Before I leave the issue of Hevron and the rights of Jews to live there, I would like to present this food for thought: Why is it that people on the left are concerned with our attending scrupulously to Arab rights but have no concern about Jewish rights within areas that they perceive as Palestinian? The terms "apartheid" and ‘racist" are used erroneously with regard to Israel. But the Arab world broadly — and certainly Palestinian Authority areas — are places where these terms do apply. Even if — and this is an "if" I do not subscribe to — one believes that Hevron should be under Arab control completely and all of Judea and Samaria should be turned into a Palestinian state, why should this preclude Jewish rights to live on Jewish owned land in Hevron?
Look at the difference, please: When we acquired control of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, we made it available to the Muslims — we didn’t banish them from the place. (What’s regrettable is how they’ve abused this generous act.) Yet there are a great many people, including liberal Jews, comfortable with the idea that Muslims should banish Jews from the Cave of Machpelah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, even though it’s a place of enormous Jewish sanctity and part of the Jewish heritage. They have the notion that it has to be exclusively Muslim.
The severe injustice of this mindset rankles.
This is an example of precisely how badly the Muslims have abused our generosity in allowing them continued access to the Temple Mount;
A Muslim summer camp for some 4,000 children has been run on the Mount by the Islamic Movement. The goal of the camp was to teach the children “to be connected to the Al Aksa Mosque and to protect it with their bodies.”
Syria is back in the news again and what’s being reported is not positive. Now it’s being said that, in spite of Olmert’s attempts to be reassuring, Syria is convinced that Israel intends to start a war and is preparing accordingly. The Syrians observed Israeli operations during the war last summer and have planned their capabilities in response to what was learned.
A senior military source has been cited as saying that Syria has acquired the world’s most sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. That’s in addition to its huge arsenal of missiles which would hit our north and all the way down to Tel Aviv.
Channel 10’s military analyst says that Defense Minister Barak’s intention, should we be faced with war with Syria, would be to launch a swift and strategic ground assault deep into Syrian territory.
As time passes, this scenario seems less a question of "if" than of "when."
There was a terrorist attack in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday that has caused a stir in a variety of ways.
One Ahmad Mahmoud Khatib, an Israeli Arab , grabbed the gun from a security guard at the Ateret Kohanim Yeshiva, and then ran through the streets shooting back at a second guard who pursued him –causing injury to 10 bystanders and the guard before he was shot dead. Some witnesses claimed that he was shot after he had fallen down to the ground. Arab MK Ahmed Tibi then made the same charge. His family refused to believe that he was capable of doing what it was claimed he had done and there were acquaintances who said the story was made up to cover Khatib’s murder by the guards.
What followed this furor was a definitive finale: First, the Galilee Liberation Group, an Israeli-Arab terror organization, claimed responsibility for the attempted terror attack. They said they had sent Khatib.
Then — surprise! — the police released a video tape of the whole thing, and indeed it shows that Khatib had grabbed a gun and shot a security guard.
Some 1,000 Israeli Arabs attended Khatib’s funeral . One of them was MK Jamal Zahalka, who refused to believe the evidence of the video tape and said, “We don’t recognize the right of the settlers, the guards, and the security services to be in Jerusalem, which is occupied land.”
Senior IDF officers are increasingly concerned about the military build-up in Gaza and are becoming less reticent about expressing those concerns. One official referred to what’s going on in Gaza as "a security pressure cooker," implying that it’s only a matter of time before things explode. What the officers are seeing is that Hamas is preparing for confrontation with Israel.
Some draw a parallel with what happened with Hezbollah last year: for six years we knew what was happening with regard to arms build-up, yet failed to respond. They warn that waiting makes the situation more dangerous. The difference between now and our situation with Hezbollah is that "[now] the IDF is prepared for a wide scale operation in Gaza.
“The ball is now in the political echelon’s court.”
Neither is Judea and Samaria outside this situation . Warned Brig.-Gen. Shlomo Brom, “There are still active terror cells there, that have decided to lay low for the meantime, but could definitely become violent should the situation in Gaza change.”
According to PA officials, Abbas has decided to hold elections within the next six months, including in Gaza. Hamas, of course, is still saying they won’t permit this.
What is more, Ahmed Yusef, a political adviser to Haniyeh in Gaza, said that Hamas was holding secret talks with Fatah leaders to resolve the situation, with Abbas having authorized certain Fatah persons to negotiate on his behalf. Abbas, he explained, was keeping the talks on "low flames" to see if he could secure anything from the Americans or the Israelis.
While Fatah is denying this furiously, it sounds just about right to me.
Dore Gold, head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has written a piece, "The dangers of ‘peace’ making," for The World Street Journal. We tend to think, he says, that trying to make peace can’t hurt, but indeed it can.
"…mishandling the Israeli-Palestinian issue," he says, "can exacerbate the threat of radical Islam, especially if it deepens the sense in radical Islamic circles that their military efforts have paid off.
"…The errors of past Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking have not been cost-free. They have real consequences in terms of loss of life and a deepening conflict. These initiatives do not halt the assault of radical Islam against the West. In fact, if mishandled, they can make it far worse."