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Several years ago, on the anniversary of the liberation of Hebron in 1967, I was interviewed by a journalist who queried me about various problems facing Hebron’s Jewish community. His concluding question/statement was, “Well, I guess you’re not celebrating today?”
An Associated Press report on Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the 1948 Armistice lines understandably created quite a stir. Mr. Netanyahu's public confrontation with President Obama over this very issue remains vivid in everyone's memory, as does the enthusiastic and virtually unanimous bipartisan support for Mr. Netanyahu's position expressed by Congress.
As reported last week in the Jerusalem Post, "Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel and the U.S. were working on a document saying the parameters for returning to negotiations with the Palestinians would be based on the speech U.S. President Barack Obama gave at AIPAC in May, and spelling out in greater detail what Obama meant by a return to the 1967 lines, with mutual agreed swaps."
President Obama's recent remarks on Israel and the 1967 lines garnered wide attention both for what he said - most notably, that Israel must remain the same size it was before 1967 - and for what he should have said, but did not - that the Palestinian refugees are an Arab problem, not Israel's.
Some people hate them, others love them. Perhaps no other group of Israelis engenders as much debate as the residents of Hebron. There, among 150,000 hostile Arabs, live 700 Jews determined to dwell in the city where the biblical Abraham purchased a burial plot for his wife Sarah.
The Obama administration's high-profile focus on Israeli settlements and demand for a total freeze of construction beyond the pre-1967 armistice line have delighted many around the world, some of whom may even believe that settlements are the major obstacle to peace. But such views, like the administration's slant on the issue, are based on false premises and oft-repeated misinformation.
Tom Segev is one of Israel’s more distasteful post-Zionists, which is saying a lot, considering their generally unappetizing nature. His newest book, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East, is as one-sided and tendentious a work as one would expect from Segev, a columnist for Haaretz whose stock-in-trade is books blaming Israel and Zionism for every conceivable ill in the Middle East.