The cycle of violence continues in Hebron.
On one side, the Jewish residents are calling for a voiding of the Oslo process and a return of Hebron under total IDF control.
On the other side, the Palestinians are calling for a complete evacuation of all Jews from Hebron.
Neither solution is viable.
What can be done is to stop de-legitimizing both the Palestinians and Jews of Hebron. Both sides have a right to be there.
Hebron, according to both the Jewish and Palestinian definition, includes the neighborhoods of Kiriat Arba, Harsina (Givat Mamre), Givat Avot, and Ashmorot Isaac. We have, statically, a total population of around 8,000 men, women, and children.
Greater Hebron has between 80,000 and 120,000 Palestinians, depending on which census you use. An average estimate would be around 100,000 Palestinians.
This puts the total Jewish population of Hebron at around 8%. This is not merely a few fanatic settlers, but a minority population… a vibrant, living Jewish Community, which must be dealt with, as must all minorities — with compassion, justice, and guaranteed civil, and human rights under law.
Until now, the situation was viewed in terms of resistance to an occupying army and its surrogate presence — the settlers. With the advent of Palestinian autonomy and the likelihood of a Palestinian State, the armed struggle now ends and the political one begins. In the new political struggle, the Jews of Hebron find themselves in the same situation as any minority. No longer enjoying the full protection of the IDF, they will be forced to deal with continuing to live in the city of their Father’s under a new set of rules. The new rules will include reaching out to their Palestinian neighbors in an attempt at finding a compromise which will allow both Jew and Palestinian to share this holy city without bloodshed.
Neither side will oblige the other by ceasing to exist. Both sides are strong in their convictions that Hebron is theirs. Both sides enjoy the backing of military force — the IDF supporting the settlers and the PA Police supporting the Palestinians.
Whether or not the sides like it, a stalemate is rapidly becoming fact of life in the city.
If Hebron is to maintain its special identity, then the World Community must encourage the Palestinians to accept the fact that a Hebron Jewish Community with unbreakable ties to the State of Israel is a Fact.
The World Jewish Community, on the other hand, must convince the Jews of Israel and of Hebron to be more flexible in their dealings with the Palestinian population, and convince them to make a real effort at coexistence.
Until and unless a Peace with no Losers becomes a fact in Hebron, it is senseless to discuss solutions for Jerusalem.
Hebcom Middle East Bureau Analysis, Commentary, Information Insight into the Middle East by the People who live there