17 Сивана 5784 г., первый день недели, гл. Шлах

The new "Disengagement" must be stopped

What did little Elyakim study at the Nazi school? How did the return of the Jews to Hebron begin? Why did Sharon carry out the "Disengagement"? Who intends to resume the "Disengagement" today?

22.12.2022 439 (0)
The new
Boaz a-Etzni

Fifty years after Eliakim a-Etzni and his family became one of the first Jews to return to live in Hebron, his son Boaz looks back on those years. He mentions the main challenge in the struggle to keep the integrity of the country alive: “We need to increase the number of Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria significantly” and he gives details about the project “Homesh in the beginning”, explaining what was behind the return to this Jewish settlement that was destroyed by Sharon.

Seventeen years after the deportation from Gush Katif and fifty years after the Jews returned to Hebron, we asked publicist Boaz a-Etzni from Kiryat Arba-Hebron, to recount the events of those days and tell us what it led to.

These days you are celebrating 50 years of your life in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, how did it all begin?

My father, along with the late Rabbis Levinger, Waldman and several other wonderful people, actually founded the mainstream of Jewish settlement and return to Judea and Samaria. Immediately after the victory in the Six-Day War, our families celebrated the first Pesach holiday at the Park Hotel in Hebron. I had just turned eleven at the time.

And have you lived in Kiryat Arba ever since?

No. You see, my father was about fifteen years older than Rabbi Levinger and the entire group of young people who gathered around him. My father needed time to "finish his business. We lived then in Ramat Gan, in the prestigious Ramat-Hen neighborhood. My father owned a famous law office in Tel Aviv. He simply couldn’t take one day off, close his office, and move. Besides, he was the head of a family with four children. Others were very young couples, some had married already in Hebron. To make a long story short, we could not afford to live in semi-permanent conditions in the Park Hotel or in the military commander’s office (where Jewish settler families had lived before the foundation of the Jewish part of present-day Hebron, Kiryat Arba). The first residents moved into Kiryat Arba in 1971; we settled there a year later. But my father remained involved throughout this time in the rebuilding of Hebron and, of course, we used to go there all the time as visitors.

So how did it all start? How did your father get involved in all of this? Where did the desire to become part of the tiny group of Jews who went to celebrate Pesach in Hebron in 1967 come from anyway?

In the days of the Six-Day War, when my father heard that Hebron had been liberated, he was, as he said, “electrocuted.” He immediately said: “I’m going to Hebron.”

Frankly, he didn’t know how to explain this impulse himself. Look, my father went to a Nazi school! Every day for several years he went to a Nazi school! He was in first grade when Hitler, may the memory of this evil-doer be damned, came to power. So his first school lessons were on racial theory. He was the only Jew there and everyone poked at him as an example of what they were being taught... And after school there was a synagogue group where they studied the Land of Israel and Hebrew, a sort of escape from the filth in which he stayed for the first half of the day. He spent the second half with Jews, studying the Land of Israel, looking at a map and learning Hebrew.

Apparently this intolerable combination formed in him such a strong national identity. He came from a religious family, but had distanced himself from religion, perhaps because of the inflexible approach that was maintained at home. But when the struggle for the integrity of the Land of Israel began after the Six-Day War, he slowly began to return, especially to religious Zionism.

Briefly, he said at the time: “I’m going to Hebron.” And he said it so convincingly that his mother didn’t even think of debating with him. Of course, it was a completely crazy idea. We were living at the time in our own villa in the luxurious Ramat-Hen neighborhood. And so we moved to a place for which “G-dforsaken land” sounds like a compliment.

Nothing but Arabs all around, the roads are broken and primitive, there is scarcely any electricity and water and virtually no telephone service. At the beginning, the phone worked through an Arab switchboard. You would pick up the phone, and an Arab who had learned Hebrew would answer, you would give him the number, and he would connect you. That’s how it was all at first...

Could you tell us a little bit more about how you lived then side by side with the Arabs, in that post-war period?

The Arabs back then were quite friendly and we had good relations with them. Not at all like today. All this was before the mistakes we ourselves made. One day, we were passing Arab workers in the car, who were standing at the crossroads waiting for their ride, and my father said to me, “Look! It’s up to us whether they will be hard workers or terrorists.” But, sadly, then the government decided that they should be terrorists, and they became terrorists...

What were these mistakes?

The main mistake was that the liberated lands were not cleared from the terrorist groups. There were some people who walked around and openly said “I am a Fatah representative. Yes, they were not armed, but they were representatives of the Fatah ideas and the ideas of the National Front... it all started with the fact that we permitted this and did not oppose them...

Then came 1975, when Shimon Peres became defense minister and Rabin became prime minister. “Wise” Shimon Peres decided to initiate what is now called the “Arab Spring” — democratic elections for local Arab authorities. That is when representatives of terrorist organizations were elected instead of the local tribal leaders with whom we had good friendly relations. After that they started to throw stones in people, and then they began to kill them. Our own carelessness, especially the “Jibril deal”, the mass release of terrorists in 1985, led to the infamous first Intifada in 1987. That led to “Oslo agreements”, and “Oslo agreements”, in turn, gave birth to the terrible monster that is the Palestinian Authority, which became the direct enemy in our own country.

All good neighborly cooperation and reasonable relations between Jews and Arabs on this territory came to an end as soon as we allowed a gang of PLO terrorists to get into power. What is the PLO? The Palestine Liberation Organization, liberation from us! We ourselves, as part of “Oslo”, introduced them to Israel. We provided them with territory, weapons, money and international legitimacy under our support. The result is exactly what we are dealing with to this day. In other words, you are directly pointing out that the main reason for the security problems in Judea and Samaria is Israel itself... Well, of course! Look, the Arabs live their own lives. The vast majority of them are people with ordinary human needs. Our job was to screen out and pulldown those who opposed us. As soon as we stopped counterfighting terror, this situation allowed it to flourish, and even encouraged it to do so by releasing the terrorists, we ourselves became responsible for the catastrophic breakdown of the situation. It was entirely in our hands to decide where things would come to...

Today, 17 years after the deportation from Gush Katif, the danger that another prime minister will try to do the same thing again (Ganz and Lapid already did so) is still very real. What should be done now to remove this kind of initiative from the agenda altogether? There are several important conditions. First of all, we have to become huge in quantity, rather than insignificant. In other words, you can’t kick out an excessive number of people anymore. Notice how the majority of even left-wing politicians in the country keep talking louder and louder about the need to save the settlement blocs? But where did these “blocs” come from? The settlements have expanded, merged with the outposts...

In other words, the greater the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, the more places are established, the more challenging it will be to just even raise the issue of deporting their inhabitants. Just to make it simple, there won’t be enough money for deportations, compensation payments, etc. This is how the concept of a “block” emerges, and the deportation of its inhabitants becomes out of the question. The conclusion is simple: grow and grow and grow. Against all odds, by making it as difficult as possible for those who want to force the Jews out of these places. Secondly, stop repeating the helpless slogan “we have love, and it will win”. Love and smiles alone cannot win in such matters. They require a large and firm stick.

The Israeli establishment, its so-called elite, is corrupt to the core. The people in Israel are great, but the people at the top are quite corrupt, deeply tainted by corruption, completely corroded by left-wing nonsense, highly unprofessional and clearly lacking any common sense of motivation. This, unfortunately, applies to all spheres: the legal system, the power structures, the media, the political establishment, and, of course, the academic, artistic, and cultural sectors... All of these people understand only one language: the language of force, and only consider the extent to which you can be harmful to them. They respect only your potential to be harmful to them. And here we see the Arabs capturing the reserve on Mount Miron and occupying it with no punishment — with nobody stopping them, because they are walking around with guns. And the Bedouins... when they start raging, no one dares to touch them either. In short, if you don’t want to be deported, you have to make it harder to be messed with... I don’t really want to go into details now, but in general creating a feeling of “you’ll be sorry if you mess with me” is very effective. This language is understood very well. And when you come to them and say, “We have love, and it will win,” they openly laugh at you. In this way they just won’t respect you. Realizing that was a very important lesson for me.

You were one of the co-founders of "Homesh in the Beginning". What was the essential idea behind it?

What was the point of the “Disengagement”? Sharon pulled out this plan in order to please the same top officials I told you about, so that they would allow him to be left in peace regarding the corruption trial, the bribe in which he was suspected, the so-called Greek Island case. There was already a draft indictment ready for the bribe that Sharon received from the businessman Dudi Appel. So this was the suspicion. Dudi Appel had already appeared in court, and a draft indictment on bribery charges had already been prepared against him. This was going shortly to become a signed indictment. Just at that moment Sharon proposed " Disengagement"... And, oh, what a miracle, they got off his back immediately. By the way, obviously it was hard to convict Appel for the bribe without also convicting the person who accepted it. So they dropped the bribery charge against Appel as well. He ended up being convicted in another case...

Sharon said that he was getting out of the Gaza Strip. But he wasn’t going to retreat from the “Philadelphi Axis”, the part of the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. He understood, however, that losing control of the “Philadelphia Axis” would rapidly change Gaza into Syria and Lebanon, and he did not want to withdraw from the “northern part” — area in the northern Gaza Strip. The whole area was a demilitarized zone between the 1948 cease-fire and the victory in the Six-Day War and was not in Egyptian hands (like Latrun, which was also a demilitarized zone and was not actually in Jordanian hands in those 19 years, between the War of Independence and the Six-Day War). The Jewish villages of Alei Sinai and Dugit were there in the northern sector, in that DMZ, and Sharon had no intention of demolishing them. But beyond that, he lost control of the entire situation. He needed American support for the plan.

The Americans demanded firstly: the whole Gaza Strip, including the “Philadelphi axis” and the whole northern part of the Strip, and secondly: to treat it like the beginning of a process — they told him “give us something more in Judea and Samaria”. And that’s when he decided to eradicate the four Jewish settlements in Samaria: Ganim, Kadim Sanur, and Homesh.

After the expulsion of the Jewish population and the withdrawal of the army, the government decided to give the Gaza Strip completely to the enemy. But this decision was not extended to the vast area of northern Samaria. All the lands of the exterminated Jewish villages and the roads leading to them that were part of the so-called “Area C” (i.e. the areas under full Israeli control) remained “Area C”. There was no change in the status of the areas after the expulsion of the Jews from northern Samaria. Unlike in the Gaza Strip.

Anyway, they kicked the Jews out, destroyed their homes and gardens, but nothing else has changed beyond that. Why? Because Sharon did it solely because of the need to fulfill an American demand. And nothing else. The IDF continued to provide security there.

So a decision by the government or the Knesset, a relatively straightforward law, is enough to effectively cancel the “Disengagement” in northern Samaria, to go back there. And that’s it. And we can rebuild all four settlements.

In order to return to the Gaza Strip, we first have to win the war. But in order to go back to northern Samaria, all we need is a Knesset majority and the political will. Which makes, of course, reviving the Jewish presence there very easy.

Note that the place that has become the main source of terror now is the Jenin district and northern Samaria. In other words — simply, terror comes from where there are no Jews. No Jews, no army. When there is no army, there is terror. It works like a mechanism. So the solution, particularly to improve the security situation, is to strengthen the Jewish presence — to build new Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria.

Another “genius and hope” of the Left, the retired General Eisenkot as a member of the Hantz and Saar party, has already declared that it is about time to turn the northern part of Judea and Samaria, i.e. the area around Jenin, into a state for the Palestinian Arabs. He stated this in January. In March, the same idea came into practise and exploded right in front of our eyes in Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak. Without exception, all the terrorists came out of the abovementioned area. Well, with some exception of the terrorists from the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, which also belongs to the same region of northern Samaria.

This is why the “Homesh in the beginning” headquarters was created (as the antithesis of the “Gaza in the beginning” plan, with which the “Oslo process” began), because it is an absolutely real and practical step that will return territory that is already in our hands under our control.

Translated by D. Bilyayev From Боаз а-Эцни об опасности нового «Размежевания» Comments: 0

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