NU permit to visit PA side of Hebron rescinded

Defense Ministry forbids plan to enter H-1.

Arye Eldad at Homesh 224 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Arye Eldad at Homesh 224
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The Defense Ministry Sunday night forbade a plan by National Union MKs to enter the Palestinian area of Hebron, known as H-1, on Monday, which is typically off-limits to Israelis. Hebron Jewish community spokeswoman Orit Struck, who said she had previously been given permission for the visit to the Palestinian side of Hebron from the Defense Ministry, said she was surprised it had been rescinded. She said it was still unclear whether or not permission would ultimately be granted, and that she was still discussing the matter with the IDF. The MKs still plan to tour the Israeli section of the city to protest plans by the ministry to reopen what is known as Zion Route to Palestinian vehicles, possibly as early as Wednesday. The route, which begins in the back of the Kiryat Arba settlement and leads into the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron, was closed to Palestinian vehicles at the start of the second intifada in October 2000 as a security measure. But for the last several months the IDF has intended to implement a plan to open the road for vehicles owned by the 80 Palestinian families that live along the route. Hebron residents have complained that opening the route will endanger Jewish lives in a city where at least 15 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terrorists in the last nine years. Struck said she believed the Defense Ministry had chosen to open this route this week to coincide with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's first visit to Washington to meet with US President Barack Obama. Netanyahu, said Struck, wants to show Washington that he plans to ease travel restrictions for the Palestinians as part of his economic peace plan. MK Arye Eldad (NU) said that parliamentarians from his party were heading to Hebron to investigate the danger to the Jewish community and to assess whether or not the Palestinians really needed the road for travel. "We want to know why the army is ready to endanger Jewish lives," said Eldad.