By Emanuel A. Winston

Middle East Analyst & Commentator

Mahmoud Darwasha, a respected Palestinian poet and a member of Arafat's advisory staff once wrote in a poem to Israel: "Dig up your dead, take their bones with you and leave from our land". Palestinians from Arafat down to the working class enthusiastically cheered this statement.

November 5th ancient Jewish graves in Hebron were burned and vandalized (as were the tombs of Joseph and Joshua in Samaria recently). Remember that during the 19 years of Jordanian control over the Old City of Jerusalem 58 synagogues were destroyed, or used as urinals and stables. The ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mt. of Olives was desecrated. Jewish tombstones were used for latrines and to pave roads. Clearly, the Arabs have shown they hate the living Jews so much they even attack our dead.

The holiness of Hebron for the Jews dates from Abraham's purchase of the Cave of the Machpelah to bury Sarah. The mosque of Ibrahim was built over the Tomb of the Jewish Patriarchs to legitimize the absurd Moslem claim that Abraham was always a Moslem. Today Mustapha Natshe, Hebron's Arab mayor vows that Jews won't be allowed to pray in the Cave of the Machpelah because it's a Moslem mosque. (1)

The new agreement on Hebron of 11/14 by the Netanyahu government puts the Tomb of the Patriarchs up for negotiations 3 months after the agreements are signed. The road to the ancient Jewish cemetery is under PLO control. Tombs of Ruth, Avner (biblical patriarch), Jesse, father of King David and Otniel Ben-Kanaz (judge of ancient Israel) which Jews are forbidden to visit are also at risk in Hebron.

IF the leaders of Israel have agreed to put ancient Jewish tombs under PLO control, we must now take our venerable dead to a safer place. As Moses kept the promise by the children of Israel to disinter Joseph's bones and bring them from Egypt up to Israel, so too, we must honor our Patriarch Abraham and all who are buried in Hebron. They must be kept safe for the future when we can again return them to the Cave of the Machpelah. Regrettably, recent Jewish leadership has shown little regard for our ancient Patriarchs. Joseph's Tomb, in Schehem (Nablus) and 45 other Jewish holy sites, are now or will soon be under control of a terrorist people, thanks to our Jewish leaders.

Therefore, if our Jewish dead are in danger in Hebron, it's time to exhume and move their bones to safety. This includes Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah from the Cave of the Machpelah; Mother Rachel from her tomb in Bethlehem, Joshua from his tomb where the Arabs of the village Kifl Hares have recently desecrated it. The bones of Joseph must also be brought from Kever (Tomb of) Yosef which the Arabs of Schehem (Nablus) burned along with hundreds of holy books. With Arab hatred again raging and Jewish leadership without reverence for our history - we have no choice. King Herod built the great edifice which still surrounds the Cave of the Machpelah. The Byzantines raised a Christian church over the Cave. When the Arabs conquered Hebron, they converted the church into a mosque. The Crusaders re-conquered and ruled Hebron from 1110-1260 CE, turning the mosque and a nearby synagogue back into a church and monastery and expelling the Jews for a short time.

In 1260 the Mamluks routed the Crusaders, followed by Moslem control. In 1266 the Moslems decreed that Jews could not enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs but only pray outside up to the "seventh step", an edict which was enforced until Hebron was recaptured by the Jews in 1967. Jews and Christians were regarded as "dogs" and such animals were not allowed to enter Moslem Holy places.

As a virtual parade of conquerors subdued the Jews, they captured the Jewish Holy Places to augment the victors' earthly power. Hebron became a prize of war and a display by its conquerors who thought their G-d was in the ascendancy. However, Jews always lived in Hebron, even secretly. In 1929 67 Jews were massacred by the Arabs in a pogrom, while British soldiers observed but did nothing except to forcibly evacuate the remaining Jews. This ended 4000 years of continuous Jewish residency in Hebron - until 1967 when Hebron was liberated in the Six Days War.

In order to construct a history of their own where there was none, the Moslems fabricated a history, asserting that everyone and everything is Moslem. They invented a false rationale to attack the Jewish and Christian religions, professing that all of the Biblical Patriarchs were really Moslems. They claim Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses as Islam's historical lineage. Even Jesus is now declared by Arafat to have been a Palestinian Moslem!? The myth of Mohammed's night ride on Buraq, an imaginary winged horse with the head and breasts of a woman, was contrived in order to declare Mohammed as G-d's final prophet with the "blessing" of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses and Jesus.

Jewish history is filled with examples of Jews frantically trying to save their historical treasures from invaders - challengers to the Jewish religion. Recall that Joshua brought the Holy Ark of the Covenant to Shilo where it was least exposed to foreign invaders and where it remained for 389 years until it was captured by the Philistines. Fearing that the Ark brought a plague upon them, the Philistines later returned it to the Jews in Hebron. David was crowned Israel's first King and Hebron the first capital of the Jewish Kingdom of Israel. Seven years later King David carried the Ark to Jerusalem, uniting the Jewish people and proclaiming the Kingdom of Israel, with Jerusalem as its only, eternal capital.

The danger in Hebron comes both from hostile Arabs and weak Jewish leaders. Our Jewish leadership, having created the peril, will soon "transfer out" all the live Jews, claiming "Pikuach Nefesh" (saving of life). The military already knows that the Arabs will attack shortly after the IDF's surrender. The Arabs reportedly have hundreds of hidden Kalashnikov rifles and even heavy mortars, in addition to thousands of machine guns given them by Peres. 60% of Israelis believe war will break out shortly after re-deployment.(2) The plan by Israel's leaders to rescue (read: transfer) the Jews will be a typically ugly trick to surrender all of Hebron, making it Judenrein while declaring it an heroic rescue. This trick will again illustrate the unholy cooperation between Arafat with the past and now present Israeli governments.

We would really like to be proven wrong but we have read the November 14 agreement between Netanyahu and Arafat. For example, the PLO police stations and PLO armed with automatic weapons are double the number agreed to by Peres. The IDF will not be able to prevent Arab masses from approaching Jewish areas. PLO forces with automatic weapons will be allowed on the hills overlooking the Jewish community. The Arab market on former Jewish property and in the heart of the Jewish neighborhood will be opened, creating a gauntlet for Jewish women and children to cross going home.

Don't be fooled by the media calling the 530 Jewish residents of Hebron, zealots and fanatics who, therefore, do not warrant protection. IF the Netanyahu government has agreed to remove the Israel Defense Forces from areas essential for protection of Jews in Hebron, then Jews in the rest of Israel are not safe either. De-legitimating the Jewish claim to Hebron for live Jews as well as our dead ancestors, threatens to undermine the legitimacy of our rights to all or any part of Israel.

If the Jewishness of Hebron is repudiated, this sets a dangerous precedent for Jerusalem, which Arafat proclaims daily as the capital of his "New State Of Palestine". Celebrating the 8th anniversary of "Palestinian Independence Day" on November 15, Arafat said: "Our declaration of Independence was the first stepping stone on our beloved homeland. Jerusalem is her capital, whether Israel wants it or not. We will celebrate our next independence day in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian country and whomever doesn't like it should drink the sea water of Rafiach (near Gaza).(3)

The holiness of the Jewish religion which permeates the land and the words of the Jewish Bible repudiates their Moslem claims to be the new and only "chosen" of G-d. To prove their dominance in Jerusalem, the Moslems erected two shrines on Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) - one over a Christian Church - and all on top of the Jewish Holy of Holies. Today, Arafat backed by the clerics of Islam, claims the entire Temple Mount as the sole property of Islam. Once again, weak Jewish leadership, having no faith in their heritage, buckled to Arab demands. In 1967, Moshe Dayan gave the Temple Mount to the Moslem Waqf, who won't allow Jews to pray at our most Holy site.

More recently the Waqf was allowed to dig deep beneath the surface into Solomon's Stables to build another Moslem Mosque. They destroyed Jewish archaeological remnants to rid the Holy Temple Mount

of its Jewish essence. Today all have freedom of religious worship in Israel - except for the Jews on the Temple Mount and in Hebron. Neither the Arab Moslems nor, sadly, our current Jewish leaders are to

be trusted with our Jewish heritage.

Let it not be a surprise that today, as before, nothing is sacred to the Arabs - not their promises, not their treaties, not their word, which they break continually between their fellow Arabs - and certainly not any promises, treaties, or words of honor to Jews. None of their Oslo commitments have been kept.

It's time to once again safeguard our heritage and protect our honored dead. The Patriarchs and Matriarchs must be moved from Hebron to a safer place. The bones of Joseph, Joshua, Rachel and other ancestors must also be saved and moved, before mosques are built over their tombs.

This is now a matter for the Jewish religious leaders of Israel and the world to take care of. Do not rely on weak politicians who vomit out words designed to lull the people. Our Jewish leadership, having no faith in their past, signal to the Arabs that they will also not fight for our future.

Mahmoud Darwasha was correct. If we are forced to leave our land, let us dig up our honored dead and take them with us.


1. Ha'aretz June 24,1996; IMRA, Israel Media Research Analysis November 11, 1996

2. Ma'ariv November 13, 1996

3. Yediot Ahronot November 16, 1996