Tuesday, March 17, 1998

Collaborative Lynch

The past few days have witnessed new heights in attempts to annihilate Hebron's Jewish Community. That is very strong language, I know, and I'm sure some of your think I'm exaggerating. Unfortunately, I'm not.
"The Jewish settlement in Hebron, which was established three years ago…was a mistake from the start and the price that Israel has had to pay for the failure of its weak-kneed governments to correct this error has not diminished with time…
…the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron, who are members of the most radical ideological nucleus in the whole settler population, are ready at any moment to fan the flames…
After the residents of the Abu Snenah neighborhood began hurling Molotov cocktails at the houses of the Jewish residents, groups of Hebron settlers carried out personal vendettas against the city's Arab inhabitants.
…the treatment extended to the settlers is invariably characterized by leniency and understanding. That is what is happening this time as well.
The political future of Hebron's Jewish inhabitants will ultimately be decided in a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian…In the meantime, attempts should at least be made to force these inhabitants to obey the same laws to which all other Israelis are subject and leniency should be exercised only where it is absolutely called for."
This quotes are from an editorial published in today's Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper.
Yesterday's Ha'aretz has a headline saying "Settler, IDF rift growing"
Two headlines in Monday's Jerusalem Post: Shahak (Commander-in-Chief of the IDF): " Hebron Jews alienate soldiers" - "15 Hebron Jews ignore public summons"
In Sunday's Ha'aretz -"IDF:Settlers caused Hebron violence" - "There was a clear provocation by the settlers, " said senior military sources.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

The same types of statements were broadcast over Israel television and radio. On Saturday night, the fact that the Avraham Avinu neighborhood was shot at twice on Friday night and once on Tuesday night, was never mentioned.
Israeli politicians haven't been lax either. Today, MK Ron Cohen of Meretz (whose daughter is married to an Arab) blamed Hebron's Jews for the death of an eleven year old Arab boy who was hit in the head by a rubber bullet during violent, rock-throwing demonstrations in the city. Cohen asserted that the Jews were responsible for the violence leading to the Arab demonstration. This, as a result of entering into the Abu-Snenah hilltops on Friday night. However, Cohen was a little mixed up, because the boy was shot last Wednesday. Cohen is, it seems, unaware that Wednesday is two days before Friday.
Earlier today IMRA director Dr. Aaron Lerner interviewed MK Ron Cohen and asked him about this seeming discrepancy. At first, Cohen didn't seem to understand Lerner's questions. When he finally began to comprehend that Wednesday is actually before Friday, he said that he would, "check it out." Later, Lerner spoke to Ron Cohen again:
Cohen: "Look. It does in fact turn out that the boy was wounded two days before. And the settlers knew that he was on his deathbed. So first of all, I checked out the facts and I am sorry for the mistake. But since the settlers knew that this was the situation and despite this they wanted to go in there in order to cause the army to act, and the army acted and another eight were wounded, then:
A. In terms of the acts, I have found that there is no connection.
B. In terms of my denunciation of the settlers for the provocation of the settlers who entered Abu Snenah, I don't retract my denunciation."
All of these unrelenting attacks on Hebron's Jews can only be defined as an intention incitement - incitement to murder. Little wonder that Arafat's right-hand man, Jibril Rajoub, in charge of security in Hebron, said yesterday: "Attacks on Palestinian civilians are a grave matter that we do not intend to accept quietly. From now on, any Israeli settler who thinks that he can come into Palestinian National Authority territory and attack a Palestinian should know that he will not leave our are alive."
So, one can say, if a Jew attacks an Arab, well, he is taking his life into his own hands. Except, that Rajoub's intention doesn’t only include attackers - it includes 'would-be attackers.' That includes any Jew who happens into the H1 - Arafat controlled area of Hebron. A few weeks ago a carful of Israelis from Jerusalem made a wrong turn in Hebron, and instead of winding up at Tel Rumeida, they found themselves in Arafat Land. They were attacked by an Arab mob - the palestinian police did nothing to help them. Miraculously they were able to summon help and barely escaped alive. They too, were potential 'attackers.' So too are Jews desiring to pray at the Cave of Otniel ben Knaz, the first Judge, which is located in Arafat's side of the city.
Rajoub's remarks were considered by everyone to be a not-so-veiled threat against Hebron's Jewish population. And why shouldn't he threaten? After all, Israelis too are making remarks which need no interpretation. Their vicious attacks, on Hebron's Jews, all of which are false, express verbal bloodshed.
To set the record straight:
1.On Tuesday night, March 10, Israeli soldiers shot and killed three Arabs in van, after the same van ran down another solder. Almost immediately violent attacks began in Hebron.
2. On Tuesday night, shots were fired at the Avraham Avinu neighborhood in Hebron from the Abu-Snenah hilltop. There was no response to this attack by the Israel Defense Forces.
3. Rock, firebomb and pipebomb attacks continued against the Israeli side of Hebron on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, an 11 year old Arab boy was hit in the head by a rubber bullet.
4. On Friday night, at 6:30 PM shots were again fired at the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Israeli soldiers were denied permission for 'hot pursuit' allowed by the Hebron Accords.
5. Shortly afterwards a group of about 30 Hebron residents climbed up to the Abu-Snenah hilltop, in the H1 - Arafat controlled region of Hebron. There were no Israeli soldiers on the hilltop when they arrived. Their sole purpose for the excursion was to protest continued shooting, with absolutely no reaction by Israeli forces. According to the Hebron Accords IT IS PERFECTLY PERMISSIBLE FOR JEWS TO ENTER THIS AREA. NOWHERE DOES IT SAY THAT JEWS MAY NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE H1-ARAFAT CONTROLLED AREA OF HEBRON.
6. Shortly after they arrived palestinian police also appeared, carrying Kalachnekov rifles. According to the Hebron Accords, Arabs police may not carry rifles in the Abu-Snenah hilltops, which overlook the Jewish neighborhoods of Hebron. Israeli soldiers also arrived, declared the area a 'closed military zone, and ordered the Jewish residents to leave. At that time Arabs in the area began rioting, throwing rocks and burning tires. The Israeli soldiers were forced to shoot rubber bullets. The Jewish Hebron residents left the area and returned to their homes. They did not attack any Arabs or Israeli soldiers.
7. At about 10:30 PM shots were again fired at the Avraham Avinu neighborhood from a house on the underside of the Abu-Snenah hill - INSIDE ISRAELI CONTROLLED TERRITORY. Again, the army was refused permission to apprehend the attacking terrorists, because 'it would be dangerous.'
All of the statements made concerning the 'bad relationships' between Hebron's Jewish residents and soldiers serving in Hebron cannot be further from the truth. Last night on Israeli television a young man who served in Hebron said, "they treated us as if we were their children." Each group of soldiers, upon completion of their service in the city, participates in a party with Hebron residents. Many soldiers have written letters of thanks and appreciation for the way in which they were received by The Jewish Community of Hebron.
The past few days have seen an attempt by the media, the left, and various politicians together with Arabs, led by Rajoub, to collectively lynch us. They think that they can string us up and leave us hanging from a pole, for all to see. They are wrong. Slowly, perhaps too slowly, but surely, the truth emerges. The Ha'aretz editorial, quoted earlier, says that our fate is yet to be decided. What they don't realize is that our fate was decided almost 4,000 years ago. Since then, many peoples have tried to lynch the Jewish people. Try as they may, they have not, nor will they ever, succeed. Very simply, after 4,000 years, we are not lynchable.
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