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Shabbat protest for security near Ma'arat HaMachpela

By David Wilder
1/1/2010, 12:00 AM


This construction is being financed - on the order of tens of millions of dollars – by enemy organizations, as part of the war against the Jewish people and Eretz Israel.
Hebron-Kiryat Arba leaders call on all area residents to struggle for secure passage to the Tomb of the Patriarchs

Over the past few days it has became clear that the IDF and Civil Administration are permitting construction of a crowded Arab neighborhood on the access road used by people walking to and from the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

This road is known as Simtat Erez – the Erez walkway, is named in memory of  Erez Shmuel who was murdered there a number of years ago, and which serves as the access route from Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

As a result of the terrible terror attack on the nearby Worshiper's Way 8 years ago, the Supreme Court ordered that security measures be implemented in order to allow safe and secure passage on the walkway. They ordered that all 'dangerous areas and windows be sealed, in order to offer protection to people walking to and from Ma'arat HaMachpela.

A few weeks ago the Hebron Brigade Commander requested that the Erez Walkway be closed to people on Shabbat, and to prevent the passage of Jews through that street for a few weeks in order to allow work on the sewer system in the area. People avoided walking there for a couple of weeks,  believing that this was truly the reason for the closing. However, lately it was noticed that the work being carried out under the noses of the army and civil administration is nothing less than a large-scale construction project, allowing establishment of a large, dense Arab neighborhood, funded by the Gulf States and the Europe Union. This will significantly change the demographic balance in the entire area and result in additional security risks for people, between Hebron and Kiryat Arba.

After having discovered this fraud, Hebron Kiryat leaders demanded that the Hebron brigade commander reestablish all the security measures which had been dismantled.

In their letter they wrote, among other things:

"We want to remind you, that the sealing of these openings became the subject matter in the High Court of Justice , after the state declared before High Court of Justice that security needs are minimal, and after Supreme Court judges (Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, and judges Cheshin and Procaccia - 10497/02 HCJ 10356/0) ruled that these steps should be implemented, and that this is the right balance between the various human rights (right to life, right to worship, freedom of worship and freedom of expression, and property rights). For this reason, the IDF immediately sealed the openings compromising security, otherwise they would have been in contempt of court (as explained to us many times when the IDF acted resolutely against Jewish residents in the city, according to the High Court decision or positions of the Supreme Court). "

After a week, seeing that construction work was not discontinued, and that people's security was still being compromised, area leaders today called for all residents to participate in a struggle for a secure way to and from Ma'arat HaMachpela. A notice was distributed to Hebron-Kiryat Arba residents, which stated:

The works are carried out in the area of the Erez Walkway is being done under the guise of misleading fraud: we were told that the work being done was to renew the sewer pipes, and for this reason we stopped on walking there on Shabbat. However, instead of working on the sewer line, a hostile crowded Arab neighborhood is being built. This construction is being financed - on the order of tens of millions of dollars – by enemy organizations, as part of the war against the Jewish people and Eretz Israel.

All the safety measures placed on the road were removed, and that road is now being abandoned to terrorists and murderers! We will not we reconcile with this situation! We demand that the Arabs cease construction, ensuring the rights and safety of Jewish people in the city of the Patriarchs!

We should all remember: our physical and spiritual  existence is based on  our connection to the Tomb of the Patriarchs; safe passage to Ma'arat HaMachpela is part of our essence!

Residents are being called on to participate in a protest called for Shabbat morning  together with rabbis and community leaders.

Orit Struck, director of legal department of the Jewish community in Hebron, said that "We see ourselves as guardians of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and of the ways to reach this holy site. If we did not struggle for this over the years, Ma'arat HaMachpela today would be in the same condition of Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, or at best, as Rachel's Tomb. We can not allow this to happen. Jews all over the country and the world who come to this holy place are entitled to reach it safely. Even the Supreme Court understood that, after weighing the right of property and freedom of movement of Arabs in the region, nevertheless ruling in favor of the right to life, and the right to freedom of worship. We will not allow this principle to be violated. "


Sandbags for construction rather than pipe renewal
Formerly sealed windows, all reopened