A few days ago, January 20, was the fifteenth anniversary of the implementation of the Hebron Accords, which divided our holy city into two unequal zones. Jews today have access to 3% of Hebron, while Arabs access some 97% of the city.
Yesterday we posted an interesting, important and timely article by Noam Arnon (in Hebrew) marking this ill-fated act, which led to so much violence and tragedy. I decided to also write about this, not with a ‘new article,’ rather using words of the past, clips from articles I authored fifteen plus years ago. They speak for themselves.
Clearly, should Israel continue on the same path in the future, the results won’t be any different. It is essential to learn from the errors of the past, in the hope that they will not be repeated in the future. History’s virtue lies not in names, dates and places. Rather it should be a tool, with which we can examine what occurred, why it occurred, and its implications for the future.
Years ago, all of us, realizing the developing catastrophes, many of us made the same predictions. And we were right on the mark. Oslo, and the Hebron Accords, led to massive terror, and then the Oslo War, aka the ‘second intifada.’ The massive expulsion from and abandonment of Gush Katif led to some ten thousand missiles shot into Israel and to a war in Gaza. Since Oslo, over 1,500 Israelis have been killed in cold-blooded Arab terror attacks. Tens of thousands wounded, physically and emotionally.
As for peace, this morning’s headline in HaAretz newspaper says it all:
Palestinians: Peace negotiations with Israel have ended.
Except that again they lie. Those negotiations never ever really began.
Perhaps prior to future, prior to such fateful decisions, decision-makers should pay a little more attention to us?
(These articles, in their entirely, can be viewed at www.hebronblog.com).
We dwell in Hebron not out of benevolence but as a right. Hebron belongs to the Jewish people eternally as a result of our right and as a result of our strength, our strength of faith, our strength to stand up for what is legitimately ours...We must protect the foundation of Eternal Israel. Hebron is ours, Jerusalem is ours, the entire Eretz Yisrael is ours. Benyamin Netanyahu, December 7, 1994
…Jerusalem isn’t yet on the chopping block – but unofficially...- and anything that the present junta can get away with in Hebron will seem like child play if and when they move on - to the Golan, Jerusalem... June 08, 1995
Netanyahu:"The Jewish settlement will remain in Hebron permanently, if someone tries to take it away, my friends and I will be here, and they will have to take us away as well".
“It will be a fatal mistake to bring hundreds of armed Palestinian policemen here, and there will be a small area where the Jews can pass and where the police and IDF can operate. If there will be a conflict, the IDF will not be able to function and will quickly collide with the Palestinian forces. This is a prescription for tragedy".
Netanyahu said he is worried about a time when there will be an attack in one of the alleys, and the attackers will run to the area under Palestinian control. Netanyahu said it is impossible to divide responsibility for security in Hebron: 'There is one body responsible, and that has to be the IDF". September 7, 1995
Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan - murdered in his Hebron home, Aug. 1998, as described above.
However, the real danger is not in Hebron. It is in Jerusalem, Tel- Aviv and other Israeli cities. Hebron will become a breeding ground, a nest of Hamas terrorists. The attacks will be planned in Hebron, and the city will serve as a refuge following perpetration…He said, "I fear the results of an IDF withdrawal from Hebron. We have lists of hundreds of Hamas supporters living in Hebron who have signed written statements, agreeing to commit suicide attacks throughout Israel. As long as we are in Hebron, we have some control over them. Once we leave, it will be that much more difficult to prevent them from carrying out their missions." May 1996
… plans by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to renew suicide terrorist attacks within Israel…these groups have reached a decision to once again wreak havoc inside Israel, AFTER THE REDEPLOYMENT IN HEBRON. Of course, it goes without saying, that the terrorist attacks will be much easier to plan and carry out after Israel abandons 90% of the city to Arafat.
Husni Mubarach's declaration: that "if Israel insists on continuing a policy of resettlement in Judea and Samaria, the intifada will be renewed. And this time, IT WILL NOT BE LIMITED TO THROWING STONES."
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF HEBRON WILL BE A CAPTIVE IN THE HANDS OF ARAFAT. SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY HOSTILE ARABS, RESTRICTED FROM WITHIN BY ENEMIES, THE JEWS OF HEBRON WILL BE DEPENDENT ON ARAFAT'S `GOOD WILL' FOR SURVIVAL. September 22, 1996
Why then, can't Jews and Arabs live together in Hebron? The answer is, of course, because the Arabs aren't interested in peace. They are interested in `piece' - taking Israel apart, piece by piece…Why must Hebron's Jews pay the price of a cowardly accord, which is already a failure? Rather than introducing peace and coexistence, it is paving the road to extermination. November 12, 1996
(Journalist) “What will you do the morning after?”
"I suppose we will get up in the morning, the way we get up every morning. We will go to morning prayers, eat breakfast, - the kids will go to school and we will go to work."
"That's it!?" he queried, "life as normal?" His voice sounded incredulous.
"Yeah, I suppose so." What else is there to do? We aren't planning on leaving, if that's what you are alluding to."
"But life as normal?"
"Look, our goal was, and still is, to live as normally as possible, within the given
circumstances. True, things will change - they will change drastically. Unbelievable amounts of soldiers and police will wonder the streets and rooftops in the areas still controlled by Israel. We don't really want to live feeling like we are embedded inside a military camp - but we don't have too much choice."
"Our security, in spite of the military presence, will have been compromised. No amount of soldiers can prevent sniper fire from the hills surrounding us. We know that, and will have to find a way to live with it." November 13, 1996
The most anti-Zionist answer possible to any terrorist action is to rely on our arch-enemies to provide security for Israel. Anyone with eyes in his head can see, and knows, as clear as day, that the Arabs know that they have one, and only one responsibility. That is, of course, to annihilate the Jews living Israel and transform the State of Israel to the State of Palestine. December 13, 1996
Netanyahu is planning on implementing an agreement, geared around expulsion of the Jewish community, while promising to leave the Jews in Hebron, with `the same security that we presently have,' in spite of the allowance of what will eventually be, thousands of armed Arab terrorists patrolling in and around the city. In other words, he is contradicting himself. He is trying to implement a suicide pact and remain alive, even after firing the bullet into his brain. And it just doesn't work. If you shoot yourself in the head, you die, like it or not. December 27, 1996
Tonight not only is Hebron on the chopping block. Tonight almost all of the land area of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is up for grabs. In addition to abandoning Hebron, Netanyahu has agreed to part with close to 70% of Yesha by September 1, 1998. Netanyahu is not only beheading The Jewish Community of Hebron. He is castrating the Land of Israel…Today it was reported that the army has been stockpiling emergency medical supplies at each of the neighborhoods in Hebron, including IVs, resuscitation apparatus, and battlefield operating-room equipment. January 14, 1997
There are those who have written Hebron off - they expect Hebron's Jewish community to leave. They have declared: Hebron - Rest In Peace. For some reason they really believe that we are in the midst of a peace process. They also believe that a Jewish presence in Hebron is provocative and unnecessary. But, they are wrong. Only true peace brings true rest. Hebron will not rest, surely not as part of this false peace. The lie called Oslo will not allow us peace and quiet. Much to the contrary. The more we concede, the more trouble we will have. Hebron has been transformed into a `piece' the exact opposite of its true essence, which is total unity.
The immediate future will be very difficult – of that I have no doubts or illusions. If the Jewish People were able to overcome the results of a Holocaust that left one third of our people murdered, and in spite of that were able to create a viable state only three years after the furnaces were extinguished, we can overcome anything. It will not be easy, but we will persevere. January 17, 1997
Last: Towards the end of 1996 we released a film called “Hebron in Danger.” It predicted, quite accurately, the results of the division of Hebron. Click to view.
Photographs: David Wilder