|Palestinian youths kept out of Jewish section of Hebron (Photos courtesy of Alan)|
|New East Jerusalem settlement/neighborhood of Har Homa.|
|Palestinian children herd sheep in shadow of new apt. buildings in Har Homa.|
Moreover, Israel is currently benefiting from strong and positive leadership of the Palestinian authority. We met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad on our study tour; based on what he has accomplished, it is evident that Fayyad is serious about cooperating with Israeli security needs. Fayyad and President Abbas have done much to lay the foundation for a responsible Palestinian government, essential for a two-state solution. They are also deeply committed to non-violence. However, the current Israeli policies leave Abbas and Fayyad looking foolish—despite their commitment to nonviolence, they have failed to persuade Israel to alleviate the conditions on the West Bank nor to stop the continued growth of settlements.
|Photos above & below: signs give visitors the settlers' version of events in Hebron.|
In short, I have come to believe that if Israel continues on its present course—maintaining a disenfranchised population under its direct control on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and enduring an angry population on its border in Gaza—the likely outcomes will be calamitous, starting with the undermining of Israel as a democracy. We will see Israel’s increasing isolation from the community of nations, the vast majority of whom see Israel as intransigent and oppressive. And we may see more and more Americans questioning the strong support that our government has given Israel, politically and financially, for many years.
|We spoke with uniformed international observers in Hebron; Alan Feldman and Si Dresner in foreground.|