HEBRON MASSACRE REVISITED ~~ EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT

March 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm

By  Khalid Amayreh

Journalist — Occupied Palestine

Not
only did Israel partition the Ibrahimi Mosque after Hebron Massacre,
but also it has annexed the whole Mosque in a brazen disrespect of
international law. ( Reuters Photo)

On February
25, 1994, hundreds of Muslims were performing the Dawn Prayer at the
Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, also known to Jews as the Cave of the
Patriarchs.

However, a
former Jewish immigrant from the United States, who was also a soldier
in the Israeli security forces, ascended to the holy shrine and opened
fire indiscriminately from his Galilion semi-automatic rifle, killing
at least 29 people and injuring more than 160 others.

Adel Idris, a survivor, described the scene.

“It was like
a slaughter house, the carpets were soaked in blood, many people were
lying dead or injured, some moaning and on the verge of death, blood
was everywhere, [and] dead bodies scattered all over the place, it was
a day unlike any other day.”

Goldstein, a
disciple of the racist Rabbi Meir Kahana, was eventually killed by
survivors who feared he would kill more people.

Kahana, an
American Jewish Rabbi who eventually became a Knesset member, argued
that non-Jews in Israel/Palestine would have to accept servitude and to
be expelled or physically exterminated. He wrote a book entitled “They Must Go.” He was killed following a fiery speech in Manhattan; New York, in November, 1990.

The mass
murder took place in the full view of Israeli army guards posted along
the corridors leading to the interior of the mosque, and no attempts
were made to stop the killer.

Pacifying Arabs

As word of
the massacre spread throughout the city, hundreds of locals converged
at the Mosque to save lives and take the badly injured to the two main
hospitals in Al-Khalil, the Princess Alya and Ahli ones.

However,
Israeli army soldiers began shooting, killing, and injuring several
people. The same thing occurred outside the Ahli hospital, where
Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinians who wanted to donate blood,
killing at least six people and seriously injuring others.

In the
meantime, Jewish settlers in the nearby Kiryat Arbaa and also in the
small Jewish enclave in Al-Khalil’s old quarter were celebrating.

One of their leaders, Moshe Levinger, remarked, “I am not only sorry for dead Arabs, but sorry for dead flies as well.”
Levinger blamed the Rabin government for the massacre because it
“exerted so much mental and emotional pressure on Goldstein” by way of
accepting the Oslo peace process and allowing the creation of the
Palestinian self-rule authority.

Another settler
leader, Hanan Porat of the National Religious Party or Mifdal,
declared: “A thousand Arab lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.”

None of the settler leaders was arrested for incitement to murder and for celebrating the massacre.

Indeed, far
from doing so, the Israeli government was busy preparing a public
relations campaign aimed at limiting damage caused by the massacre.
Israeli officials, one after the other, appeared on television screens,
condemning the carnage and swearing that they had never expected such
an act to ever happen.

They also
strove to convince the world that Goldstein was merely a “nutcase”, who
in no way represented the moral values of the Jewish people, a claim
that really lacked in credibility, given the fact that a close to
majority of Israeli Jews either supported the massacre or were totally
apathetic about it.

In a
classical example of adding insult to injury, the Israeli army
immediately imposed a hermetic curfew on Al-Khalil, with orders to
shoot violators.

The Israeli
government claimed the curfew, which lasted several months, aimed at
preventing Arab protests and possible revenge. However, the fact that
the curfew was imposed on Arabs, but not on Jews, showed beyond doubts
that Israel punished Palestinians for a crime perpetrated by Jews.

During the
curfew, many Palestinians who fell ill had to succumb to their illness,
because Israel would not allow them to be taken to hospitals. This
happened while gangs of Jewish settlers were provocatively strolling in
the streets of the Old City, assaulting Palestinians and vandalizing
their businesses and property.

Similarly,
Israeli occupation troops sealed most of the internal roads and routes
inside the old town, effectively cutting it off from the rest of
Al-Khalil.

The Israeli message to the people of Hebron was unmistakable: “leave, period.”

The closure
of roads and denial of access were also intended to narrow Palestinian
horizons and allow the settlers to walk the streets undisturbed, as if
the estimated 30,000 Palestinians who lived in the Old City did not
exist.

However,
Palestinians would not leave, which really frustrated the Israeli army
and government, forcing them to relax the curfew ten weeks after the
massacre.

Partitioning the Mosque

To give the
impression that Israel was following the due process, the Rabin
government decided to appoint a commission of inquiry to look into the
circumstances surrounding the massacre and to find out if there was any
negligence on the part of the occupation army.

The
commission, headed by Judge Meir Shamgar, held several hearings and
listened to several eyewitnesses. Eventually, the commission exonerated
the Israeli government, army, and even the settler leadership, ruling
that Goldstein acted alone and that no other person was to blame for
the crime.

The findings
of the commission, which Palestinians viewed as illegitimate since it
represented the occupying power, not a third party, ignored the
phenomenal incitement of the religious Zionist camp, especially the
settler camp, against Palestinians.

Interestingly,
it was the same incitement that led to the assassination of the Israeli
prime minister Yitzahak Rabin at the hands of a Jewish extremist a few
months later.

However, the
central recommendation of the Shamgar Commission proposed the
partitioning of the Ibrahimi Mosque, an exclusive Islamic place of
worship for nearly 1400 years.

According to
the arrangements proposed by the commission, the holy shrine would be
used as a synagogue on Saturdays and major Jewish holidays and as
mosque on Fridays and major Muslim holidays.

The
arrangements, which were made without the slightest consultation with
Muslim officials, infuriated Palestinians at all levels, who considered
them null, void, and illegitimate and amounting to an act of usurpation
against one of Islam’s holiest places.

Saint Murderer

The murderer
Goldstein was buried in the settlement of Kiryat Arbaa, following a
massive funeral procession in West Al-Quds. His grave eventually became
a pilgrimage site frequented by national religious and other Jews from
all over the world who came to view him as a great saint and Rabbi.

On April 6, 1994, the Israeli newspaper Yedeot Ahronot published excerpts of a book about “Saint Baruch Goldstein”, which refers to the mass murderer as “Rabbi doctor Baruch Goldstein of blessed memory, may the Lord avenge his blood.”

The book
contained eulogies of Goldstein and Talmudic justifications for the
right of every Jew to kill non-Jews. In the book, Rabbi Yitzhak
Ginsburgh, who was the then head of the Kever Yosef Yeshiva (religious
Talmudic school) near Nablus, argued that the blood of a Jew was redder
than the blood of a non-Jew and therefore a Jewish life was more
important in every aspect than a non-Jewish one.

The late Israeli philosopher and intellectual Israel Shahak commented on this evil discourse in his book “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel,” saying:

Those
people, especially Germans, who were silent and did not condemn Nazi
ideology before Hitler came to power are also, at least in a moral
sense, guilty for the terrible consequences that followed. Similarly,
those who are silent and do not condemn Jewish Nazism, as exemplified
by the ideologies of Goldstein and Ginsburgh, especially if they are
Jews, are guilty of the terrible consequences that may yet develop as a
result of their silence.”

Shahak added:
“Changing the words “Jewish” to “German” or Aryan” and “non-Jewish” to
“Jewish” turns the Ginsburgh position into the doctrine that made
Auschwitz possible in the past. To a considerable extent, the German
Nazis’ success depended upon that ideology and upon its implications
not being widely known early.”

There are two
more points I would like to make before ending this piece. First, it
should be noted that it was only after the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre
that Palestinians began carrying out suicide bomb attacks (martyrdom
operations) against Israeli military and civilian targets.

Hence, one
can argue rather plausibly that Israel’s terror against Palestinians,
which by far exceeded Palestinian violence against Israelis, forced
some Palestinians to tear their bodies into bits and pieces in the
streets of Israel in order to deter further massacres by Jewish
fanatics.

Second, it
was clear from the beginning that the Israeli authorities never took
any punitive act against the family of Goldstein. Not only the
Goldsteins’ home in Kiryat Arba was not demolished, and none of his
family members was arrested, as is the case when Palestinians are
involved in a “terrorist” act, but the government of Israel also paid a
huge amount of monthly salary to Godlstein’s widow and children.

Even today, a
lot of money from North America is being channeled to the families of
Jewish terrorists in the West Bank, and security agencies in both the
United States and Canada do nothing about it.

This happened
as Israel enlisted the entire Western world to cut off all financial
aid to the families of Palestinians killed during the First and Second
Intifadas.

This really underscores the criminal hypocrisy and moral duplicity espoused by Israel toward its Palestinian victims.

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