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November 22, 2002 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-22

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STEINBERG

from page 33

ern Arab-Israeli conflict.
Since then, the restoration of the
Jewish presence in Hebron has been
seen as a fundamental national
objective and symbolic requirement;
and after the 1967 war, this became
possible. The demographic realities
of a much larger Palestinian popula-
tion and the resulting security prob-
lems were seen as obstacles to be
overcome, not barriers.
Over the years, Hebron has been
the scene of many other deadly
attacks against the small Jewish corn-
munity, increasing its already formi-
dable anger, and triggering Baruch
Goldstein's revenge attack against
Palestinian worshippers that was fol-
lowed by intense international and
Israeli condemnation.

Israels Responses

Given this history, the Palestinian
planners of the attack in Hebron
may have hoped that Israeli respons-
es would be driven by emotion,
rather than logic, and would trigger
the long-sought external interven-
tion.
However, even in an election peri-
od, in which the rhetoric of anger
and outrage is bound to increase
(particularly in the context of the
contest between Sharon and former
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu), the responses of the
government and the IDF are likely
to remain measured and substantive.
The perpetrators will be found, as
were the planners of the cold-blood-
ed murders in Kibbutz Metzer and
of the bus bombings and other
attacks.
While other Palestinian cities will
be walled off and separated physical-
ly from Israel, Hebron will stay
under tight IDF control, and the
Jewish foothold in the city and its
sacred sites will be reinforced.
Arafat will remain isolated and
irrelevant. After having carefully
weighed the costs and benefits of his
expulsion, Sharon and Defense
Minister Shaul Mofaz, as well as sen-
ior officers in the IDF, have appar-
ently concluded that the benefits are
minimal. The election campaign will
heat up the oratory, but at least for
now, the policies on the ground are
likely to continue to be based on the
generally successful strategy pursued
during the past year. ❑

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