Skip to comments.Israel’s Latest Sin—Honoring Its Heritage
Posted on 03/02/2010 4:19:23 AM PST by SJackson
When the Israeli cabinet announced the other day that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachels Tomb in Bethlehem, would be included in a list of Israeli heritage sites, it touched off a wave of Palestinian violence and threatsalong with diplomatic protests that were all too concordant with the Palestinian bullying.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has launched the heritage program as a way of strengthening Israelis connection with their Jewish and Zionist roots, initially left the two West Bank sites (though other West Bank sites were included) off the list, apparently fearing various kinds of fallout. Netanyahu was only persuaded to include them at the last minute by Shas, a religious party that is part of his coalition.
Sure enough, the West Bank heated up with an increase in rocks and Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli vehicles, and, particularly, daily disturbances in Hebron, where crowds of Palestinians burned tires and threw rocks and bottles at Israeli soldiers. By Sunday the disturbances had spread to Jerusalem.
On the verbal plane a spokesman for the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad terror organization declared that If the Israelis continue to damage our mosques and holy places, we will respond [i.e., mount terror attacks] within the Zionist territoryalluding to the fact that the Cave of the Patriarchs is a compound with a mosque as well as a synagogue, while Rachels Tomb has recently been claimed to be a mosque as well.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas prime minister in Gaza, piped up with Jerusalem is ours, the land is ours, and God is with us. We will not accept these decisions . And Mahmoud Abbas, president of the official, West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and considered secular and a moderate, was hardly more moderate in his reaction, calling the decision to add the two sites to the heritage list a serious provocation which may lead to a religious war.
The U.S., too, voiced its objection as State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration viewed the move as provocative and unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the table, and that U.S. displeasure with the designations of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the flashpoint town of Hebron and the traditional tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also complained, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the European Union calls on Israel to refrain from provocative acts.
On the Israeli side, a particularly indignant rejoinder came from Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who called Abbass statement:
insolent and outrageous and another attempt to rewrite history. The Cave of the Patriarchs, like Rachels Tomb, are Jewish heritage sites pointing to the deep 3,700-year affiliation of the people of Israel to their land.
The people of Israels affiliation to the land did not beginas the Palestinians are trying to claimin the past 100 years, but when the Cave of the Patriarchs was bought by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite for 400 silver shekels and Rachels Tomb was purchased for a full price in the Binyamin region.
They are both still mentioned in the Torah in the Book of Genesis, and no one can take that away from the people of Israel. The wild Palestinian attack is aimed at rewriting history. This is a continuation of their ideological objection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu, for his part, was more conciliatory, stressing Israels commitment to religious freedom and that this policy is implemented in the Cave of the Patriarchs as well, where the State is working constantly to guarantee appropriate prayer conditions for [both] Jews and Muslims.
A few observations are in order. First, Israel did not announce that it was annexing the two sites, only that they had been added to a list designated for renovations and for encouraging visits by Israelis. Treating these two sites as major foci of the Jewish heritage is not a political statement; it is simply, as Shalom emphasized, a recognition of reality. But whoever envisions the purported two-state solution as one in which even minimal Jewish rights would be upheld within the Palestinian state should take note of the contempt toward Jewish history and values that was, once again, displayed by Palestinians this week.
Second, as alluded to by Netanyahu, Israels record in terms of honoring non-Jewish religious rights in the West Bank and Jerusalem is indeed exemplaryor even goes too far. On the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel grants administrative control to the Muslim Waqf, which allows non-Muslims to visit there only at restricted hours. In Hebron and elsewhere, Muslims have had full freedom of worship; while other Jewish sites in Nablus and Jericho have been damaged and desecrated. That the Palestinian behavior this week stems from an Islamic supremacism that Israel, with its democratic norms, is unable to appeaseis a bit more reality than Israels diplomatic critics want to contemplate.
And so, while the U.S., UN, and EU rebukes come as no great surprise, they are of a piece with a long-held axiom that when such Israeli-Palestinian tensions emerge, the side that bullies and threatens war gets the nod while the side capable of upholding pluralism gets censured.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Who cares? If it's a day ending in 'Y' there are muslims somewhere pissed off about something.
Muslims need to be banished to the “Land of Perpetual Tickling.”
I have read thank you.
Strange, i write about this six days ago and get slammed because it’s not news. NOW it’s on every ping list. NOTE: This is a biog deal, and yes it’s nothing new but in the eyes of the world and Islamic prpaganda it looks like a land grab to those not educated, therefore this is a BIOG deal, wars have been fought for much less, i/e. Clinton, a BJ, Kosovo.
From the other side of his mouth, however, Bibi is trying to exclude voters from Judah and Shomron and the Golan from the upcoming Likud Party primary. No matter to me anyway, because the Misrad Hapnim (Interior Ministry, a/k/a Miserable Panim) is still holding up my family’s Aliya application, and that of a famous doctor from India (remember Mumbai?) also living in Kiryat Arba. So we can’t vote.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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Thanks for the ping.