News from the Arab Press

Hebron As A Microcosm Of The Conflict

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

September 11, 2017

Israeli soldiers patrol in the West Bank city of Hebron (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Filastin, Gaza, September 7

Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman granted Hebron’s Jewish community official municipal status. This will allow the 1,000 Jews residing in the Palestinian city to enjoy municipal services separate from those provided to some of its 220,000 Arab inhabitants. What is even more shocking than the audacious Israeli move is the weak Palestinian response to it. The PLO issued a feeble statement condemning the Israeli action and calling on the Israeli authorities to reverse their decision. Not a single threat was made. Not a single reference to Palestinian resistance was mentioned. Instead, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has turned into a mouthpiece of the Israeli government, subserviently allowing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government to do whatever it pleases in the Occupied Territories. The formation of an independent Jewish municipal entity in Hebron is a direct violation of the Hebron Agreement and the Oslo Accords, which granted the PA authority over the city. It is also a dangerous precedent. The new Jewish council can easily turn into a strong municipality that threatens its Palestinian counterpart and, later, replaces it. Under Israel’s creeping regime of Apartheid, this is usually how things end up. Small and discrete changes on the ground develop into full-fledged alterations of the status quo. Continuing to pay lip service will not suffice anymore. The PLO must devise a new strategy to deal with the expansion of Israeli settlements—one that goes beyond issuing meaningless statements of condemnation. We are losing our homeland before our eyes, and we are doing nothing about it. – Faiz Abu-Shimala

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