Hevron Jews Refuse to Buckle Under

"The area is seething," says one of several dozen residents threatened with expulsion from their homes in Hevron's Mitzpeh Shalhevet neighborhood. "Everyone knows that this is Jewish-owned land."

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Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:23

A Supreme Court ruling on the issue did not deny that the land was Jewish-owned, but rather ordered the Jews out in order that "sinners not go unpunished" - a reference to the Jews having entered the buildings without army permission. The court suggested that the buildings be leased to the Hevron Jewish Community which would in turn rent the homes to other Jews. In this way, the original group which tainted themselves in the eyes of the court by breaking into the structures would be punished, yet the homes would remain in the hands of their rightful owners - the Hebron Jewish Community.

"No one can understand why a simple legal understanding is not reached enabling us to live in our homes," said Tzippy Shlissel, mother of ten and a great-granddaughter of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook.

Violence broke out in Hevron this morning for the second straight today, on the background of the intention of the army to evict 11 families from their homes in Jewish-owned land adjacent to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. As a result, there have been hints from the army that the expulsion will be put off.

On the other hand, large army and police forces arrived in the neighborhood this afternoon, for the stated purpose of making arrests. More violence was reported as a result.

"An army officer and several soldiers cocked their guns and hit Jewish youths," Shlissel told Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane early this afternoon. "I received several reports of this from people who saw this, and it was also photographed. It's obvious that the situation is very explosive, yet the soldiers use force to a degree that causes it to reach uncontrollable proportions."

Asked if Jews had thrown rocks at soldiers, she said, "I did not see Jews throwing rocks; only Arabs did. True, the Jews had their faces covered, and were wearing hats and the like. But the soldiers know how explosive the situation is, and yet they use force greatly beyond what is necessary, thereby inviting the strong reactions. For instance, we had a permit for a march yesterday, and 200 of us came - yet the army abruptly didn't allow it, causing everything to explode."

Jews reportedly threw eggs and paint on the soldiers, and one soldier was hit above his right eye with a rock.

Asked about the atmosphere of violence in the neighborhood, she said anxiously, "I hope it will be stopped, but I don't know how... I mean, what can be expected from people who are threatened with being thrown out of their homes?"

Contrary to The Jerusalem Post's report of last night, that the Jews are resisting "the forcible evacuation of Jewish families living in Palestinian homes," the land in question was never used for Arab homes. In fact, it was purchased by Chaim HaMitzri on behalf of the Jewish community in or around the year 1807. Jews had lived there for 250 years before that; the purchase contract referred to the "Street of the Jews." In 1929, however, Arab residents massacred their Jewish neighbors, cruelly murdering 67 of them in their homes. The survivors were hurriedly evacuated from the area, and the Jewish houses and synagogues were abandoned and left uninhabited.

In 1953, Jordanian troops assisted Hevron's Arab population in devastating the remains of the Jewish Quarter, turning the beautiful Avraham Avinu Synagogue into a goat sty. On part of the land was built an outdoor food market, which continued to operate even after the Jews returned during the Six Day War in 1967.

Just over a decade ago, when Arab-initiated violence in Hevron was at one of its highs, the army decided to improve Jewish security in the area by clearing out the Arab store-owners in the marketplace. Several years later, after an Arab terrorist shot to death 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass with a bullet to her head, Jews decided to renew their title to the land. They began renovating the stores, turning them into inhabitable apartments, and moving families in. Eleven families currently live there.

However, Arabs sued in Israel's Supreme Court against what they called the "infiltration" of the Jews to the stores in the Hevron market, and in fact, in 2003, the State committed itself to evict the Jews.

Earlier this month, dozens of special-unit Yassam policemen and soldiers arrived in the Jewish Quarter in Hevron to post eviction notices on the apartments. A violent fracas ensued, and at least two people - a policeman and a resident - were injured.

As the day of the impending eviction approaches, Hevron residents have called on supporters around the country to arrive and help resist the expulsion. The hope is that hundreds of people will arrive in the city in preparation for the possible attempt to expel Hevron families from their homes in Mitzpeh Shalhevet. Large tents and subsidized meals will be available, but private tents, sleeping bags, warm clothing and a strong spirit are also recommended. Study programs and other activities will be available.

"This is not Gush Katif," the residents say, "and we have no intention of hugging and kissing the forces who come to throw us out of our homes."


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