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[Israeli Defense Minister] Ehud Barak is an expert in death and destruction. Some nine years ago, as Prime Minister, Barak gave the Israeli army orders to flee from southern Lebanon, thereby abandoning Israel's northern border. The direct result of this criminal negligence was the strengthening of Hizballah, and the 2nd Lebanon War, which left almost two hundred Israeli soldiers and citizens dead. Hundreds of terrorist rockets blanketed Israel's north for over a month.
Barak's second death trap came a few months later, in July, 2000. During the 2nd Camp David talks, Barak offered [Yasir] Arafat about 95% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The direct result of this insanity led to the Oslo War, aka the 2nd Intifada, which cost the lives of almost 1,500 Israelis from October, 2000 to the middle end of 2002.
Barak is no stranger to expulsion and destruction. Eight months ago Barak gave orders to expel Jewish families from Beit HaShalom in Hebron, leaving the building in ruins. It should be recalled that the community paid over one million dollars to purchase the building, thanks to the generosity of [the] Abraham family from Brooklyn.
Ehud Barak today continued on his unique path of damage and danger. This morning [Sunday, August 2, 2009] the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), under orders from Defense Minister Barak, ordered the reopening of Tzir Tzion — the Zion Road, leading into Hebron, to Arab traffic.
The road had been closed to Arabs since the double murder of David Cohen and Hezzy Mualem on that road on July 12, 2001. The road had been closed off to Arab traffice prior to that date, but had been reopened that morning. An Arab terrorist, taking advantage of the situation, drove through, shooting and killing Cohen next to the entrance to Kiryat Arba. Later that night, during a protest by members of the Kiryat Arba town council, Councilman Mualem was shot and killed on the road. From that date on the road was closed to Arab vehicular traffic.
A couple of months ago Ehud Barak announced reopening of the road to 'select' Arab traffic, limiting the vehicles only to people who live on or near the road. Despite Hebron community protests, the date was set. A day before the planned opening, at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli's intelligence chief revealed his opposition to the road's reopening. As a result Tzir Tzion was left closed. The committee requested that Barak refrain from any further measures until they had a chance to study the issue and publicize their own recommendations.
Two weeks ago, again Barak announced that the road would be reopened by the end of July. As so it was that this morning concrete barriers were removed at three points along the road, leaving a gate and soldiers to check those coming and going.
Senior IDF officers have tried to sooth the Hebron Jewish Community's concerns, saying that the vehicles permitted on the road will be limited, all cars will be checked, and security will not be affected.
We've heard such saying before. Such as in January 1997, when Hebron was divided, leaving over 80% of the city under control of the PA [Palestinian Authority] terrorists, and leaving Jews access to only 3 percent of Hebron. We were told that 'should one shot be fired at you, we'll send in the tanks.' It took about two and a half years of shooting at Hebron's Jewish community before the Israeli government decided to 'send in the tanks.' It is very likely that for some period of time the road will remain quiet, leading to further concessions, after all, 'look, we opened the road and nothing's happened.' Unfortunately, Hebron is familiar with such situations, and G-d forbid, it's only a matter of time until 'something happens.'
It is sadly ironic that Barak chose these days to continue on his path of death and destruction. Presently we are marking the fourth anniversary of destruction and expulsion from Gush Katif. In addition, next week Hebron will mourn the eightieth anniversary of the Tarpat-1929 riots and massacre, during which 67 Jews were slaughtered in Hebron and the survivors expelled from the city. It seems that Ehud Barak would like to continue the policies of Amin el-Husseini and the then ruling British.
There are some who have expressed concern that the reopening of the road to Arabs will scare people, making many potential visitors stay away from the city of the Patriarchs. However, this will not happen. Even during the most difficult of times, visitors flocked to Hebron, showing support and encouragement, letting their 'feet do the talking.' During the Oslo war terrorists shot at thousands of people during the annual Succot music festival. Two women were hit. The next day the festival continued and thousands more thronged to Hebron.
The most natural and healthy reaction to Barak's madness is the opposite of what he wants and desires. People of all religions will undoubtedly continue to confirm their faith and belief in the Jewish people's right to live freely and securely in Israel's first Jewish city, Hebron. Bring on the crowds!