The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre
By Prof. Israel Shahak
It is wrong to assume that the mass murder in Hebron stemmed only from the opinions of a small group of extremists on the fringe of the Israeli political spectrum, the supporters of the late Meir Kahane. The ideology which inspired the killings is the same as that of the "Jewish Underground" of 1984. The members if this movement, who attempted to blow up the mosques of the Temple Mount, were caught red-handed while fixing bombs, timed to explode exactly on the beginning of the Sabbath, to nine Arab buses, so as to avoid the killing of any pious Jew. Daniel Ben-Simon (Davar, 27 February) quotes,for the first time, the real aims of the "Jewish Underground", and compares them with the better known aims of Kahane.
While interrogating one "Jewish Underground" member, the Shin Bet were stunned by the downright Satanic idea underlying the plan to demolish the mosques on the Temple Mount. As the man explained to his interrogators, "the demolition of these mosques would have infuriated all the hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world. Their rage would inevitably have led to a war which in all likelihood would have escalated into a world war. In such a war the scale of casualties would be formidable enough to promote the process of Redemption of the Jews and the Land of Israel. All the Muslims would by then disappear, which means that everything would be ready for the coming of the Messiah."
On the other hand, says Ben-Simon, "in one of his 12 books, Kahane justified the extermination of the Arabs as the surest way to bring about the "True Redemption of the Jews". The Redemption can occur in all its splendour, even right now, if all Jews resolve to keep the Commandments of the Lord. But the Redemption can also proceed through tragedy if the Jews refuse to obey the Lord. The difference is that True Redemption implies that the Jews cast away their fear of the Gentiles and fear only the Lord; which in turn means that they expel all the Arabs from the Land of Israel. So in order to bring on the Redemption we should expel all the Arabs."
The Philosophy of Gush Emunim
The sympathy which Baruch Goldstein enjoys among the Gush Emunim, whose influence is more pervasive than that of the Kahanists, can only be explained by a shared ideology. However, Gush Emunim leaders enjoy Rabin's friendship and strong influence in wide circles of the Israeli and diaspora Jewish communities. Therefore it is their version of this ideology which is more important. Gush Emunim's thinking assumes the imminence of the coming of the Messiah, when the Jews, aided by God, will triumph over the Gentiles. Consequently, all current politicl developments call be interpreted by those in the know as destined either to bring this end nearer or postpone it. Jewish sins, the worst of them being lack of faith in Gush Emunim ideology, can postpone but not alter the predestined course of Redemption. The two world wars, the Holocaust and other calamitous events of modern history serve as stock examples of such a curative punishment for Jewish sins. Such explanations can go into a lot of specific detail. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior (who attended Goldstein's funeral and praised him), blamed Israel's relative failure in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon on the lack of faith manifested through signing a peace treaty with Egypt and "returning the inheritance of our ancestors [i.e Sinai] to strangers". I will proceed to quote from two English-language books on the subject: For the Land and the Lord, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, By Ian Lustick (Council on Foreign Relations, New York 1988), and the chapter on nationalist Judaism in Yehoshafat Harkabi's Israel Fareful Decesions (I.B.Tauris, London 1988, reviewed in MEI 331).
The fundamental tenet of Gush Emunim's thinking is the assumption that the Jewish people are "peculiar". Lustick discusses this tenet in terms of their denial of the classical Zionist claim that only by undergoing "a process of normalisation", by emigrating to Palestine and forming a Jewish state there, can the Jews become like any other nation. But for them this "is the original delusion of the secular Zionists", because they measured that "normality" by applying non-Jewish standards. According to Gush Emunim, "Jews are not and cannot be a normal people", because "their eternal uniqueness" is "the result of the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai". Therefore, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of their leaders, "while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of 'justice and righteousness', such laws do not apply to Jews".
Harkabi quotes Rabbi Israel Ariel, who says that "a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgement, and has not violated the prohibition of murder". The Gush Emunim rabbis have indeed reiterated that Jews who kill Arabs should be free from all punishment. Harkabi also quotes Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook and Rabbi Ariel, all three of whom say Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because since the land was once Jewish, all property to be found on that land "really" belongs to the Jews. In the original Hebrew version of his book Harkabi expresses his shock at finding this out. "I never imagined that Israelis would so interpret the concept of the historical right."
All we need is war
Let me omit the many other horrifying facets of Gush Emunim ideology except one comment of Harkabi which I find particularly prescient. Proponents of the view that due to God's help Israel is stronger than all other nations hold that "Israel need have no fear of future wars, and can even provoke them at will. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner wrote:'We must live in this land even at the price of war. Moreover, even if there is peace, we must instigate wars of liberation in order to conquer it."
It must be borne in mind that, for Gush Emunim, the "Jewish heritage" to be "liberated" is much greater than just Palestine. Rabbi Ariel was far-sighted enough to publish an atlas in which all the lands to be "liberated" (according to diverse rabbinical interpretations) are clearly marked. All the areas west and south of the Euphrates (i.e. including Kuwait) are included, and Ariel also shows rabbinical "interpretations" even more far-reaching than this unanimous view. Suppose Gush Emunim were ever able to use Israeli nuclear power. It is not difficult to guess what purpose it would be used for.
Harkabi and Lustick make it clear that Gush Emunim assumes that the reason for Arab hostility towards the Jews are theological in nature. Hence the conclusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot he resolved politically. Lustick quotes a prominent rabbi, Eliezar Waldman, then a Knesset member, now the director of the main yeshiva in Kiryat Arba, who said "that by fighting the Arabs, Israel carries out its divine misssion to serve as the heart of the world" and to save it, "while Arab hostility springs like all anti-Semitism, from the world's recalcitrance" against being saved by the Jews, or even from Arabs seeding "to fulfil their collective death-wish".
Gush Emunim's plans for governing non-Jews in Israel are also based on "theological" principles. According to Rabbi Aviner; "Is there a difference between punishing an Arab child and an Arab adult for disturbance of our peace? Punishments can be inflicted on Jewish boys below the age of 13 and Jewish girls below the age of 12...But this rule applies to Jews alone, not to Gentiles. Thus any Gentile, no matter how little, should be punished for any crime he commits." From this dictum, it is only a short step to slaughtering Arab children.
Even Israel's Supreme Court compared Kahane to the German Nazis. The prominet Orthodox dissident, Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz, said that the mass murder in Hebron was a consequence of "Judeo-Nazism". But Gush Emunim's ideology is no less like that of the Nazis than Kahane's.
Source: MEI, No. 471, 18 March 1994
Palestine Human Rights Information Center - PRELIMINARY INFORMATION - February 25, 1994
MASSACRE IN IBRAHIMI MOSQUE IN HEBRON
50 DEAD AND SEVERAL HUNDRED INJURED BY JEWISH SETTLER AND SOLDIERS
An Israeli settler wearing a military uniform, Baruch Goldstein, a well-known Kach leader and a physician from Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, entered the Ibrahimi mosque and emptied two clips of a machinegun into Moslem worshippers during the dawn prayer. Initial casualty figures are unconfirmed because the Hebron area is under curfew and injured people have been transferred to more than six hospitals in the area. At least 48 were killed in the initial shooting (received by hospitals and confirmed by name), but estimates are that between 50 and 60 Palestinians may have been killed. More than 300 are injured. Some of them were critically injured by the high-velocity ammunition.
The massacre occurred shortly after 5:00 a.m. when the mosque was crowded with worshippers for Friday prayers during Ramadan, the Moslem holy month of fasting. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called the massacre "a murderous act by a psychopath" against "innocent individuals." He called on both Arabs and Jews to "show restraint." A curfew was declared on Hebron. The previous night Jewish settlers entered the mosque, a holy site called Cave of the Patriarchs for Jews; a large force of about 300 soldiers prevented Palestinians from praying. The potential conflict was resolved by 10:00 p.m. according to a waqf guard.
A shortage of blood and intensive care facilities, as well as the time delays of transporting injured, is expected to contribute to a high death rate among the critical casualties. Many of the dead and injured were from the same families; they were shot as their heads were bent in prayer, said eyewitnesses. Soldiers used tear gas and guarded the entrance of the mosque after they heard gunfire, which contributed to the difficulty of evacuating the dead and injured. Some eyewitnesses reported that soldiers took part in the shooting afterward, apparently mistaking the massacre for an armed clash.
Goldstein, an immigrant from New York and a major in the Israeli army, is said to have died inside the mosque, but it is not clear if he killed himself or was killed in the melee after opening fire.
Residents of Hebron continued to rush to hospitals and clinics to donate blood and medicine. Most of the bandages and first aid supplies have been used up. It is estimated that there are 250 injured. Clashes continue around the hospital areas surrounded by soldiers between the army and residents. At 10 AM Friday morning, a Palestinian from Badran family was shot dead by soldiers near Ahli Hospital in Hebron. Tens of others were injured. Hospital sources say that most of the injuries are from high velocity bullets.
KILLED IN IBRAHIMI MOSQUE, February 25:
1. Abdel Rahim Abu Sneineh
2. Abdul Haq Jabari
3. Ahmad Abdullah Abu Sneineh
4. Akram Kafisheh
5. Akram Joulani
6. Ala' Badr Abdul Jalil Taha Abu Sneineh
7. Amjad Abdallah Sandal
8. Arafat Musa Burkan
9. Arafat Mahmoud Bayid
10. Atiyeh Mohammad Salameh
11. Ayed Abu Hadid
12. Ayman Ayoub Qawasmi
13. Diab Karaki
14. Diab Muhtasab
15. Fawaz Zughair
16. Hamad Abu Nijmeh
17. Hatem Qader Fakhouri
18. Ismail Kafisheh (shot in head)
19. Iyad Karaki
20. Jamil Ayed Natsheh
21. Kamal Jamal Kafisheh
22. Khairi Aref Abu Hadid
23. Khaled Halaweh Abu Sneineh
24. Kifah Abdul Mu'az Marakeh
25. Marwan Abu Shareh
26. Marwan Mutluk Abu Nijmeh
27. Mohammed Sadeq Abu Zanoun
28. Nader Zahdi
29. Nimer Mohanmmad Nimer Mojahed
30. Nour Ibrahim Muhtasib
31. Raed Mohammed Natsheh
32. Raji Arafat Rajabi
33. Raji Gheith
34. Saber Katbeh
35. Salim Idris
36. Sufian Zahdeh
37. Suleiman Awad Jabari
38. Talal Dandis
39. Tareq Abu Sneineh
40. Tariq Abdeen
41. Wael Obeid Muhtasib
42. Walid Abu Hamdiyeh
43. Yasser Diab Kafisheh
44. Yazen Abdul Mu'ti Marakah
45. Yusef Hroub? (not confirmed)
46. Zeidan Jabber
47. Zein Gheith
48. Ziad Kafisheh
KILLED IN RELATED INCIDENTS AND PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS:
49. _____ Badran, shot by army in front of Ahli hospital,
50. Mohammed Yusef Ghayatheh, shot by settler near Beit Jala hospital
51. Mohammad Danaf, 20, Sheikh Radwan, Rafah/Gaza
52. Fadl Kernawi, 16, Bureij refugee camp/Gaza
53. Mohammad Yusef Abed Abdu, 20, Bureij refugee camp/Gaza
Makassed Hospital: At Makassed hospital, several hundred young men gathered at the emergency room entrance to facilitate the evacuation of injured from ambulances and cars and to wait for news of the dead and injured.
Makassed administration reported receiving six fatalities as of 10:30 a.m. Two injured died in hospital later in the day. Twenty-four gunshot injuries were admitted to Makassed hospital by 10:00 a.m., with more arriving from Hebron or transferred by other hospitals since then. Three were transferred to Ramallah hospital. All of those shot were injured by devastating high-velocity ammunition which splinters into shrapnel inside the body, causing extensive multiple injuries and massive hemmorhaging.
Four children, aged 7, 8, 9 and 14, were among the injured:
Muhanned Shaher Abu Hadid, 9, was shot in the mouth and is in
Sari Awad Jabari, 8, was shot in the chest (brother was killed; another brother injured, status unknown);
Farhat Hussein Jabari, 7, shot in both legs;
Hamzi Arafat Deik, 14, was shot in the shoulder.
EYEWITNESS REPORT #1:
Suleiman Abu Saleh, the Guard at the Ibrahimi Mosque, told PHRIC:
At 5:30 this morning [February 25] I was at the dawn prayer at Ibrahimi Mosque. At the Ishaqiyeh entrance to the mosque, a settler in army uniform with three stripes appeared. He said he wanted to enter the area of worship. I prevented him from entering. He said that he was the officer in charge that night, but I still prevented him from entering because it's forbidden for soldiers to enter the mosque during prayer. He hit me on my chest with his rifle and he entered by force after I had fallen on the ground. He then opened fire with his automatic weapon -- the weapon was smaller than a M16 or a Galili rifle. He fired indiscriminately and extensively.
He went out and shot in the air, then he went back in and fired indiscriminately at the worshippers. He changed his ammunition clip another time and then went back in and shot at the worshippers again indiscriminately.
Usually, a large force of soldiers are present to guard the mosque during prayers but last night, there were only four soldiers in addition to the officer, Eilan. After the first round of shooting, I went to look for the officer but he was outside the mosque. After I approached him while he was shooting, the soldiers closed off the section between the worshippers and the settler, which meant that access to a telephone was cut off for the worshippers. The door leads to the administrative section where the telephone was, and so the ambulance was 50 minutes late. At this point, there were seven people confirmed dead. The guards and some worshippers carried out the dead and injured to Prophet Joseph's door. The soldiers shot in the air upon orders of Eilan, the officer in charge. I asked him not to shoot but they continued, and the soldiers prevented any family members to carry out the wounded.
A large force of soldiers entered the mosque to protect the settlers, numbering between 20 to 30. I saw a body on the ground and tried to treat the person, but the soldiers prevented me from doing so. I realized that the person on the ground was the soldier/settler who had shot the worshippers. The body was in a place called Qour Nissa' which meant that he could have shot everyone in the worship compound, because it overlooks the place of worship.
EYEWITNESS REPORT #2:
According to a taxi driver, Ashraf Mitzab, who transported four wounded to Makassed, Palestinians were wounded by both settlers and soldiers:
There were 600-700 worshippers in Ibrahimi for the dawn prayer. At 5:20 a.m., when people, the old, children and men were bowed in prayer with their heads to the ground, an Israeli came into the mosque. He was dressed in military clothes and carrying a machine gun and had passed the Israeli soldiers standing guard near the door of the mosque. He began shooting from the back of the mosque and had time to change the clip on his machinegun and continue shooting. People tried to run away but soldiers came into the mosque and used tear gas at the entrance and also opened fire at people. It was impossible to tell who was shot by the settler and who by the soldiers. It all happened at the same time.
I took four injured people in my taxi. One was seriously injured in the head. The army forbade anyone to come or leave. My car was shot at as I was leaving the area. Also an Israeli guard at the Dabboyya building in the center of Hebron shot at us. There was no one on the streets on the way. When I left there were helicopters spraying gas over the whole city. My car and an ambulance which was travelling behind me were stopped at the checkpost at Beit Ummar.
GAZA: Three were killed in the Gaza Strip by 2:00 p.m. on Friday: two in Bureij refugee camp and one man in Rafah. Injuries totalled about 30 by the early afternoon. Jabalia refugee camp sources reported to PHRIC that 11 residents were shot and injured during demonstrations which erupted after news of the massacre was broadcast. Seven residents of Nusseirat refugee camp and 12 from Shujaiyeh neighborhood were also reported shot and injured. Buses of Moslem worshippers were stopped at Erez checkpoint at 5:00 a.m. and prevented from travelling to Jerusalem for special Ramadan prayers.
AL-AQSA: Teargas and rubber bullets were used by Israeli police against a protest demonstration at the Haram al-Sharif. Dozens of worshippers were treated in Makassed for gas inhalation and injuries from rubber bullets. An estimated 100,000 Palestinians from other parts of the Occupied Territories, primarily from the north Nablus and Jenin area, travelled to Jerusalem today for prayers in al-Aqsa.
KALANDIA: Preliminary reports indicate two Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in protest demonstrations in Kalandia refugee camp in northern Jerusalem.