A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
December 3, 2008- Hebron Confrontation
The long simmering situation in Hebron is now coming to a head. The Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling last week that a disputed house in Hebron has to evacuated, and the army has vowed to carry out that order. To stymie the action by the army, or the police, hundreds of settlers and their supporters have streamed to Hebron. They are promising to forcibly stop any evacuation of the house, and have been physically confronting the Israeli police showing total disregard to Israeli law. They have thrown rocks at the police and attacked Palestinians. The police and the army keep saying that this in unacceptable and will not be allowed to continue. They arrest some of the demonstrators only to release them a few hours later. The settlers are intent on making the evacuation of the house as violent and traumatic as possible.
The Palestinian authority is making a public plea to the Israeli government to bring the violence under control. The new Palestinian police force, trained in Jordan has begun to deploy in Hebron. Like their counterparts in Jenin they are under strict orders not to become involved with the settlers in any way. That is supposed to be Israel’s job. It is clear that the time for kid gloves is over, Israel cannot complain to the Palestinians about their inability to control their militants, when Israel cannot control its own. The irony is that the only Israeli leader in the last twenty years who has been willing to confront the settlers has been Ariel Sharon. As a result the most extreme elements in Israeli society are the ones who determine actual policy.