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Hebron Settlers Urge Members of Knesset to Delay Withdrawal

A group of right-wing Knesset members visiting Hebron this week was told by Jewish settlers that the planned Israeli army redeployment from the West Bank town will endanger Jewish lives and leave them in a ghetto.

“The major danger we have here is that weapons are being given to thousands of Arabs in Hebron,” David Wilder, a spokesman for the Hebron Jewish settlers, told Israel Radio. “They are going to be able to be on the hilltop overlooking the Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron.”

Meeting with the Knesset members Tuesday, the settlers urged them to press the government to delay the redeployment of the Israel Defense Forces in Hebron, currently planned for March.

The redeployment plan would leave the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Jewish settlements and the old cemetery under Israeli control.

The Palestinian Authority would assume control over the rest of the city.

Moshe Katzav, chairman of the Likud bloc in the Knesset, said that the agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization to expand Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank was totally unacceptable.

But his remarks also reflected the current debate within the Likud party over whether to recognize the autonomy accord.

“We believe it was a very big historical mistake,” he said. “But on the other side, this agreement is irreversible.”

Should the Likud come to power, he said, “we have no intention to give an order to IDF to reverse the decision.”

Hebron is home to some 400 Jewish settlers and 80,000 Palestinians.

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