Menu JTA Search

Shamir: There is No Difference Between a ‘jewish Hebron’ and the Adjacent Kiryat Arba Jewish Townshi

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir told cheering Gush Emunim activists here Sunday night that there was no difference between a “Jewish Hebron” and the adjacent Jewish township of Kiryat Arba and that the national unity government and all previous governments have recognized and endorsed that fact.

Shamir spoke at a festive dinner at a restaurant adjacent to the Patriarchs Tomb, winding up a week of “spring holiday tours” to Hebron initiated by the Gush Emunim to reinforce the Jewish presence in this West Bank Arab town. The tours brought thousands of rightwing and religious partisans to Hebron during the Passover week.

But members of Peace Now and the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) complained bitterly that while the Gush was allowed to hold a thinly disguised political rally in the town, they were barred from similar “tours” of Hebron by order of Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A Peace Now delegation met with Rabin Sunday. They said afterwards that he promised that they could hold political meetings in Hebron in the future and could invite Palestinian Arabs to attend.

Peace Now held a rally in Hebron two weeks ago. They were harassed by Gush Emunim loyalists who set up road blocks illegally to bar their entry. Avshalom Vilan, a Peace Now leader, said Rabin had apologized for the failure of security forces to intervene.

SETTLEMENTS WILL BE GUARANTEED.

Shamir, meanwhile, promised that the existence and development of settlements would be guaranteed in the administered territories. “This applies, of course, also to this (Hebron) settlement, and let no one present Jewish Hebron as an exception beyond limits,” he said. He maintained that the construction of a Jewish quarter in Hebron expressed “the will of the people.” This week’s rallies marked the 18th anniversary of Gush Emunim’s first effort to establish itself in Hebron in defiance of the government.

They were generally without incident except for an appearance at the Patriarchs Tomb Sunday by Rabbi Meir Kahane of the extremist Kach Party. He was given permission to ray at the site but was escorted out of the town after several of his followers began a demonstration. Two Kach members were detained.

NEXT STORY