Settler Agent 007: Hebron House Hoax
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The Settlers’ 007 Agent
The two Palestinian owners of the property—their names have not been disclosed—gave it to a relative of theirs, Hosni al-Tamimi. The latter sold it to a settler front man, Mohammed Abu-Shahala. The latter is a Palestinian from Gaza, who got to the West Bank by becoming an officer in the Palestinian Authority security forces. Until now, all the involved were Palestinians. At this stage the property was bought by the abovementioned company, Al-Aydun al-Akarat. The company ownership is divided in two; 1% is apparently owned by an unnamed Palestinian who made the contacts, while 99% are owned by Assaf Nehmad, a Jew who speaks fluent Arabic and is a former Shin Bet agent, who nowadays earns his living by making tricky real estate deals between settlers and Palestinians.
But the IDF is defending the Palestinians!
“But the IDF is defending the Palestinians!” This would probably be the first reaction of foreign readers. Yet, Hebrew has fine-print embedded in it. Reality is a bit different. The first hint that this would not end in the eviction of the settlers and a full restoration of the property to its original owners is the level of responses to the IDF eviction order.
I won’t bring here the complete list of politicians who have reacted to the event. I’ll mention only two, neither of them belonging to the more extremist right-wing parties. One of them is Otniel Schneller, a Knesset Member for Kadima (see Upheaval in Ariel Sharon’s Party). Technically at the center of the Israeli political map, he lives in the settlement of Ma'ale Mikhmas, not far from Jerusalem. He went as far as visiting the house and putting a mezuzah (a small box with a Jewish prayer) on its door, a symbol of ownership. Other Knesset members and some government ministers publicly supported the settlers, but especially so did Yoel “Yuli” Edelstein, the current Minister of Information & Diaspora and member of Netanyahu’s Likud party. As Knesset Member Schneller, he is a settler (in Neve Daniel) and visited the house, there he said: “The purchase is ‘kosher.’”
Eventually, all of the politicians commenting on the event condemn Ehud Barak, who as the Minister of Defense is the highest administrative authority in the West Bank (through the IDF’s Civil Administration), for rushing ahead with the eviction despite the purchase being legal. Regardless if tomorrow the settlers were evicted or not, a political struggle on the issue will follow. It has happened in the past.
On February 29, 2012, Israel’s State Attorney informed the Supreme Court that in a meeting held the same day by the Attorney General of Israel, it was decided to initiate a criminal investigation on the illegal construction of houses within Shilo, a settlement in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council (see Shilo’s Wild Wolves). This may seem odd. After all, aren’t all Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal? The United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and most countries (Israel being the obvious exception) agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the West Bank. Thus, the occupier cannot settle there, and all its settlements and outposts are equally illegal. On the other hand, Israel claims that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to the West Bank. Basing itself on this impossible interpretation, it pursues the creation of Jewish settlements. Thus, Israel considers legal the settlements founded with the permission and planning of the State. However, outposts—like Migron—built without such permission, are considered illegal. The decision mentioned here condemned the new houses because they had not been approved by the relevant authorities, but it announced to the Court that the State would pursue the construction of three neighborhoods.
In the abovementioned Migron, there was a clear instance of building upon Palestinian-owned lands without permission, which is somewhat similar to what is ongoing in Hebron. Associated Press discovered in 2008 that Abd Allatif Hassan Sumarin, who supposedly in sold a plot of land 2004in Migron to Al Wattan Ltd (a Mateh Binyamin Regional Council owned company) had been dead since 1961. The latest on the Migron Affair is that the settlement would be relocated to a nearby hill.
This is the Israeli blueprint in the West Bank. Settlements are created illegitimately, supported financially by the government, which is fully aware of the illegitimacy (as was the case in Shilo and Migron), and afterwards—once the media forgets about the issue—a way is found to whitewash the crimes.
Modern Deception and Abraham
The reaction of the settlers at “The House in Hebron,” as the place has been nicknamed in the Hebrew media, was shocking. One of the blasphemies made by them was: “Blessed be the Lord that we have been awarded to follow our forefather Abraham’s lifework by buying a house in the same place.” They were referring to the fact that in front of the house is the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham (see Genesis 23:1-20) bought a burial place for his wife Sarah from the sons of Heth. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah—called the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people—are believed to be buried there. Rachel, the only matriarch missing, is buried in Bethlehem, where she died in childbirth. The actual structure atop the burial cave, is much more recent, from Herodian times.
It is really hard to react concisely to their horrific words. Didn’t they read the Bible? Do they think we didn’t read it, and thus they can come out with their untruthful claims? Abraham was a man of God. He behaved honestly. Genesis 23:8-9 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a burying place amongst you. He behaved with honor, not as a thief in the night. He bought the land openly, not using front men. He believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Instead, West Bank settlers clearly count for wickedness.
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