There was a huge reaction on the part of the Palestinian Arabs to the announcement by our prime minister that the Machpelah in Hevron and Kever Rachel outside of Bethlehem would be included in our Heritage sites. What? Jews claiming sites in areas that they are telling the world belong exclusively to them?
In Hevron there was rioting both Monday and yesterday, with rioters burning tires and throwing rocks at members of the IDF. Riot control techniques were employed by the IDF.
Fayyad relied upon one of the PA default positions: He called on the international community to pressure Israel to change its decision. PA leaders have been led to believe that they are so much the darlings of the Western world, that their every request will be heard. They don’t have to act on their own behalf, others will do it for them.
Fayyad pointed out that Israel has also named the walls of the Old City as a Heritage site. But these walls, he says, “are inside eastern and occupied Jerusalem, which will be Palestine’s eternal capital.”
Meanwhile, Abbas fell back on the other PA default position: threat of violence. He said that this decision constituted a “severe provocation” that could ignite a “war of religions” and lead to a new intifada.
My favorite (so to speak) is this:
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights claims that our government’s decision “constitutes a violation of Article 1 of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954, which calls upon an occupying power to ‘safeguard and respect’ property that is ‘of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people.'”…
PCHR called for the international community “to provide protection for Palestinian civilians, their property and their religious sites.”
THEIR religious sites. This is their modus operandi, is it not?
We can laugh. We can scoff. But we must make sure that the world doesn’t believe them. That is why telling our narrative, speaking clearly about our heritage, is so important.
It’s impossible to over-emphasize this. To relinquish our claim to our holy sites would ultimately be to relinquish our claim — our right — to this land.
And there is something else that has to be emphasized constantly: We share. We are in control at the Machpelah. But the Arabs also are given access to it, and place for their prayers and celebrations within. There are particular holy days when only Jews may enter, and others when only Muslims may enter.
President Shimon Peres, in a meeting with Special UN Envoy of the Middle East Process, Robert Serry (about whom more below), made this very point:
“[Israel] aims to honor and allow freedom of worship to all, irrespective of their faith, and protect the holy sites. There is no violation of Muslim or Christian religious rights in any holy place.”
From several quarters there has been an appropriate response from our government.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom called the PA reaction “insolent and outrageous and another attempt to rewrite history.”
“We are talking about a campaign of lies and hypocrisy,” said a statement from the prime minister’s office.
“Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs are burial sites of Israel’s forefathers dating back more than 3,500 years. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the nation’s foremothers – Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel – and are definitely worthy of preservation and renovation.”
It was further pointed out that right now renovations are being done by Israel in the hall where Muslim prayers are held.
If we lived to be 1,000, we would not see renovation of a Jewish prayer hall done by the Arabs if they were in control.
In fact, based on past history and various statements made, we have serious reason to doubt we’d be permitted access to the Machpelah at all if it were (G-d forbid) in Muslim hands. There is the precedent of the Seventh Step:
In 1267, the Muslim Mameluks forbade Jews to enter the Machpelah. They were not permitted to climb beyond the seventh step of the stairway leading to the edifice on the eastern side. But pious Jews, although humiliated, stood on that seventh step and prayed there. This prohibition actually was in effect for 700 years, until 1967, when Israel liberated Hevron.
It is devotion to the Machpelah that keeps the Jewish residents of Hevron so determined: they are convinced, with solid reason, that Jewish access would be lost if they left.
We have, as well, the evidence of how the Arabs have destroyed Kever Yosef (Joseph’s Tomb at Shechem) since it was turned over to the PA, in open defiance of their Oslo obligations — they attempted to turn it into a mosque.
And see below for a story of how the Muslims have attempted to co-opt Kever Rachel:
Returning to UN Envoy Serry: He told Peres that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon would be visiting the region to discuss ways to facilitate movement of goods into Gaza. While there was a need for certain goods such as building materials to go in for the rehabilitation of several buildings, Sperry said that there is no humanitarian problem in Gaza.
Allow me to repeat this: A UN envoy says there is no humanitarian problem in Gaza. (Thanks to Yisrael M. on this.)
You can see this in a release from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Please, take every opportunity to share this information. This is one more way in which we can reinforce truth in the face of pervasive lies directed at Israel. These lies come from a variety of sources, from UNRWA to Congressman Brian Baird of Washington State, who has been pushing for the US to do a “Berlin airlift” style operation to bring supplies into Gaza.
France is flip-flopping with regard to early recognition of a Palestinian state. First, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner came out squarely in favor of such early recognition. But then President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a press conference with Abbas, spoke about a “viable” Palestinian state, but shied away from promoting recognition of one now or soon.
Sarkozy said that Kouchner was looking for ways to bring momentum to the peace process but that France’s goal remained “a functioning Palestinian state in clearly set borders.”
From my perspective this dichotomy of thinking reflects something else, as well: If Sarkozy were reasonably certain that “a functioning state in clearly set borders” would evolve after France lent support, I suspect he’d go along. The unease results from (very rational) doubts about the Palestinian Arabs ever getting their act together. To support a state that doesn’t happen is to be left looking very foolish indeed.
Frankly, that anyone in Europe would entertain the notion of lending early support for a Palestinian state, after what has been revealed regarding the incredible corruption of the PA, is a clear indication of diplomatic dysfunction, in my opinion. We might call it Kouchner chasing fairy tales.
There has been backtracking by Europeans on another issue, as well: that of alleged use by the Mossad of forged European passports in the assassination of al-Mabhouh. The simple truth is that there is no direct evidence linking the Mossad to what happened in Dubai, no matter the suspicions. The fact that some of the forged European passports carried the names of people who also have Israeli citizenship proves nothing.
And so, the EU issued a statement about the passports that did not mention Israel. Nonetheless, the statement by the EU troubled me:
“The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on 20 January raises issues which are profoundly disturbing to the European Union. This was an action which cannot be conducive to peace and stability in the Middle East…”
Hold it for a second! Killing a man whose job it was to import accurate missiles from Iran to Gaza so they could be used against the civilian population of Israel is not conducive to peace and stability? Some very distorted thinking is at work here.
The statement then went on to vigorously protest the use of forged European passports, and so on and so forth.
See Michael Totten, writing on this subject in Commentary:
“Al-Mabhouh was a terrorist commander…He was a combatant. Unlike his victims, he was fair game. He would have been fair game for even an air strike if he were in Gaza. As he was, instead, in Dubai, he was taken out quietly without even alerting, let alone harming, any of the civilians around him.
“If only Israel could fight all its battles this way. It would be the cleanest and least-deadly war in the history of warfare. Even some of Israel’s harshest critics should understand that…
“It’s unlikely that Israel can avert the next war by assassinating its enemy’s leadership, but it’s always better to take out a high-level target in person whenever possible than with a blockbuster bomb from a distance. I can’t help but wonder if those griping about the recent hit in Dubai — assuming the Mossad actually did it — care less about the lives of real human beings than the latest excuse to bash Israel.” (emphasis added)
“The Good News Corner”
Purim approaches. In most of Israel, it comes after Shabbat, in Jerusalem (and Sfat, walled cities), it comes on Shushan Purim, which is Monday. But we are into the month of Adar, which is a month for being joyous. Today I had occasion to be at the offices of NDS Technologies, a major international hi-tech corporation with offices in Jerusalem. The receptionist was wearing bunny ears, and in the lobby were make-up people doing “faces” on NDS employees.
Only in Israel! I thought. And I was joyous for it.
Archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar has announced the discovery, outside the walls of the Old City in an area referred to as Ophel, of stone fortifications that are believed to date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and the First Temple.
The city wall that has been exposed is 70 meters long and six meters high. According to Dr. Mazar, it “testifies to a ruling presence. Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering.” A comparison with other findings and the nature of the pottery uncovered at the site “enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall that has been revealed is that which was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the tenth century BCE.”
Perhaps most exciting: “This is the first time that a structure from that time has been found that may correspond with written descriptions of Solomon’s building in Jerusalem.
“The Bible tells us that Solomon built — with the assistance of the Phoenicians, who were outstanding builders — the Temple and his new palace and surrounded them with a city…”