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.
Last week PM Netanyahu told his cabinet, "I think we must make great efforts to ease life for the Palestinians while keeping security constraints in mind."
Israel has much experience 'easing life' for Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Following signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel moved out of all of the major Arab-populated cities in Judea and Samaria. The results were phenomenal. The Arabs had it great, sort of like when kids get to school and find that the teacher's not there, and there's no substitute. The kids then have a free-for-all day, no holds barred.
That's what happened when Israel retreated from Shechem, Jenin, Tul-Karem etc. A huge vacuum was created, leading to anarchy-plus, resulting in massive terror throughout Israel.
In January, 1997 Bibi signed and implemented the Hebron Accords, which transferred over 80% of Hebron to Arafat and the PA. Finally an overwhelming majority of Hebron Arabs were freed from the yoke of the Zionist occupier. No more Israeli soldiers patrolled some 80% of the city, looking for 'freedom fighters' aka terrorists. This led, three and a half years later, to the beginning of shooting attacks from the Abu Sneneh and Harat a-Shech, hills overlooking Hebron's Jewish community, which continued for almost two and a half years. They lived the good life; Hebron's Jews lived with constant terror.
The cherry on the icing was, of course, the greatest 'easing of Palestinian life' almost four years ago, when for the sake of peace and a healthy Arab state of mind, Israel expelled almost 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif and abandoned their land to the PA. "Finally," they exclaimed, "alone at last." Well, almost but not quite. There were still a few things that bothered them, like Jews living in Sderot. According to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook, "Sderot, which may be known to some as an Israeli town, lies on the ruins of Najd, a Palestinian village ransacked in May 1948 by Zionist terrorist gangs." http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/22/gaza-israel-palestine-hamas-obama
Shekh Achmad Yassin told Amira Hass in Ha'aretz, 'what is important is that the holder of the right remain fixed in his resolve to restore his rights. In other words, in 1948 I lived in Ashkelon. Will I, who hold the right [to live in Ashkelon] go to make the case that it is mine? http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=411571
(Not so coincidentally, I have on my wall a 'tourist map' published by the "Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism, which lists three coastal cities (from south to north) Ashdot, Askelon, and (Tel Ar Rabee) Tel Aviv).
Of course, the great easing of 'palestinian life' in Gaza, following Israel's abandonment there, led to thousands of rockets being shot from that very land into these Israeli coastal cities. The goal of these attacks is undoubtedly to liberate Sderot from oppressive Israeli rule, thereby giving Palestinians more breathing room, while at the same time making it easier for them to attack and liberate Tel Ar Rabee.
The latest phase in life-easing situations is Hebron. Hebron leaders were notified by high ranking officers in the IDF that it is necessary to improve Palestinian living conditions. Therefore they are not opposing the opening of Tzir Tzion – the Tzion road, from north of Kiryat Arba, running past Kiryat Arba and Beit HaShalom, into Hebron. Interestingly enough, two of these generals, who have a great deal to say about what happens in Hebron are former commanders of the Judean Brigade and Hebron: Central Region Commander, General Gadi Shamni, and Commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, General Noam Tibon. Shamni was in charge in Hebron when the Hebron Accords were implemented. He didn't think they would be so bad.
Tibon was in Hebron when the Oslo War started (the 2nd Intifada). He closed the transJudea road (Rt.35) leading to Beit Shemsh and Kiryat Gat, claiming he couldn't give it full protection. His successor, Col. Dror Weinberg hy"d opened it almost immediately upon taking command in Hebron. Tibon also has a thing about destroying homes in the Hebron area; he commanded the force that destroyed the home of Livnat Uzeri, whose husband Nati was killed in that home by terrorists. He also commanded over the forces that destroyed the Federman farm in Kiryat Arba and Yad Yair, near Dolev in the Shomron.
The present situation is a no-brainer. Palestinian living conditions are more important than Israeli lives.
I count 7 people having been killed on the soon to be reopened road,: Mordechai and Shalom Lapid, Sarit Prigal, David Cohen, Hezi Mualem, Kerin Ya'akobi and Meir Kalfon. Yet now, it's going to be safe. Just to make sure, the IDF is bringing in a full squadron of some 100 soldiers, just to make sure. In order to ensure a good view of the area they'll be using the roof of Beit HaShalom.
Early this morning Hebron residents staged a small protest march between Hebron and Kiryat Arba, on the Tzion Road. A few dozen children, along with a group of adults, marched with flags and whistles up the hill to school in Kiryat Arba. Usually the kids have a ride; today they walked. (See below movie or photos at: http://www.hebron.com/english/gallery.php?id=277
No one paid too much attention.
Tomorrow a larger group, including residents of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, along with others, will again stage another protest march, this time leaving Kiryat Arba at about 1:30 in the afternoon. Again, we don't expect Shamni or Tibon or Barak or Netanyahu to care. We don't live under any illusions. Barring unpredictable events, they will open the road sometime in the near future, despite our protest marches. This will certainly 'ease' the lives of some Arabs living in the vicinity.
The question is what answer these 'leaders' will offer when a 'majnun' (crazy person) tries to run over some Jews on the road, or attempts to push an Israeli vehicle (like a bus or van, G-d forbid, tractor-style) into the valley below, from this road.
Arabs have yet to prove that they can be trusted in any way shape or form. They have never lived up to any so-called agreements; to the contrary, they violate them, as if it's their right to do so. In this case, they are not giving anything; not even any promises. They're getting a gift, which endangers Israeli lives, for free.
And most unfortunately, this is just the beginning. More is soon to come. Watch for chapter two following the conclusion of Obama's version of an American Inquisition, next week in Washington. The big question is whether Bibi, as they are tying him to the stake, will be willing to say loud and clear - Shema Yisrael – Israel belongs to the Jews, or whether he will, at the last moment, give in, acquiesce and agree to sacrifice more Jewish lives for the Obama republic. Let's hope for the best.