Skip to comments.Army declares City of Patriarchs a "closed military zone"
Posted on 01/16/2006 11:09:17 AM PST by avile
Army declares City of Patriarchs a "closed military zone" By Israel Insider staff and partners January 16, 2006
A Jewish girl is taken into custody by security forces.
The army declared Hebron, the City of the Jewish Patriarchs, a closed military zone forbidden to non-resident Israelis.
Israeli police seized buildings and rooftops in a Jewish settler enclave in the holy city of Hebron on Monday, restoring order after three days of riots sparked by plans to evict Israeli squatters from an abandoned Palestinian market.
The closure and scuffles could signal the opening salvo in a battle over the West Bank, if Israel follows its pullout from the Gaza Strip last summer with further withdrawals from territory that has far more biblical resonance.
Settler leaders and rabbis demanded that acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert back down and abandon his plan to dismantle the outpost in a Hebron market and several other unauthorized settlements across the West Bank slated for destruction in the coming weeks.
Olmert stood his ground, saying he ordered security forces to deal sternly with the defiant settlers.
"There will be no forgiveness or compromises with this unacceptable behavior," he said Monday. "There are red lines that we will not allow to be crossed."
The fight over Hebron, where tradition says the biblical Jewish patriarchs are buried, has special resonance for the settlers. Many of the settlers here are extreme, religious nationalists and the city has been the scene of harsh fighting during the five years of Israel-Palestinian violence.
Hebron is the only West Bank city divided between Palestinian and Israeli zones. Israeli forces control the center of the city, where about 500 settlers live in several compounds. Settlers often clash with local Palestinians.
Olmert spoke about Hebron after being named acting head of the centrist Kadima Party in place of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who suffered a massive stroke Jan. 4. Sharon formed Kadima last year after rebellious lawmakers from his hardline Likud Party tried to torpedo his pullout from Gaza and four isolated West Bank settlements. Many Israelis assumed Sharon planned further withdrawals, if his party won March 28 elections as polls indicate.
The New Yorker magazine reported Monday that Sharon's National Security Council had been considering four different West Bank evacuation plans: dismantling isolated settlements, removing a whole settlement region, evacuating 88 percent of the West Bank and evacuating 92 percent of the territory.
At the same time, Sharon's aides were discussing withdrawing to Israel's separation barrier -- which includes major settlement blocs on the Israeli side -- in exchange for U.S. recognition of the barrier as Israel's permanent border, the New Yorker reported.
Sharon spokesman Asaf Shariv said several pullout options had been considered by the National Security Council ahead of the Gaza withdrawal, but "I don't know about anything since then that is new."
The Maariv daily reported Monday that Labor leader Amir Peretz also was considering calling for a large-scale unilateral pullout from the West Bank. Peretz spokesman Tom Wegner would not confirm the report.
Hoping to show the government that future withdrawals will not be as painless as the Gaza pullout, hundreds of protesters flocked to Hebron _ where the settlers live among 170,000 Palestinians _ to fight eviction orders given to eight settler families.
The families moved into an empty Palestinian market four years ago after Palestinian gunmen killed a 10-month-old Jewish baby and they ignored an Israeli court order that gave them until Jan. 15 to voluntarily leave. The army said it would remove them within a month.
"It's important to say 'No,"' settler spokesman David Wilder said. "You can't let them chop up your land and give it to your enemy."
The protesters, many of them teenagers and some of them masked, began rampaging through the area Friday, torching empty Palestinian shops and a home, throwing stones at Palestinian houses and trying to rush off-limits areas of the city.
On Monday, hundreds of youth milled about the market and ate fruit and bread left out for them in huge crates. Many wore T-shirts left over from the Gaza protests, reading: "We won't forget, we won't forgive." One wore a set of dog tags listing all the dismantled settlements.
Suddenly, riot police, border police and officers on horseback charged through the market and into the nearby Avraham Avinu settlement enclave, where many of the youth had camped out on mattresses scattered across the floor of a guest house.
The police stormed the buildings and forced the youth to evacuate the rooftops where they had fled. The protesters hurled curses at the police, shoved them and called them American lackeys. Three girls were arrested, police said.
Israel's police commander in Hebron, Avi Harush, said the operation targeted "those same lawbreakers especially the masked people ... who are throwing rocks, paint and other objects at us, and the goal is to bring them down from the rooftops and restore control to the police and the army."
"We have a zero tolerance policy against people who use violence against police and soldiers and vandalize Palestinian property," he said.
Authorities were discussing whether to declare the settlement a closed military zone, which would bar anyone who is not a resident from entering, Harush said.
Two separate groups of rabbis sent letters to Olmert on Monday demanding he cancel the plan to evacuate the market and other outposts. One letter, signed by 20 rabbis, warned Olmert that he courted personal tragedy if he withdrew from any of "the Land of Israel."
The second letter, sent by a group of settler rabbis, called the eviction orders "a war against God and his Messiah."
Although some may be shocked by this, i have always wondered if Rabin et al set his execution up. Castro did the same with Guevara in Bolivia
"And in the future, a Vatican in Islamic Europe may have a similar problem.".......Not "MAY"....WILL!
That was not out of any sense of human morality.
Only those whose greed temporarily overcame their blood lust, in order to extort from the survivors their remaining money and possessions.
Read the testimony of survivors before you assign the humanity to the Arabs that you stripped away from the victims.
Even the eeville Baruch Goldstein, during his career as a doctor prior to 1994, saved the lives of many Arabs, many more lives than your "noble" Arabs who "protected" Jews in 1929 only to rob them.
The only "exact equivalence" exists in your hallucinations.
Although some may be shocked by this, i have always wondered if Rabin et al set his execution up.
I'm sure Kahane's hate for Arabs had something to do with their hate for him. If David Duke got shot by a black extremist, we wouldn't blame Bush.
Even the eeville Baruch Goldstein, during his career as a doctor prior to 1994, saved the lives of many Arabs, many more lives than your "noble" Arabs who "protected" Jews in 1929 only to rob themActually, Wikipedia reports that he was threatened with court-martial for refusing to treat non-Jews, even if they were active IDF.
That's still not really the point. His memorial/shrine in Kiryat Arba, combined with recent events that not even the Yesha Council can spin away, makes it clear that the extremist problem exists on both sides of this issue.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.