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March 04, 1994 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-03-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Crisis In Hebron

But groups on the political
right disagreed.
Dr. Goldstein's attack "has
its roots in the recent wave of
Arab terrorist attacks against
Jews... and provides further
proof of the total failure of this
government's so-called peace
policy which is in fact a policy
that leads to chaos," said Her-
bert Zwiebon, chairman of
Americans for a Safe Israel.
Some New
Israeli Prime Min- York based
ister Rabin,
speaking in front Jewish groups
of a photo of his — including
Kahane Chai, a
historic hand-
shake with PLO group that sup-
ports the ideol-
leader Yassir
Arafat, con-
ogy of the late
demned the He- Rabbi Meir Ka-
bron killings.
hane — issued
belligerent
statements suggesting the need
for armed resistance to Rabin
government policies.
Dr. Joseph Frager, an Or-
thodox activist in New York
who has played a major role in
organizing opposition to the
Sept. 13 accord, predicted grow-
ing religious divisions over the
peace process as a result of the
Hebron attack.
"Strategically, what he (Dr.
Goldstein) did is not the kind of
methodology we would hope to
employ," he said. "At the same
time, we have to make it clear
why this occurred. We would
ask American Jewry, the Amer-

Killings Heighten
Debate On Settlers

After Hebron,
American
Jewish
activists
won't easily
avoid the
settlements
question.

L

ast week's massacre in
Hebron has threatened
to bring the U.S.-spon-
sored Middle East peace
process to a crashing halt — ex-
actly the outcome envisioned by
extremists in Israel and their
supporters here.
That fact poses some strate-
gic dilemmas for an American
Jewish community that has
been reluctant to tackle the di-
visive issue of Israel's settle-
ments — and for a White House
desperate to keep the negotia-
tions alive despite the raging
political passions ignited by Dr.
Baruch Goldstein's rampage.
Within hours of the grisly
news from Hebron, major Jew-
ish groups began issuing state-
ments condemning the attack
and expressing strong support
for the peace process. Most-
avoided any attempt to mitigate

Dr. Goldstein's actions by point-
ing to continuing Palestinian
violence.
"The extent of this tragedy
meant that this is not the time
to talk about 'context,' " said
Martin Raffel, director of the Is-
rael Task Force of the Nation-
al Jewish Community Relations
Advisory Council (NJCRAC).
Jewish support for the over-
all peace process remains high,
Mr. Raffel said. The Hebron
killings only highlighted the
need to quickly implement the
Sept. 13 Israeli-PLO accord for
limited Palestinian self-rule, he
said.
"The opponents of the Rabin
government have not been per-
suasive," he added. "Last week's
events will not change that.
When you ask yourself what
the alternatives are to the cur-
rent negotiations, most DeoplP
agree that there are none:

"This is a war for the soul of
the Jewish people. You're deal-
ing with basic differences — be-
tween the secular ideal that
well do anything for peace, and
the ideology of the non-secillnr-
ists, who believe that God gave
us our precious land, and that
we're not going to give it up."
Other Jewish leaders agreed
that the Hebron massacre pre-
saged a renewed debate over
settlements.
"There is a tremendous and
painful ambivalence about the
settlements in our community,"
said a top official with a middle-
of-the-road pro-Israel group.
"We feel a certain sympathy for
pioneers living out the Zionist
ideal, even when we see them
crossing the line into extrem-
ism. The Hebron tragedy may
force us to come to terms with
this ambivalence.
"But the debate could be a
bitter one, and it could be harm-
ful in terms of the pro-Israel
consensus in this country."
Seymour Reich, president of
the American Zionist Move-
ment, argued that the massacre
will actually bolster American
Jewish support for the policies
of the Rabin government —
even if the settlements question
touches off a rancorous debate.
`The overall reaction to what
happened last week will isolate
those who have been negative
on the peace process," he said.

JAMES D. BESSER

WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

ican people, to understand that
this didn't happen in a vacu-
um."
By helping to orchestrate the
September 13 Israeli-PLO sign-
ing, he said, "President Clinton
thinks he's created a great mir-
acle —but in reality, he set the
stage for what happened, for
the heightened tensions. Per-
sonally, I believe there will be
a war from this."
Dr. Frager emphasized that
the Hebron killings will ignite
a renewed debate among Amer-
ican Jews about the fate of Is-
rael's settlers, a question
temporarily defused by the Is-
raeli-PLO agreement that post-
pones any discussion of the final
status of the settlements until
three years after implementa-
tion of the agreement begins.
"To defer on the settlements

doesn't make any sense," bP.
said.

A Jewish settler shoots at a crowd
of Palestinians in Hebron in an Inci-
dent last December.

"As a result of Hebron, the
American Jewish community
will more readily support the
government's disarming of
some of the militants and ex-
tremist settlers in the West

panic

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