Green light to terror
March 7, 2005
This morning it happened again. I had sat down to work at about 8:30. Only a few minutes later the beeper started buzzing: “Shots heard near Ma’arat HaMachpela. There are wounded.”
Grabbing my camera case and ID permits, I ran from the Avraham Avinu neighborhood to the Ma’ara, about 3 minutes away. There, unfortunately, an already familiar sight: ambulances, soldiers, medics and emergency personnel running around, sirens, in short, massive disarray. Not that they didn’t know what they were doing; they knew all too well; they’ve done it many times before; too many times before. I mean disarray as opposed to normal, everyday life.
On the main road, opposite the Ma’ara, an ambulance carrying a critically wounded man stopped; he was transferred to a second unit, an intensive care ambulance. A bullet entered his side and exited through his neck.
I ran up the road adjacent to Ma’arat HaMachpela. There, a second man was carried into another ambulance. His injuries were described as ‘slight.’
Up a little further was the site of the attack. There are two checkpoints in front of the building: one for Jews and the other for Moslems. They are separated by a large stone wall, built about a thousand years ago by the Crusaders, as part of a fortress in front of the holy site. The right side is where Jews enter the building; the left side is for the Arabs. There, wooded gates armed with highly sophisticated metal detectors block the visitor’s way. He cannot enter the building without going through the gates. Manning the location are border policeman who are responsible for security at Ma’arat HaMachpela.
Directly across from this entrance, across the street, is an entrance to the Kasbah, ‘old Hebron,’ which is today off-limits to Jews. A large stone archway leads into the area, which has experienced a major overhaul in the past few years. Tremendous amounts of money, millions and millions of dollars, supplied not only by Arab states, but also by European countries, has been poured into the Kasbah.
There is much Jewish property in the Kasbah, but the Israeli government has yet to allow Jews to reclaim their due. Much property has been taken over and is occupied by Arabs. Other buildings lie vacant and abandoned.
The Kasbah is several kilometers long, from the Ma’ara, past the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and behind Beit Hadassah, leading to ‘the other side of the city.’ Due to a total lack of Jewish civilian presence in the area, IDF patrols there are few and far between. This creates a vacuum which can have fatal results. Several years ago during the Succot holidays, a terrorist shot from inside the Kasbah at Jews outside the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. A Jerusalem man, Rabbi Shapiro, was killed and his sons wounded.
This morning the terrorists again took advantage of the Kasbah. Standing only meters from the checkpoint, at the entrance to the Kasbah, an Arab terrorist, using an automatic weapon, started shooting at security forces guarding there. Two men fell. A policeman, who, until a few months ago was a border policeman, also guarding at the site, immediately opened fire, shooting back, directly at the terrorist, a short distance away. His quick reflexes stopped the terrorist, who may have been injured, and had no choice but to flee back into the Kasbah. The wounded men were evacuated and…
life goes back to normal.
Well, not quite. Rather than spend the morning putting together my weekly Arutz 7 radio show, I had to download and edit pictures from the event. Then, less than two hours later, at about 11:00, the beeper buzzed again. Hebron’s Jewish community was to be privileged with a prestigious visitor. MK Ephraim Sneh.
Just who is Ephraim Sneh? I quote an Aruz 7 news report from a few days ago: “Just two months ago, Labor MK Ephraim Sneh wrote that a civil war between Jews in Israel would not be terrible. “Even if the clash over Gaza exacts a price in blood, it will be tiny compared to the blood and victims that we will have to pay in decades of conflict with the Palestinians,” Sneh wrote, adding, “A cruel and destructive civil war formed the democratic character of the United States.”
Ironically, Sneh’s late father Moshe, a four-time Knesset Member and member of the Israel Communist Party’s Political Bureau, met with Menachem Begin in September 1944, shortly before the Saison began in earnest. Sneh the father made similar threats to Begin, saying, “If you continue your activities, a clash will result” – and he was right.“
Sneh was a minister in the infamous Rabin-Peres regime which initiated the suicide Oslo Accords and expressed his satisfaction at the transfer of the Abu Sneneh and Harat a’Shech hills to the Arabs. Both of these areas lie opposite Hebron’s Jewish neighborhoods and were the source of two years of gunfire at Jewish homes.
Sneh, it seems, came to visit the Arab house hanging over the Avraham Avinu playground and courtyard. The Supreme Court has ordered that the Arab family once living there be allowed to return to the house, this, despite IDF opposition and the security risk it poses.
Sneh, escorted by officers of the Civil Administration, security men and police, strutted through the neighborhood, as if it belonged to him. Members of Hebron’s Jewish community greeted Sneh appropriately: Noam Arnon, Orit Struk and others shouted words of endearment at Sneh, who did his best to ignore them. Despite the terror attack only 2 hours earlier, Sneh seemed to be in the best of moods. He smiled broadly several times, including while walking on the path where Shalhevet Pass was murdered almost three years ago.
Noam Arnon reminded Sneh that he had called Hebron’s residents ‘paranoid’ during a televised debate, due to their opposition to abandonment of the hills to the terrorists. Arnon demanded that Sneh apologize to the families of all those wounded and killed, as a result of Oslo. Sneh just smiled and kept walking.
As he approached his car, Yeshiva students from the Rinat Shalhevet Kollel greeted Sneh with boos, and demanding that he leave. Sneh stopped, looked at one of the men and said, ‘you want to kill me too, the same way you killed Rabin?” Smiling, he then drove away.
There is absolutely no doubt that the present policies espoused and implemented by the Sharon regime are leading to increased terror, in Hebron and around Israel. Eighty percent of Hebron, abandoned to the terrorists, has turned into ‘terrorist’s haven’ again, and the results include three terror attacks in the past month. A few days ago the IDF discovered a Kassam missile factory in Jenin, as well as a car bomb filed with 500 kilograms of explosives. What will happen to those missiles and car bombs after, G-d forbid, Israel again abandons Jenin?
The Sharon policies are nothing less than a ‘green light’ to terror. We must push the button and change the light to red. Fast.
With blessings from Hebron.