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Elon: Clinton's Criticism is Chutzpah

Ex-Tourism Minister Benny Elon says Hilary Clinton’s criticism of Israel for removing Arab squatters from Jewish property is pure “chutzpah.”
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/6/2009, 6:59 PM

Former Tourism Minister Benny Elon says Hilary Clinton’s criticism of Israel for removing Arab squatters from Jewish property is pure “chutzpah.”

After several different Israeli courts approved the process during the course of years of legal wrangling, police forcibly evicted Arab squatters from two homes in the Shimon HaTzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood of Jerusalem this week. In response, Secretary of State Clinton called the actions “provocative” and said that Israel was in violation of its international obligations.

Elon, who has long been at the forefront of the campaign to return the Jewish property in Shimon HaTzaddik to its rightful Jewish owners, was incensed at her remarks. Speaking with Arutz-7’s Hebrew newsmagazine, Elon said, “This is a case of stolen property that was finally returned to its owners. This land has belonged to Jews for over 100 years; the famed Rabbi Shmuel Salant purchased the land. Such statements by the Secretary of State are real chutzpah and contempt
Elon: "This land has belonged to Jews for over 100 years. Such statements by the Secretary of State are real chutzpah and contempt of Israeli sovereignty."
of Israeli sovereignty. Jerusalem is run according to Israeli law.”

The property in question is 17 dunams (more than four acres) large, and the buildings there are illegally occupied by Arabs who were placed there by the Jordanian government during the period of Jordanian control of eastern Jerusalem in the 1950’s. “The Tabu records show that the property belongs to us, yet we even paid some of the Arabs compensation money in order that they leave. We needed a lot of patience; this was a ten-year struggle, but in the end, it paid off and justice has been served.”

“The absurdity of the issue is that in recent years, many of those living here were actually left-wing anarchists,” Elon said. “It’s unbelievable, but in most of the buildings, hardly any Arabs lived; they were rather fortresses of anarchists from Sweden and Europe; all the walls were full of graffiti in English.”

Elon called on families and youths to answer the call and help out in the important mission of settling the neighborhood with Jews. “Now, during the summer vacation, this is an opportunity for families and volunteers to reinforce the Jewish presence, because there are still some people who are trying to disturb the peace here…”  Some of the Arab families, in fact, have camped out on the streets and say they will remain there.

"It’s not dangerous,” Elon reassures, “because the police are here and are watching out. People should come with sleeping bags and stay here for a night or two; that will be a great help.”

“The wheels of justice often turn very slowly,” he concluded, “and patience is required – but in the end, that’s what wins. It was worth it to wait for this day, and the property owned by the Vaad HaKlali HaAshkenazi and the Sephardic Congregation has been redeemed.”