Oh Say Can You See

Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
Oh Say Can You See
September 16, 1995

Flag-mania has hit Hebron. International news crews are aiming their cameras
at the Kordova Girls School, located directly across the street from Beit
Hadassah and Beit Schneerson in the center of Hebron. The reason for the
attention: a “palestinian flag” raised on the roof of the building by its
present occupants.
For the last week or so flag ping-pong has bounced the colored cloth
up and down the flagpole. First, a few facts. At the end of last week it was
reported that ‘settlers’ had attacked and beat Palestinian school girls. This
“unprovoked attack” was denounced by the American government. What really
happened? Very simply – the girls from the school decided to hold a special
“parade” down the main street of Hebron, through the Beit Hadassah
neighborhood. One of our good neighbors from Kiryat Arba, present at the
time, saw a big palestinian flag waving in the air, and removed it. He also
made a little bit of noise in the process, speaking his mind to the girls
carrying the flag. The girls, stripped of their flag, and it seems, also of
their bravery, panicked and began running every which way, including into each
other. The resulting news reports were that settlers had beat the girls. So
much for objective reporting.
Several days before this, on the same day that 13 Likud Knesset
members visited Hebron, Abraham Avinu neighborhood residents found a
palestinian flag adorning the skyline several meters away from their
buildings. The flag was atop a Waqf office building, adjacent to the
neighborhood. (The Waqf is the religious-political arm of Islam – they
control, among other places, Temple Mount in Jerusalem and to a great degree,
Ma’arat HaMachpela in Hebron.) The flag flew over the building all day. Only
that evening was it “mysteriously” removed and burned. So far it hasn’t
reappeared.
On Tuesday of this week following the reappearance of the flag over
the Kordova school, and its abrupt removal by “unidentified” perpetrators, MK
David Zucker from the Meretz Party, visited the area. He told reporters that
the “settlers are the ugly side of Israel” and encouraged the principal of the
school. He told her to keep flying the flag.
What is official Israeli policy concerning palestinian flags? Private
citizens are “allowed” to fly flags, but they may not be flown over public
buildings. Major General Ilan Biran (who, in the past has not been known as a
“good friend” of Hebron, but has as of late, began changing his tune) has
specifically issued an order forbidding that the flag be flown from the school
building.
On Wednesday the flag made its grand appearance, once again, in the
morning. This time, MK Shaul Guttman, formerly of Moledet, assisted in
removing it. Havoc broke loose. Soldiers, police, Arabs and Jews appeared on
the scene. Two young policewomen attempted to arrest one of the Jewish women
who had participated in removing the flag. She resisted, and ran away. When
they finally caught up with her and handcuffed her, MK Guttman snapped the
second handcuff on himself. When they both disappeared, the police had to
arrest someone else in her place, so they found another victim. She was
arrested and charged with beating police and clawing them. (I can attest –
she has almost no finger nails and is about 5 feet tall, maybe. – Extremely
dangerous!)
I also spent the day in the police station. Why? In the middle of the
ruckus, an Arab appeared, carrying what looked like an eleven or twelve-year
old girl in his arms. She had been “attacked and injured” during the
struggle. She was so “seriously” injured that an ambulance was requested.
After she had been prepared for the journey to the hospital (less than five
minutes away) another young “victim” appeared on the site. She also needed
“immediate, emergency” medical attention. When the ambulance driver finally
finished preparing the two “victims of the peace process” he found that the
keys to the ambulance were missing. Not wanting to admit his negligence, he
pointed his finger at someone in the crowd – “There he is – he stole the
keys.” And the thief was, none other than, yours truly. Several police
surrounded me and demanded the keys. I told them that I didn’t know what they
were talking about, but of course, the word of an Arab against a Jew is the
epitome of truth. So, I was searched, (twice if I recall correctly). After
not finding the missing keys, I was ordered remanded for further investigation
and taken to the Hebron Police Station. There I was held, with three other
men, from 11:45 until about 5:30 that evening. I spent the day talking to
several policemen whose feelings for Rabin, Peres and Co. are harsher (if that
can be imagined) than mine. At 5:30PM a policeman asked for my name, id card
number and address, and sent me home. I wasn’t questioned, warned, or
released on bail. Very simply sent home. I have the impression that they
didn’t know why I was being held. I was never accused of anything nor was I
told specifically why I was being held. So rather than working that day, I
spent the day in the company of the men in blue.
Of course on Thursday it happened again. This time the police and
soldiers took things into their own hands and removed the flag before anyone
else had the opportunity. The results of that were demonstrations by about 60
Arabs on the street in front of Beit Hadassah and by Beit Romano, the home of
Yeshivat Shavei Hebron. Both demonstrations were broken up by security
forces.
Why do we make such a big deal over the flag? Is it really worth all
the trouble? The palestinian flag represents two major fronts which we will
not compromise with. First, it represents foreign sovereignty in Hebron.
Hebron is a Jewish city, the first Jewish City, and it is an integral part of
the State of Israel. We totally reject any display of foreign sovereignty in
our city.
The flag also represents terrorism, blood and murder. The flag
represents an institution which comprises terrorists who have, in the past,
proclaimed that the Jews must be “thrown into the sea.” They have murdered
and continue to murder. They wipe their hands of Jewish blood on their flag.
While it is true that it is almost impossible for us to remove all of
the palestinian flags in the city or throughout Yesha, we see no reason to
allow them to be flown in front of our noses in the middle of our
neighborhoods. Any acceptance on our part of the palestinian flag in
neighborhoods where we live is tantamount to acceptance of palestinian
sovereignty in Hebron. This will never happen.


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