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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My personal take on Hevron

I'm hoping that the combination of bold, italicized and underlined words in the title of this post will head off some (but certainly not all) of the nonsense that ensues whenever I make the mistake of wading into politics. Only time will tell.

First of all, I should start by saying that I have no more or less information about what's going on in Hevron than anyone else in the world with an Internet connection. I haven't visited Hevron in over a year, and contrary to popular belief, we settler types don't have some Magic 8-Ball® that makes us privy to the goings-on throughout the West bank.

So with that said I'll tell you that I think the biggest tragedy in what is being reported from Hevron right now is that the Israeli press is falling into the same trap as their foreign counterparts; specifically, of looking at events on the ground with little or no reference to the historical and/or legal context.

Without sounding like some kind of zealot/messianist, it is worth pointing out that Hevron is one of the few cities in this region to which the Jewish people have an iron-clad, ancient, internationally known (but oft-ignored) claim of ownership.

No matter which version of the Bible you have on your bookshelf, you can open to the book of Genesis and read word-for-word about the negotiated purchase by Abraham of the cave of the Machpelah and surrounding fields of Mamre in Hevron (in front of witnesses) for cash money.

What's more, both Judaism and Islam agree that the deal was consummated and that many of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are in fact buried there. This may seem superfluous to many, but it is a point that is frequently ignored by people who like to view only the Arabs as the ancient claimants to any part of the land.

Next, up until late summer of 1929 when 133 Jews were murdered, 339 more were wounded and pretty much all of the Jewish owned property/real estate in Hevron was seized by Arab rioters, there had been a sizable and long-standing Jewish population in Hevron.

It is also worth pointing out that up until the 1929 riots (which were deliberately instigated by the then Mufti of Jerusalem), there had been comfortable (I won't say cordial) relations between the Jewish and Arab residents of the city.

I find it interesting that so many who have latched onto the Palestinian 'right of return' to land and property that was abandoned or seized during the War of Independence in 1948, consider 1929 to be such distant and ancient history as to be legally moot (or not worth mentioning at all).

I am not a subscriber to the myth that the Jews came to Ottoman and mandatory Palestine and began settling an empty land. But in fairness the land was never empty of Jews either, and there are at least as many un-adjudicated Jewish land claims throughout the region as there are Arab ones... and the Jewish claims aren't being held in interest-bearing accounts the way the bulk of the Arab ones are.

Some of the journalists have been thorough enough to add closing paragraphs or even footnotes to their articles that make reference to the fact that the current trouble is essentially over property that was undisputedly owned by Jews and which has now been re-occupied by Jews as a form of protest. The really fair-minded ones even mention in passing that the stores were re-occupied by Jewish residents as a reaction to the murder of a baby (who was being held in her mother's arms at the time) by an Arab sniper. 

I have mentioned several times here on treppenwitz that I don't personally have the time or interest to participate in the tradition of answering each act of terror with a new act of settlement.  However, I like this formula a great deal more than answering violence with violence.  Call me old-fashioned.

So with that sorely truncated and inadequate historical groundwork laid, what do I think of what's going on in Hevron right this minute?

I think that the Government and Police (not to mention the media), have bestowed the villain's black hat upon the settlers once again without allowing for any historical or legal motivation to their actions.  This was done to great effect during the disengagement from Gaza, and I have made no secret of my disdain for such deliberately biased politicizing of what should be fairly straightforward legal issues.

With that said, I should point out that I think the settlers involved in the current scuffle have once again missed an important opportunity to wear, if not a white hat, then at least not the black one.  Simply put, they have confused 'fair' with 'legal'. 

If they were on a playground and a tribunal of kids from various cliques was asked if there was a 'fair' Jewish claim to any or all of Hevron, the answer would (IMHO) be an easy yes. 

But there's the rub... this isn't taking place on a playground.

The shops that these settlers took over and converted into residences were unquestionably once owned by Jews and subsequently taken by force from the legal owners by Arabs.  Nobody... not even the press... says otherwise.  The problem is that these Jewish settlers have appointed themselves the legal heirs to the property based solely on fairness without any regard for the law.

If they had taken the simple step of tracking down and contacting even one of the legal heirs to the property (presumably not too difficult to do only a few generations later), and gotten their permission to either assume title, or at least become a co-claimants, to the land, then they would be on much more solid legal ground.  But like so many of the activists who continue to set up non-viable 'McSettlements' on any random piece of Jewish or State-owned land, they are missing the clear distinction between what's fair and what's legal.

I also get more than a bit angry when I see the press reporting on events in Hevron as though the more violent participants were elected and recognized representatives of all settlers (religious or otherwise).  This is simply not the case.  Left and right...secular and religious...these loose classifications within Israeli society are rife with factions and individualists.  In this respect, 'fair' should carry some weight... but it is being largely ignored in favor of a more convenient and homogeneous view of all settlers as religious troublemakers.

So, what will happen now? 

Sorry, my Magical Settler 8-Ball® says "Not clear...try again later".  I can venture a pretty safe guess that the police (as the pointy end of the government's current policy) will have little difficulty in tossing out a few angry Jews from an area that has become controversial at a time when Israel finds controversy to be inconvenient. 

But if you ask me what I think... I'll tell you that having Hevron join Gaza in Judenrien status is not kosher from either a legal nor fair standpoint. 

Hevron has both an ancient and modern Jewish provenance unrivaled by any other place, including Jerusalem.   I would hope that the current anti-religious and anti-settler sentiment held by much of the media (and more than half of the country) wouldn't give people the mistaken notion that the legal and 'fair' aspects of the Jewish claims to land and property in Hevron can simply be tossed aside as inconvenient and irrelevant.  But it looks to me like that is exactly what will happen in the end.

Or, as I often point out... I could very well be full of sh*t.

220_17

Posted by David Bogner on January 18, 2006 | Permalink

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» Treppenwitz on Hebron from On the Contrary: Don's Mideast Musings
David Bogner of Treppenwitz has come up with yet another excellent post – one of the best commentaries on recent (and not-so-recent) events in Hebron that I’ve seen. Go there. Read it. If enough of you do so, maybe he’ll put me on his blog- ...... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 19, 2006 8:05:10 PM

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'police (as the pointy end of the government's current policy)" Tee Hee.

Bet you didn't think that is what I would comment on.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Jan 18, 2006 4:48:56 PM

Seems like a fair and reasonable assessment.

Posted by: mirty | Jan 18, 2006 5:57:14 PM

As Mirty said, this seems like a fair and reasonable assessment of the events, at least as we can see them from here (outside Hevron). I can have no qualms with your logic, or the alternative approaches you suggest.

Now take the magic settler 8 Ball and fast forward 10-20 years and ask the 8 Ball what it says the result of say, reclaiming all that Jewish property in Hevron, and throughout Judea and Samaria for that matter would be.

As you stated, it is not an empty land and their are now nearly 2 (or is it 3 by now) million Palestinians living there.

In prior discussions here the demographic timebomb, has been brought up, and you have been somewhat dismissive of it, stating that you don't know how things will be (that malfunctioning 8 ball again). In the past the only response I have heard from settlers is that "if more Jews make aliyah everything will be OK and it won't be an issue" or "we'll transfer all those Arabs to Jordan." Sounds like betting on a losing horse to me.

My point is this. Well as you say it is both fair and probably legal for Jews to return to their pre-1929 property in Hevron, that doesn't mean that it is necessarily the right thing to do in the current context and situation. Just as Palestinians are being asked to give up their right of return for the sake of peace (and has de facto occurred in places like Haifa, Yafo, Lod, Baka etc.), Jews may have to as well. Continuously reasserting that right, as the settler movement does, and especially in the manner that it does so, leads to the black hat analogy. Furthermore, I still don't see how the approach reasonably fits in with the notion of a democratic Israel with a Jewish majority down the line. Please explain it to me (and I'm really being sincere in asking this question of someone who lives beyond the Green Line - I want to know what you think).

Posted by: wanderer | Jan 18, 2006 6:29:51 PM

Amen! It is a relief to find this post, since I did not have the strength to write anything as clear.

I am going to link to you right now.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jan 18, 2006 7:47:17 PM

All too often these disagreements end up being exacerbated because facts are not ignored and emotion is given precedence.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 18, 2006 8:33:45 PM

Thank you for clarifying some of these issues for me. I've been trying to get more information on what's going, and checking various sources, which seem to be offering nearly contradictory information. Individuals, who comment, are less-than-logical. They either call the settlers a bunch of crazed fanatics who are there completely illegally or completely ignore the caveats you pointed out to in terms of legality. It's really hard making a balanced assessment, considering that my attempts are usually met with emotional outbursts, or worse yet, blatant disinformation.

Posted by: Irina | Jan 18, 2006 8:42:57 PM

Wanderer raises the "demographic time bomb" argument - which we now know is based on inflated Palestinian numbers, and fanciful estimates that up to 60,000 Arabs a year will immigrate to Palestine.

In fact, the corruption and violence of the PA and sundry factions has resulted in a net emigration of 20,000-30,000 a year. (For comparison, when Jewish immigration is "only" 30,000 it is considered "a bad year for Aliyah")

The alarmist predictions of demographic disaster were based on Palestinian estimates that they numbered almost 4 million. The adjusted-for-reality (!) numbers put the Palestinian population at just over 2 million - and shrinking - against a still-growing Jewish population of 6-7 million. New streams of Jewish immigration from France, Britain, and South America are building.

This argument simply falls apart upon examination of the facts. And a backward glance reveals that Israel's demographic balance has steadily improved since the mid 1930s.

For more:
http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief004-19.htm

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 18, 2006 9:40:53 PM

David,
The answer to your last question is as follows:
The land in question was last owned by Kollel Sefaradim Magen Avot (KSMA). KSMA has asked the Jews of Hevron to see to it that the land is used and are on board with what has happened. There is a legal opinion, however, that during the period when Hevron was under Jordanian control, the Jordanian "apotropos" (there must be an English term for that) became the owner so that now the Israeli apotropos is the legal owner. Br all accounts, though, the land is Jewish-owned. The committee ("vaadat arar") that ruled on this, recommended that the land be rented to Jews. The Defense Ministry as recently as a few weeks ago agreed with this recommendation. AG Mazuz has decided not to accept the recommendation and to throw the current residents out "in order that they not be rewarded for having moved in without permission". The Jewish community had agreed that, to abide by the AG's decision, the current residents would move out and other Jews would move in instead in an orderly fashion. The AG refused and all hell has broken out.

Posted by: ben chorin | Jan 18, 2006 10:09:01 PM

Dear David,

There is really no point to argue about the legal ownership. Nobody seriously challenges that side of the issue.

There are too main points that are against our presence in Hebron:

1. Preeminent domain. Meaning that if the State of Israel preferers to seize the land and to give it to Palestinians for reasons above those of private ownership - this is what will happen.

2. Pikuach nefesh. And I, as a secular Jew, ask you, as a religious one - how many of our sons and daughters have to die for Hebron, no matter how sacred it is?

Best.
STG

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Jan 18, 2006 10:28:41 PM

SnoopyTheGoon: Does eminent domain in Israel mean something different from what it means in U.S.? In U.S. eminent domain is only applicable in the instances when the government wants to use the land for a PUBLIC project (i.e. making beaches public, or putting a railroad). A year or two ago, when the government started seizing land and give it private developers, it started a scandal, because it's considered a misapplication. So I'm wondering what kind of relationship Israeli government has with respect to privately owned land.

Posted by: Irina | Jan 18, 2006 10:46:49 PM

David,

Bravo. Thank you. Now, can you clear up another question I have? Why did G-d save Ishmael from Abraham and then even go so far as to prosper him?

(just kidding)

Posted by: Scott | Jan 18, 2006 11:46:21 PM

Lisoosh... nooo, that's not what I thought you would comment on. :-)

Mirty... That's me... Mr. Fair and Reasonable. Notice I didn't offer any real solutions though. It's easy to make an armchair assessment of the situation on the ground when you don't have a dog in the fight. Yes, I'm a settler but Efrat isn't Hevron... not by a long shot. :-)

Wanderer... I was just about to tackle the demographic question when Ben-David beat me to the punch. Darn < /sarcasm > :-)

Westbankmama... Thank you for the mention on your blog. I honestly don't think I'd be as calm and rational if the controversy was over Gush Etzion. Perspective is everything.

Jack... I'm assuming you meant that "facts are ignored..." and if so, I agree with you.

Irina... Just don't think I've given you the whole story... I haven't. The truth is I don't have the big picture. There is an Arab side of the story... a government/security side of the story... a diplomacy side of the story... a Human Rights organization side of the story, etc. My point is that I wrote down my take on what's happening in Hevron so that at least one point of view would be out there as a reference point (for me and for anyone else that cares to use it as such).

Ben-David... Thank you for being quick on the draw with the facts and figures. Honestly, the demographics question is one of the things that wears me down and makes me not want to talk about politics at all. It is such a simple thing to logically refute, but it requires so much energy.

Ben Chorin... Thanks for filling in some important missing details from my narrative. Two questions though: A) Do you think the Ministry of Defense would have drafted a recommendation to the AG if the settlers had not forced the issue with their actions? and B) If the answer to 'A' is yes, do you think the AG would have found another reason to reject the recommendation? Do you see where I'm going with this? (OK, technically that was 3 questions) I know these are impossible to answer with anything other than your gut feeling, but your hunches carry a lot of weight with me.

Snoopy the Goon... Your point #1 presupposes that the government can act without showing cause. In some cases the Israeli government has shown this assumption to be true... but the Arabs have shown us that they can have an impact on how decisions are made by using the courts. As to your point #2 let me ask you: How many of our sons and daughters have to die for Ashqelon? It is essentially the same question because the government decides what is and isn't worth defending at the risk of soldier's lives and it doesn't do so lightly. The question you ask was also asked about Gaza and you see now that getting the Jews out of Gaza has not substantially lowered the risk to soldiers in that, or any other part of the country. They still have to guard the border and they may still be ordered to go back into Gaza. Those who ask question #2 are (IMHO) scare mongers and make the mistake of looking at tiny portions of the map without any idea about the strategic big picture. The terror cells in and around Hevron aren't just a threat to the Jews of Hevron or Kiryat Arba. They are threat to the populations of Beer Sheva, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well. Israel has troops stationed throughout the West Bank because it is in our interest to do so... not because of any particular settlement.

Scott... If you read the biblical prediction given to Hagar of what kind of person Ishmael and his descendants would turn out to be (Gen 16:12), I think you'll have a good idea. [whoa, did I just quote scripture to Scott?!]

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 19, 2006 12:07:26 AM

David and Ben-David...

Thank you for the referral to the link. I'm not quite sure what it was supposed to show, other than to support the demographic timebomb:

By 2020, on the whole territory, according to a medium projection which assumes a decline of Arab fertility, Jews will be about 47 percent of the total and by 2050 they might be 37 percent.

Yes there is a 1.4 million person gap in the PA's estimates for the reasons outlined in the link. But this still doesn't explain away the future. As your link concludes:

The fundamental issue in this debate is not the specific percentage of the current Jewish majority, or the specific date at which Jews will lose their majority over the whole territory. The crucial demographic dimension concerns the quality of Israel as a Jewish and democratic society. This cannot be preserved under the present and foreseeable demographic trends unless significant decisions are made concerning Israel's territorial definition.

If the Jewish fertility rate is 2.7 and the Muslim fertility rate is 4.5, I still don't see how this can all be explained away as "wrong statistics by the PA." If anything, I think this raises even more questions that have still not been dealt with, and are fundamental to the whole setler movement.

Posted by: wanderer | Jan 19, 2006 12:27:06 AM

David,

Some members of my extended family are actually living (well I actually haven’t checked lately) survivors of the 1929 massacre as well as former (Jewish) Hebron land owners.

As I was told the account, my brother-in-law’s great-grandmother was in Hebron when the massacre began, her husband was away in Jerusalem on business.

She barely escaped with her children through a series of complete miracles and made her way up to Jerusalem over a period of a week.

I didn’t ask what happened to the land and house(s), but as apparently everyone I’ve heard about handed responsibility to the KSMA, I would assume that to have been the case here too.

Next time I see any of the old-folk I will ask them for more details.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Jan 19, 2006 1:50:19 AM

Also, I'm sorry if it wears you down to deal with the demographics issue, but I don't beleive it has been logically refuted (at least by the facts presented here). If you'd prefer not to deal with it, that's fine, but I don't think its going away, and will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Zionist enterprise.

(After re-reading this comment, I think I should have submitted it to the department of redundancy department before posting it, but I really would like to understand your take on this issue.)

Posted by: wanderer | Jan 19, 2006 2:14:31 AM

David,

Re preeminent domain - as you correctly surmised, it is only about the legal means and is only a minor issue.

As to your example of Gaza: how many IDF soldiers died protecting the border with Gaza after departure? How many soldiers (and settlers) died during the years of our control of Gaza?

The turning point in my attitude towards the Gazan settlers was an interview one of them (from Netzarim, I belive) gave. He was extremely proud of the fact that a whole battalion was securing the place. I think that there is no need to expand on this.

And to your question on Ashqelon - the answer is simple. When you and I (figure of speech, of course) agree on our borders, this is what our borders will be. Being, most probably, a better student of our history than I am, you can judge by yourself what happens to our nation when there is no unity and agree with me that it (the unity) has a greater value than this or that piece of land.

I am saying this with all due respect to the historic value of that (or any other) piece of land in question.

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Jan 19, 2006 8:58:34 AM

Joe Settler... You should ask them to go through their old documents to see if they have anything connected to ownership of family property in the area. As they say on the Publisher's Clearinghouse envelopes; "You might already be a winner...". :-)

Wanderer... It's not so much that I don't want to deal with it so much as I think there are much more pressing issues that both sides seem perfectly content to ignore. I firmly believe that there will one day be a Palestinian entity/state in part of what is now called the West Bank and/or Gaza. I won't speculate on how stable or viable such am entity will be because even the PA seems to lack long-range plans for what the Palestinians will be 'when they grow up'. The reason I choose not to deal with the demographics issue right this minute is that once there is a separate Palestinian state, the demographics issue becomes akin to worrying about the exact date when the Sun will go supernova. In short, it won't be in our lifetime so let's deal with things that affect us in the here and now. I hope you know I didn't mean any offense with my previous comment.

Snoope the Goon... Two important things you said that you may not be aware of:
1. "...how many IDF soldiers died protecting the border with Gaza after departure? How many soldiers (and settlers) died during the years of our control of Gaza?" Do you really want to make a rational statistical comparison between the events of nearly 30 years of Israeli presence in Gaza and less than 6 months since we've been out? This isn't a very scientific statistical model from which to draw conclusions.
2. "The turning point in my attitude towards the Gazan settlers was an interview one of them (from Netzarim, I belive) gave. He was extremely proud of the fact that a whole battalion was securing the place." This is the root of my problem with many on both the left and right! You have made up your mind about a nationally sanctioned enterprise that spanned a quarter century... with countless legal, political and religious issues, based entirely on the statement of one moonbat. Again, this is not what one would call a sound statistical model on which to base national policy, much less one's opinion. It is always easy to find people on the 'other side' that say and do things which conform to our worst fears and prejudices about the group to which they belong. The challenge is to set aside such self-fulfilling assumptions and look for the real data.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 19, 2006 9:20:50 AM

Snoopy wrote:
When you and I (figure of speech, of course) agree on our borders, this is what our borders will be. Being, most probably, a better student of our history than I am, you can judge by yourself what happens to our nation when there is no unity and agree with me that it (the unity) has a greater value than this or that piece of land.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Snoopaleh, national unity is wonderful - but borders are decided between Israel and others, not between Israelis. Remember?

And the "others" in this case have given ample, clear indication - in both word and deed - of where they intend to draw the line: at the Mediterranean.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 19, 2006 9:41:34 AM

Wanderer: it is not possible to give a "logical proof" for or against a highly speculatative prediction such as the "demographic time bomb". The whole project depends on numerous assumptions:

- that the ratio of religious to secular Israelis will remain constant (it isn't)

- that religious Israelis will follow standard demographic behavior and have fewer children as they rise in education and income level (they aren't - most college educated "knitted kippahs" have larger families than their parents)

- that Arab birth and lifespan data will remain at the high level they were at during the stable Israeli protectorate (they aren't).

- that Aliyah rates will remain stable (do you speak Russian? How about French or Spanish?)

As David said, this is scaremongering - of the most irrational sort, because the solutions proferred are not solutions.

It's funny to hear the "rationalists" who want to continue the policy of retreat because "it's only practical". They insist on receiving "logical proof" that self-defense works, but never can explain just how abandoning Hebron will solve the conflicting claims to the land, or how unilateral withdrawal will solve the Palestinian demographic problem - there will still be more Arabs than Jews west of the Jordan, and they'll still be lobbing bombs into Ashkelon.

Spare me the rhetoric of false "reasonableness". There is nothing more reasonable and normal than vigorous self-defense. If our partners in border-drawing have made it clear that it's an us-or-them situation, there is nothing more reasonable or normal - or moral - or unifying - than preferring Us over Them, and doing our best to make it so.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 19, 2006 9:55:49 AM

David, to your points:

1. But in your heart you know the answer. Look at the Levanon border.

2. No, I have not made my mind up based on that interview - no matter how revolting was the self-satisfaction of that specific person. I changed my attitude to some of the people. This is far from being the same.

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Jan 19, 2006 10:00:27 AM

"Snoopaleh, national unity is wonderful - but borders are decided between Israel and others, not between Israelis. Remember?"

That is where you got it wrong, Ben-David. Sorry, just wrong.

"And the "others" in this case have given ample, clear indication - in both word and deed - of where they intend to draw the line: at the Mediterranean."

So - what does it have to do with the price of fish on the market?

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Jan 19, 2006 10:08:28 AM

David...

Thank you for your response. I have never heard you state that you thought there would someday be a Palestinian state in portions of the West Bank/Gaza. I won't ask if you think it's the "right thing to do," but I think its a realistic use of the 8 ball. I agree it would also help solve the demographic issues within the to-be-recognized boundaries of the Jewish State of Israel.

Ben-David...

I never asked for a "logical proof" defusing the demographic timebomb, I just wanted to hear David's opinion on it with regard to the events in Hevron and as someone who lives beyond the Green Line.
It was David who said it was an argument that was "simple to logically refute." The link you provided me did not logically refute it, and in fact supported it. Your latest response is an emotional list of statistics (from where?) which again does not provide a response to my question other than to say it is wrong.
There is also a big difference between rational, reasonable, vigorous self-defense versus being provocative and aggressive without a long term vision. If the choice I am given is between being rational and reasonable with an eye towards the future rather than irrational, emotional and violent living in the here and now, I'm gonna go with rational and reasonable every time.

Posted by: wanderer | Jan 19, 2006 7:40:54 PM

I read an article on YNET earlier this week that reported that the military had promised the current occupants that if they stopped the protests and moved out that they would be able to move back in (they were guaranteeing that these same occupants would get legal rental leases on the property in question) in two months. The occupants refused. Seems to me _that_ would have been the ultimate solution. Personally, I would have taken the deal instead of shooting myself in the foot. Had they agreed to this and acted with restraint they would have garnered a lot of public support (certainly mine)in the event that the army or anyone else tried to renege on the deal (as they said they feared). Instead, they have done even more damage to the image the rest of the country has of the settlers. It is just very unfortunate all around.

Posted by: Yael | Jan 20, 2006 4:38:53 AM

Yael: The ynet report does not seem to jibe with the background of the case, as described in other Israeli media. I haven't seen the report you mentioned, so I can't judge it.

The story as I have got it is that the government's major claim is that it doesn't want squatters to prosper from breaking the law. The Hebron community offered to clear out the squatting families and bring other families in legally (perhaps this is another version of the 2-month story?) but this was rejected.

The government's sudden concern about 12 Israeli squatters-with-permission - while Arabs build literally thousands of illegal homes on publicly held land - itself stinks of political motivations. One of the weekend papers here shows an editorial caricature of Ehud Olmert running a Punch-and-Judy show, with one puppet a settler and the other a policeman.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 20, 2006 10:21:07 AM

Ben-David, here's a link to the story about the compromise deal on Haaretz's english site. But I'm with you on the media coverage being biased. I was talking not too long ago with Lisa (of On the Face) and she was saying that the media went out of its way to frame the disengagement from Gaza as being a much more intense reaction from the settlers than what actually occured --for instance, using tight close-ups of very small groups of angry youth with the picture composure suggesting there were hundreds more of them just out of camera shot --when there, in fact, were only the handful shown. she also said that the media does this regularly with coverage of the palestinians, as well.

Posted by: Yael | Jan 20, 2006 2:18:39 PM

It seems to me that the Palestinian claim to Israel and Hevron in particular seems to boil down to

1. Squatters rights

and

2. A systematic attempt to deny or discredit Jewish historical claims to the land.

IE there was never a Jewish Temple (and let's try to destroy as many artifacts as we can as quickly as possible) or there was never a Jewish history in the land.

Over the years, I've always wondered why the Torah goes out of its way to describe the monetary transaction between Abraham and Efron for the purchase of the field in Hebron. It's mentioned over and over and seems out of place.

I guess we can now see why it is there.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jan 23, 2006 5:44:32 PM

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