game, “Hebron Bashing.” Only a few days ago it was announced that David Landau, editor of the English edition of the newspaper, was appointed editor-in-chief of the Hebrew morning daily.

Landau, a religiously observant Jew, actually visited Hebron a few years ago and toured with Noam Arnon and myself. Upon his appointment, Landau stressed that the paper’s traditional views, (extremely left-wing) would not change during his tenure. It seems that Landau set out to immediately prove his point. And what better a way than by viciously attacking Hebron’s Jewish community.

Yesterday HaAretz newspaper printed a piece of journalist junk, an interview with the outgoing head of TIPH – the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. And today the paper’s lead editorial is headlined “Hooligan’s in Hebron.”

Let’s start with TIPH. In order to understand this organization, let’s start with a quote from a former TIPH observer from Norway, interviewed in an Oslo suburb newspaper, ‘Nordstrands Blad’, on April 5, 2000.  The article begins, “Hebron has always been a Palestinian city with a small Jewish population.”  When asked about Palestinian violence, the observer, Yngvil Mortensen said, “Would you have liked to be checked three times a day by foreign soldiers? Or that your city is occupied by a foreign power? … If we compare with the German occupation of Norway during the 2nd World War, we called the sabotage and attacks on Germans resistance fighting.”

There you have it: A TIPH observer comparing the Jews to Nazis and the Palestinians to resistance fighters.

TIPH is comprised of observers from six nations: Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Turkey and Italy. Most of the Scandinavian observers are human rights activists, while most of the others, from Turkey and Italy, held security-related positions. They are stationed in Hebron as a result of the Hebron Accords, signed and implemented seven years ago. According to their mandate, they are in Hebron to… “assist in monitoring and reporting the efforts to maintain normal life in the City of Hebron, thus creating a feeling of security among Palestinians in the City of Hebron.” A short glance at the TIPH homepage [www.tiph.org] as well as the rest of the site, quickly confirms that their presence in Hebron is strictly for ‘the palestinians.’ They care not what happens to the Jews.

This fact is enhanced during the interview with the outgoing TIPH director Jan Kristensen, who condemns curfews imposed on Hebron’s Arabs and destruction of terrorist homes, but says NOT ONE WORD about the vicious attacks and murder of Jews in the Hebron region. Why does Kristensen ignore the killing of 10 month old Shalhevet Pass while sitting in her stroller, of Gadi and Dina Levi, while walking down the street in Hebron on a Saturday afternoon, of  Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz, while enjoying their Friday night Shabbat meal in Kiryat Arba? Why does he conveniently forget the terror attack which cut down 12 men, soldiers and civilians between Hebron and Kiryat Arba on a Friday night just over a year ago? Why does Kristensen neglect to mention that fact that Hebron’s Jews were shot at, every day and every night, for over two years. That, in the opinion of the ‘head of mission,’ is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, ‘the activity of the settlers and the army in the H-2 area of Hebron is creating an irreversible situation. In a sense, cleansing is being carried out.”

On January 17, 1997, when Israel abandoned 80% of Hebron to Arafat and the PA terrorists, Jibril Rajoub, then head of PA security in Hebron said, “We have liberated 80% of the city. The other 20% is like a heavy weight around our necks, which we must cast off.”

The Arabs have never been bashful about asserting what they view as their legitimate rights to Hebron and its holy sites. Ma’arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the second holiest site to the Jewish people in the world, was off-limits to Jews for 700 years, from 1267 until 1967, because, according to the Moslems, ‘it is a mosque and only Moslems can worship in a mosque.’ This, despite the fact that the structure above the original caves was build by Herod, King of Judea, 2,000 years ago, i.e., 600 years before Muhammad was born.

A few years ago the deputy Arab mayor of Hebron, Kamel Dweck, in an interview with Aaron Lerner of IMRA reiterated this opinion that only Moslems may pray in Ma’arat HaMachpela, and that should that Arabs ever control the site, Jews would be forbidden from entering and praying there.

Despite these facts, despite the murderous aggression against Hebron’s Jewish population, whose intended goal is the eviction of Jews from Hebron, despite the fact that the IDF actions in Hebron have been implemented strictly to offer protection to Hebron Jewish residents and visitors, while attempting to prevent the spread of Hebron-initiated Arab terror to other parts of Israel, HEBRON’S JEWS ARE PRACTICING ETHNIC CLEASING – NOT THE ARABS!
The Ha’aretz editorial gives full backing to Kristensen’s verbal abuse of Hebron’s residents, and his insinuated demand that Hebron’s Jews be expelled from their homes because, “personally I don’t believe that it is possible for normal life to exist in Hebron between the communities, even if there are agreements between the leaders.”

The Ha’Aretz TIPH-supportive, anti-Hebron editorial demands: “The government must reexamine its forgiving policies toward the extremist settlers in Hebron.” These ‘forgiving policies’ include over 100 criminal files opened by the police last year against Hebron residents and at least 50 cases presently before the court. (A few other interesting ‘forgiving’ statistics. In Netania, there is one policeman per 1,600 people. In Ma’ale Adumim, one policeman per 243 people. In Hebron, there is one policeman per every 138 people! In all of the State of Israel, only 20% of the police files opened are brought to court. In Hebron, 68% of the files are brought to court. Of all the cases brought to trial in Israel, there is an 86% conviction rate. According to attorneys handling Hebron cases, the conviction rate in Hebron is about 25%, and the conviction rate in all of the cases in Judea and Samaria is 54%.)

We fully agree with the editorial position that the Defense Minister must ‘order the properties returned to their lawful owners.’ The ‘properties’ mentioned in the editorial refer to the former ‘Arab market’ which presently houses young Jewish families. This market, which ‘belongs’ to the State Custodian for Abandoned Property, was built on Jewish-owned land, and rightfully belongs to the Jews in Hebron. It should be legally recognized as such by the State of Israel. (See: www.hebron.com/news/marketresponse.htm) In addition, many other properties, legally Jewish-owned but presently occupied by Arabs or in possession of the above-mentioned custodian, should be returned to its rightful Jewish owners.

Concerning TIPH, the Hebron Jewish community demands that these anti-Israel, Arab-biased foreigners be removed from Hebron immediately. According to Kristensen, “I ask myself all the time what we are doing in Hebron.” He may not know, but we do. TIPH is a terrorist-serving organization, offering daily support to Jew killers. They have no place in Hebron or in Israel. They, not Hebron’s Jews, must be expelled from the city. (See: www.hebron.com/news/tipharticles.htm)

As for Ha’aretz, the editorial’s bogus assertion that “it’s not the armed, warmongering settlers who need protection, but the thousands of helpless Palestinians” borders on incitement. We call on the Ha’aretz Hooligans to open their eyes, examine the facts as they really are, not as they imagine them, and stop aiding and abetting the enemies of the State of Israel, who are attacking and murdering its loyal, patriotic citizens.

With blessings from Hebron.

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