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David Wilder was born in New Jersey in the USA in 1954, and graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in History and teacher certification in 1976. He spent 1974-75 in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University and returned to Israel upon graduation.
For over eighteen years David Wilder has worked with the Jewish Community of Hebron. He is the English spokesman for the community, granting newspaper, television and radio interviews internationally. He initiated the Hebron internet project, including email lists of over 15,000 subscribers who receive regular news and commentaries from Hebron in English and Hebrew. David is responsible and continues to update the Hebron web sites, portraying various facets of Hebron, utilizing text, audio, video and pictures. He conducts tours of Hebron's Jewish Community and occasionally travels abroad, speaking at Hebron functions.
David Wilder is married to Ora, a 'Sabra,' for 35 years. They lived in Kiryat Arba for 17 years and have resided at Beit Hadassah in Hebron for the past 15 years. They have seven children and many grandchildren.
Links to sites David recommends:
(others to be added)
This morning, still at home due to a lingering virus, I listened to Yaron Dekel on Israel radio’s Reshet Bet 'HaKol Diburim' – (It’s all talk) daily morning program. His first guest was Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, who initiated Israel’s latest law, passed yesterday, granting blanket pardons to some 400 ‘criminals’ – Israelis indicted due to ‘illegal activities’ during the expulsion of 10,000 people from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Dekel’s questions centered around the idea that such clemency will only encourage further ‘ideological crimes’ in the future. Rivlin’s responses focused on the ‘national trauma’ caused by the expulsion and the need for a ‘national healing process,’ of which the pardons would play a major role.
the fact that some of the ‘leaders’ who initiated and implemented the expulsion still serve in public positions continues to encourage additional ideological crimes against the state in the future
These pardons are almost five years too late. As a matter of fact, they are totally superfluous. The Knesset should never have had to pass such a law because the charges against these people should never have been issued in the first place. This because the ‘disengagement – expulsion law’ was as illegal as a law can be, as can be witnessed in the Israeli supreme court’s decision which ruled “that the evacuation of settlements do harm human rights, including the right to property, freedom of occupation and proper respect for the evacuees.” The only dissenter among 11 judges, Judge Edmund Levy, lambasted the law and ruled that it should be canceled. [http://goo.gl/TW16]
The fallout from the Gush Katif catastrophe is still raining down on Israel, and will, it seems, continue to emanate deadly emissions for some time to come. Unfortunately, all our doomsday predictions, foreseen and publicized prior to the expulsion, have come true. Rockets fell on Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod, a war ensued, the rockets continue to fall, and another war is virtually inevitable. One can only guess what kinds of missiles are presently aimed at Tel Aviv from the very land Israeli supplied to our enemies. (Should Netanyahu and his government decide to finish off the Iranian nuclear threat undoubtedly, one of the responses will include rocket attacks from Gaza.)
The treatment of the expellees has been no less appalling, as most recently expressed by MK Uri Ariel, testifying before the special commission investigating the State’s treatment of these Israeli-Jewish refugees, saying that the “'slap in the face to expellees echoes on to this day!” . In my opinion, there’s a problem with this description: Israel’s treatment of the Gush Katif refugees is much more than a ‘slap in the face’ – it’s more like an arrow in the heart; in the heart of those people expelled and more significantly, an arrow in the heart of our existence as a state: Gush Katif residents represented the best of the best, combining hard work, ideology, patriotism and authentic mesirut nefesh – dedication and determination, even at the cost of their very lives. Such scandalous treatment of such people is an indelible stain on the entire country.
This being the case, I would like to suggest that the Knesset immediately legislate two additional laws.
One: It is not enough that the indictments against the “Gush Katif criminal” be quashed. All those people expelled from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron, along with all those who labored to prevent the expulsion must be recognized as national heroes. A state ceremony must be held, not in the Knesset, but at Temple Mount, during which they will receive a framed certificate, signed by the President, Prime Minister, Knesset speaker, and all members of Knesset, distinguishing them as national heroes.
In addition, these same ‘leaders’ must swear allegiance to maintaining the totality of Eretz Yisrael, as represented by Israeli’s eternal right to our sacred Jerusalem and Temple Mount. In other words, they must promise: Never Again. Never again will we repeat the Gush Katif disaster, anywhere in Israel: Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. (Perhaps, in order to avoid any claims of favoritism, Tel Aviv should also be mentioned.)
And finally, this law must guarantee that immediately upon Israel’s return to Gaza and Gush Katif, the destroyed communities will be reestablished, the expellee’s homes will be rebuilt by the State of Israel, and the former residents will be welcomed back in an additional State ceremony.
That’s the first law the Knesset must pass. But there is another one:
Two: Those responsible for the Gush Katif abandonment and expulsion, following their trials and convictions, may never, ever be pardoned. It is only a matter of time until these bogus ‘leaders’ are indicted, tried and convicted of crimes against the State of Israel. Once found guilty and sentenced, these people must serve their full sentences, without any chance of pardon or parole. Nothing, but nothing, can ever reduce the severity of their crimes, and they deserve absolutely no mercy or forgiveness.
Finally, concerning Yaron Dekel’s query concerning encouragement of additional similar ideological ‘crimes’ in the future: the fact that some of the ‘leaders’ who initiated and implemented the expulsion still serve in public positions continues to encourage additional ideological crimes against the state in the future. Recognition of Gush Katif’s residents and those indicted as national heroes will be a beginning ‘slap in the face’ to all those who demonized them, which should lead to a full-fledged spanking, which they should never forget.
Senator Mitchell's Wake-Up Call YnetNews, January 13, 2001
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Executive Director, "Second Thought"
YnetNews, January 13, 2001
The threat issued by Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to withhold US loan guarantees, in order to extract excessive concessions from Israel, constitutes a wake-up call for wishful-thinkers.
Senator Mitchell's January 7, 2010 interview with PBS' Charlie Rose refutes the notion that the Obama Administration will accept anything but full Israeli compliance with
President Obama has yet to respond to the reasonable request of the government of Israel to demand a cessation of incitement from the Palestinian Authority Leaders. The question remains: How will the US respond to the request for the US to ask Abbas to stop praising acts of murder?
Obama's confidant, George Mitchell, known for his deliberate style, made clear that submission to pressure is not rewarded but punishable by further pressure. That is certainly the case with a White House run by Rahm Emanuel, who is "the meanest shark in town."
Emanuel and President Obama, his Chicago-politics pal, were elated when Prime Minister Netanyahu rushed on June 14, 2009 to Bar Ilan University, as soon as he returned from a "cold shower" at Obama's White House, to enunciate a major transformation of his world view: The acceptance of the Two States Solution. They realized that their pressure was effective following Netanyahu's September 24, 2009 speech at the UN – which reaffirmed his newly found world view – and the full freeze of construction in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Leveraging their initial success, they now employ the threat of withholding loan guarantees and intensify the pressure on Israel to accelerate the timetable of concessions, to exclude the Jordan Valley from Israel's map of defensible borders, to release more Palestinian terrorists, to make more concessions to Abu Mazen, to refrain from construction even in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood, etc.
Israel's retreat in the face of Obama's pressure is a rarity in a world, which has not been kind to the newly-installed president. His precipitous drop in the polls is the sharpest in recent decades, other than President Ford's. A growing number of Democratic legislators distance themselves from him, lest they be defeated in November, 2010. Furthermore, President Obama is increasingly identified with a 10% unemployment rate, a 17% under-employment rate, a budget deficit which is the highest since 1945, a bigger government, a failed war in Afghanistan and rapidly destabilizing Iraq.
Obama's Liberal power-base is unhappy with legislative compromises concluded with Blue Dog Democrats. Republicans are energized by Obama's difficulties and the 30% bloc of Independents, which accorded Obama the 2008 victory, is turning its back on Obama in 2010. Since assuming power in January, 2009, Obama has received slaps in the face from Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, Venezuela, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has also been targeted by French and West European cynicism. However, Jerusalem is acting as if it is facing an Imperial President.
In 1992, at the height of the Shamir-Bush battle over loan guarantees, I was told by then Majority Leader, Senator George Mitchell: "Doesn't Israel know that the US is not a monarchy, that the President is not omnipotent and that the Legislature is equal in power to the Executive?!"
In 2010, Israel still does not get it. Instead of leveraging critical public and Congressional platforms of support – which will determine the success or oblivion of Obama's policy – Israel approaches Congress as the best supporting-actor in Washington, DC. Jerusalem is intimidated by Emanuel's warning to "avoid bypassing the Administration via Congress." Jerusalem fails to realize that kowtowing to Emanuel's warning amounts to a slap in the face for the US democracy, the US public and its representatives on Capitol Hill, while severely undermining Israel's own cardinal interests.
Senator Mitchell's PBS interview reflects Obama's determination to dictate to the Jewish State a full withdrawal to the 1949/67 ceasefire lines, the uprooting of Jewish communities in the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, the repartitioning of Jerusalem, the negotiation of the "claim of return" by 1948 Arab refugees and the exchange of land. Such an approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict is a derivative of Oabma's worldview, which highlights the UN as a quarterback of international relations, considers Europe as a role model and Foggy Bottom bureaucracy as luminaries on international relations, burdens the West with partial-blame for international terrorism, regards the Jewish State as part of the exploiting West and the Arabs part of the exploited Third World.
In facing Obama's pressure, Israel should follow in the footsteps of all Prime Ministers from Ben Gurion to Yitzhak Shamir (1948-1992):Advancing Israel's national security while fending off US Presidential pressure. For instance, Ben Gurion declared independence in 1948 and constructed Israel's nuclear reactor in defiance of brutal pressure by Secretary of State George Marshall and President Kennedy respectively. Levy Eshkol and Golda Meir built the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, Neve' Ya'akov and Gilo in response to presidential pressure. And, Menachem Begin destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor irrespective of painful US, European, Global and domestic pressure. He initialed the Israel-Egypt peace process by overcoming opposition by President Carter, who preferred an international conference over direct negotiations.
Such steadfastness yielded short-term US-Israel tension. However, it was rapidly transformed into long-term enhanced strategic respect, by American and Middle Eastern leaders, toward the Jewish State.
In 2010, Israeli leaders are endowed with a critical mass – which was not enjoyed by the 1948-1992 leaders - demographically (6 million Jews!), economically, technologically and militarily, bolstered by a formidable infrastructure of support in the US. Are the current leaders also endowed with the vision, faith, wisdom and backbone, which are the prerequisite to leverage this critical mass and advance key Israeli interests, while deflecting the Obama Administration pressure?
From: David Bedein: contact in Congress: Background on Israeli Demand of US to End To Incitement As Part Of Peace Process
Today the US Congress convenes for its second session, at a time when e Mitchell is en route to Israel...while there is no response from Obama to Bibi's request to the US to demand end to incitement
This is the time to swamp the members of the Middle East Subcommittee of the US House and the near East Subcommittee of the US Senate with this kind of letter:.
Members of the United States House Middle East Subcommittee
Members of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs:
From: Me [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Israel Asks US to Demand an End To Palestinian Incitement As Part Of Peace Process: What is your position?
For the first time since the genesis of Middle East peace negotiations, more than 30 years ago, the government of Israel has placed the cessation of official Arab incitement to murder Jews as a condition for the continuation of Middle East peace negotiations. Here is the Israeli government position in this regard:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared after last week's government weekly cabinet meeting: , "It is not only missiles and rockets that endanger security and push peace further off. Words can also be dangerous." In that context Prime minister Netanyahu asked President Obama to demand that the Palestinian Authority Leadership cease and desist from further endorsement of murder and violence against Jews.
President Obama has yet to respond to the reasonable request of the government of Israel to demand a cessation of incitement from the Palestinian Authority Leadership.
The question remains: How will the US respond to the request for the US to ask Abbas to stop praising acts of murder?
What is the position of Rep..... on this question?
Stop Mitchell's latest mission to Israel...the US is actively forcing Israel to acquiesce to declared terror-supporters, namely the PA and their leader, Abu Mazen, thereby infringing upon Israeli sovereignty, endangering Israeli lives and jeopardizing the existence of the State of Israel.
The United States, personified by James Jones and George Mitchell, revolving under the magic wand of Clinton and Obama, is continuing to exert humongous pressure on Israel, in an effort to obtain continued "good-will gestures," aka concessions to Abu Mazen and the Arabs.
The pressure cooker's been on the fire ever since the White House changed hands, just a year ago. The results have been far from tasty. American demands, as well as international pressure following Operation Lead Shield and the Goldstone report cooked up covert incitement against the State of Israel, leading to continued rocket attacks against Israeli cities in the south. Of course, Israeli responses are greatly limited due to international Israel-bashing. Any Israeli response is viewed as an unnecessary escalation of violence.
Israel has been pushed into opening roads and checkpoints to 'ease' the life of Arabs in Yesha and throughout Israel. Such an 'easing' cost the life of Rabbi Meir Chai a month ago. When Israel reacted by eliminating Rabbi Chai's murderers, the United States demanded an 'accounting' of the IDF action.
Rock-throwing throughout Judea and Samaria is reaching epidemic proportions, yet an IDF response is virtually nonexistent. Yesterday a baby was hit in the head by a rock in the southern Hebron Hills. It should be remembered: rocks thrown at cars can kill. For those with short memories, Yehuda Shoham z"l, was a five month old murdered by rock-throwing terrorists in June, 2001.
The opening of Highway 443 and just this morning, the road leading to the Neguhot community in the southern Hebron Hills, to Arab traffic, are overt threats to Israeli lives. It should be noted that the Neguhot road was ordered opened against the recommendations of the IDF. It cannot be a coincidence that this is occurring only a few days before Mitchell is due back in Israel.
And of course, the world renowned chefs stewed up a forced Israeli building freeze throughout Judea and Samaria.
Many people don't yet understand the significance of an 'only' ten month building freeze. The problem is that 10 months is only the beginning. Getting around to month 8.5 – 9, we can only guess what goodies the US will bake to try and keep the freeze from thawing.
But, at present:
First: Eretz Yisrael - the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. Period. Would any country in the world allow international pressure to force them to agree to a 'building freeze?!' If it's my land, I can do whatever I want with it. If it's not my land, what am I doing there? Israel's acceptance of a coerced building freeze is tacit acceptance of the claim that Yehuda and Shomron really are not a part of Israel!
2. An internationally imposed stopping of construction is adding to the already vast split in Israeli society, between the 'right' and the 'left.' This widening gap is causing irreparable harm to Israeli societal norms, and must be dealt with as an internal Israeli issue. However, such compulsory measures, clamped down on Israel from the outside, allow external forces to govern the shape and opinion of Israeli society.
3. America, as reflected in one of the most revered US historical documents, the Constitutional Bill of Rights, is supposed to be a protective pillar of human rights. International insistence of a building freeze, being implemented against private citizens, is a direct contradiction to the basic human right of a person to be allowed to live freely in his home, on his land. Prevented a family from adding a room on to their house, as a result of foreign insistence, is a blatant infringement of basic human rights.
4. And finally, of course, the American demands are hitting both individuals and the state where it really hurts, in the pocket. The costs incurred by the freeze are in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.
All of this, of course, according to the United States, is not enough. Keeping all of the above in mind, we reach George Mitchell's threat to Israel: Loan guarantees to Israel can be stopped should Israel not toe the line. The pressure cooker has exploded!
Israel immediately rejected such threats. The treasury minister proclaimed that Israel can live without the guarantees. Leading American Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain denounced Mitchell's warning. Speaking in Jerusalem Lieberman said that such pressure would not be accepted in Congress. McCain said that the Senate would not allow the White House to use such measures against Israel.Headlines, such as "Major rift between George Mitchell and Israel over loan guarantees" http://goo.gl/G71F began to appear. ABC news: U.S. Envoy's Comments Spark Israel Uproar http://goo.gl/4edi.
Almost immediately the US tried to play down Mitchell's disdain for Israel. The Jerusalem Post: 'No intention to recall loan guarantees to Israel' http://goo.gl/7xdB. The Christian Science Monitor: US says no plan to cut Israel loan guarantees, but it's been tried before http://goo.gl/D2wy.
As this drama was (is) being played out, one little tidbit of information was forgotten or perhaps just ignored, due to lack of seeming significance.
As reported by Palestinian Media Watch:
This week Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas once again honored the memory of the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi - this time by sponsoring a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of her birth. Mughrabi led the worst terror attack in Israel's history in 1978, when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians. Present at the ceremony were Palestinian dignitaries and a children's marching band. Earlier this year, Abbas sponsored a computer center named after Mughrabi.
The PA further glorified Mughrabi on the date of her birth when the Governor of Ramallah announced the naming of the "Dalal Mughrabi Square".
An article by Fatah spokesman Jamal Nazal in the official PA daily defined the terrorist Mughrabi as "the heroine of Palestine's heroines."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 30, 2009] http://goo.gl/VJLM
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's opening remarks at last week's cabinet meeting:
It is not only missiles and rockets that endanger security and push peace further off. Words can also be dangerous. Sadly, there has been a retreat in this area in recent months, both within the Palestinian Authority and by its leaders. Whoever sponsors and supports naming a square in Ramallah after a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis on the coastal road – encourages terrorism. Whoever declares those responsible for the murder of the late Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai, father to seven children, as holy martyrs – pushes peace further away.
At the same time, incitement continues in the Palestinian media and education system; in its official media outlets and in the schools under its supervision. These serious actions represent a harsh violation of the Palestinians' international obligation to prevent incitement. http://goo.gl/S7bh
In other words, while the US is sending more troops to Afghanistan to fight international Taliban terror, it is actively forcing Israel to acquiesce to declared terror-supporters, namely the PA and their leader, Abu Mazen, thereby infringing upon Israeli sovereignty, endangering Israeli lives and jeopardizing the existence of the State of Israel.
The time has come for the entire American Jewish community, and all lovers of Israel, of freedom and of human rights, of all those who oppose terror and terrorist supporters, to make their voices heard.
Stop Mitchell's latest mission to Israel. Write now, fax and or email Senators and Congressmen (numbers and addresses found here http://goo.gl/oo6F), demanding that George Mitchell, together with his threats and unconcealed contempt for Israel, must not be allowed to return to Israel.
Fax and email US consulate in Jerusalem at: +972.2.625.9270
Email: UsConGenJerusalem@state.gov and The US State Department: Fax: 202-663-3636 Email: email@example.com
Remind them that Israel is NOT the 51st State!
Yesterday Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon visited Hebron, together with MK Anastassia Michaeli, both of the Yisrael Beitenu party. Ayalon works together with party head Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The visitors, together with an entourage that included senior members of the foreign ministry and Hebron leaders, toured Hebron, including Tel Rumeida, Beit Hadassah, the Avraham Avinu synagogue and neighborhood, and of course Ma'arat HaMachpela. Before leaving they participated in a festive lunch which included final summaries of various activities common to Hebron's Jewish community and the Foreign ministry.
there is this perception that Israel is occupying stolen land and that the Palestinians are the only party with national, legal and historic rights to it…this is morally and factually incorrect
Speaking to the Deputy Foreign Minister after he arrived, I told him that I'd been waiting decades for people like him to work in positions of responsibility in the Foreign office. Just a week ago he wrote an Op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal dealing with the difference between 'occupied territories,' as Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. West Bank) are labeled, and 'disputed territories.' The final two paragraphs read:
"After the war in 1967, when Jews started returning to their historic heartland in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria, as the territory had been known around the world for 2,000 years until the Jordanians renamed it, the issue of settlements arose. However, (Eugene) Rostow found no legal impediment to Jewish settlement in these territories. He maintained that the original British Mandate of Palestine still applies to the West Bank. He said "the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors." There is no internationally binding document pertaining to this territory that has nullified this right of Jewish settlement since.
And yet, there is this perception that Israel is occupying stolen land and that the Palestinians are the only party with national, legal and historic rights to it…this is morally and factually incorrect… " ]http://goo.gl/eBHc].
It's been quite some time since a very senior member of the Israeli foreign ministry made such a declaration.
While here Danny Ayalon spoke of Hebron as the roots of the Jewish people, saying, 'a people with no past have no future.' When asked about Hebron's future, following any kind of political negotiations, he replied that he expected Hebron's Jewish community to remain here, growing and thriving. When the interviewer persisted, asking if such was Israeli government policy, Ayalon answered, 'I don't know if it's been discussed, but there are some issues which are self-evident and don’t need to be discussed.'
Ayalon also spoke of the necessity to send both Israeli and foreign diplomats into Hebron, to witness firsthand the cradle of civilization.
Later in the tour the Deputy FM was asked about TIPH – the temporary international presence in Hebron, which has frequented the streets of the city for the past 15 years [http://goo.gl/C1PS]. Ayalon made clear that temporary is supposed to be just that, temporary, not permanent. He emphasized that renewal of the TIPH mandate, which occurs twice a year, should not be taken for granted.This morning the Israeli newspaper Maariv-NRG(internet) [http://goo.gl/8nd3] headlined: It seems that the TIPH mandate in Hebron will not be renewed. Ben Caspit, in Maariv, writes: 'After the visit of Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon in Hebron, he noted the option not to extend the mandate of Tiph to be realistic.' "They exceeded their authority," he said. The article reports that Ayalon's trip to Hebron came under orders from FM Lieberman, who ordered him 'to check out the situation on the ground.' Ayalon told Caspit, "they (TIPH) report harassment of Arabs by Jews, but not the opposite."
The article reveals segments from a document prepared by the foreign ministry about TIPH: "Sometimes a certain tension exists between the Government of Israel and TIPH due to our claim that they often deviate from their mandate", for example, "in part by demanding investigations on cases that occurred and / or demands that Israel give report to donor countries. In addition they are involved in very extensive public relations activities, exemplified by a heavily invested web site which features, among other things, forms for Palestinians to file complaints against the Israeli authorities."
Ayalon's visit was a breath of fresh air. Today's press release, officially recommending that the TIPH mandate not be renewed is a tornado, sweeping into Hebron a totally new atmosphere. The foreign groups plaguing Hebron, including CPT, EAPPI, and others, are headed up by TIPH, which has international recognition and backing. TIPHs removal from the scene will surely weaken the other organizations, and hopefully lead to their swift departure also.
This is certainly a giant step in the right direction.