Hasson backs reclaiming Jewish property in Hebron

Statement issued on 79th anniversary of 1929 massacre of 69 Hebron Jews by the city's Arab residents.

hebron 88 (photo credit: AP)
hebron 88
(photo credit: AP)
Coalition head MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) spoke out on Tuesday in favor of expanding Jewish holdings in the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron when he signed a statement crafted by the city's Jewish community calling for the restoration of lost Jewish property there. The statement was issued on the 79th anniversary of the 1929 massacre of 67 Hebron Jews by the city's Arab residents. It called on the government to recognize the property of those Jews, including that which was now in Palestinian hands. Although Hebron's current Jewish community is not descended from those who lived there in 1929, they have longed argued that they have a historic and moral right to the property that was once owned by Jews. Hebron Jewish community spokeswoman Orit Struck said that only one third of that property had since returned to Jews and that the rest was either abandoned or in Palestinian hands. The statement was signed by a group of Knesset faction leaders from both the coalition and the opposition. In addition to Hasson and MKs Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) and Uri Ariel (NU/NRP), it was also signed by right-leaning Social Justice Party leader Moshe Sharoni, MK Ya'acov Margi (Shas). Struck said she believed the signatures of the faction heads indicated that there were some 65 MKs who supported Jewish presence in Hebron and that those who had signed the statement spoke on behalf of their parties. In Kadima, it is far from guaranteed that all members will fall in step with the statement signed by Hasson. However, Struck said this didn't matter, because she felt that when push came to shove, there was enough support in Kadima to ensure that more than half the Knesset was behind them. Hasson himself carefully defined his support for the statement. "We are working in a period following an international agreement that divides the city into Jewish and Arab areas," explained Hasson, emphasizing that he had initially opposed the international accord that divided the city in 1997. "In signing the petition, I did not seek to change the status quo of the international agreements, but rather to make sure that those agreements were being honored," he said. "Currently Jewish building and development is being restricted even in those areas that are internationally recognized as Jewish."