by Elyakim Haetzni
The op-ed written by Dr. Hassan Abu Libdeh in these pages (“Boycotting Goods from the Settlements-Not Against Israel”) is something of a déjà vu for me: This is how my late father’s business was boycotted in the city where I was born, Kiel, Germany. I hold the “call for a boycott” that was published in a Nazi newspaper shortly after Hitler’s rise to power: “German! These are your enemies in Kiel... Bombech, furniture store, Muehlstrasse 72,” and 55 other business establishments. The Nazis incited against the Jews as the writer of the op-ed, the “national economics minister,” incites against the settlers: Exploiters, disrupters of peace.
There was no point in debating with the father of the Palestinian national movement, Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, and there is also no chance of convincing Abu Libdeh of the legitimacy of Jewish residence in the heart of the Land of Israel. But several questions arise: If the boycott should succeed, the Palestinian workers manufacturing the settlers’ goods will be thrown into the street. Is the “Palestinian national economy” capable of building alternative factories for them? If so, why has it not done so until now, with the aid of the billions of dollars that have been poured into it since Oslo, with which it funded terror and filled its leaders’ pockets?
If Mr. Abu Libdeh should roam through the “land of the settlements,” he would find that many villages earn their livelihood from their settler neighbors: In construction, handicrafts, gardening, garage work. Supermarkets, malls and gas stations in the settlements are filled with Arab buyers. Since Oslo, garages, hardware stores, household goods stores and the like have “settled” opposite the gates of my city, Kiryat Arba. Is the national economics minister demanding that they close their businesses?
And the Palestinian drivers in “occupied” Jerusalem-will they stop serving the 200,000 Jerusalemite “settlers”? And where will the Palestinian patients turn, those who need Hadassah and Shaare Zedek Hospital, which are filled with “settlers”: Doctors, nurses, staff? Conversely, what will the Arab doctors and nurses do, not take the settlers’ temperature? Even Ariel University has Palestinian students. Should they leave immediately?
Abu Libdeh is trying to drive a wedge between the settlers and the rest of their people. But if even only half the Jewish people adopt a counter-boycott, how many Palestinians will lose their places in hotels, restaurants, factories and sewing shops on both sides of the Green Line? Is this how peace will look?
The Israeli government will also not be able to ignore for long a boycott imposed on its citizens by the “partner for peace,” and it too will adopt counter-measures. Has Abu Libdeh forgotten that even the lives of his “president” and “prime minister” are protected by the IDF?
Moreover, according to his own view, the “1948 Arabs” are Palestinians for all intents and purposes. If so, is he not inviting the Jews to treat them too as Ramallah treats the “1967 Jews,” the settlers?
As a settler and an attorney, I have provided professional services to Palestinians. One such client was suspected of theft and found to be innocent, but his Jewish employer, a dignified public figure, withheld his property and caused him financial damage. I advised him to file a lawsuit with the rabbinic court headed by Rabbi Dov Lior. He won the case and was compensated handsomely. If I reveal his name, will the Ramallah authorities place him in prison? Another Palestinian’s lands were damaged by a road paved by the Jewish National Fund. His attorney, a settler, obtained full compensation for him-should he return the money?
We will conclude with the unlawful subsidy that the Jewish economy as a whole provides, to its detriment, to the “Palestinian national economy”: 50 thousand stolen cars per year, thousands of heads of sheep, cattle and horses, beehives, irrigation equipment, tractors, forged and smuggled brand-name goods, tapes, and schoolbooks, unsupervised meat, goods without customs and VAT-thievery day and night. If it is forbidden to buy from Jews, it is permissible to be a parasite on their economy?
Born Georg Bombach in Kiel , Germany in 1926, Haetzni made aliyah to Mandate Palestine in 1938 with his parents and sister,settling in the Keren Avraham neighbourhood of Jerusalem . He studied at the Mizrachi Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem, and was a member of the Haganah . He was severely wounded in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and spent eighteen months in hospital.He went on to attend the Hebrew University of Jerusalem , graduating with a law degree in 1954. While a student he established the Sherut HaMitnavdim volunteer organisation, which helped new immigrants and protested government corruption, with Haetzni himself renouncing his membership of the ruling Mapai party.
In 1961 he established a law firm in Tel Aviv . After Israel's victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, he was involved in the re-establishment of the Etzion Bloc and a Jewish community in Hebron . In 1972 he moved from Ramat Gan to the new Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron. He later opened a law practicein the community. He became a member of the Yesha Council 's Steering Committee, and joined the Tehiya party. He was on the party's list for the 1988 Knesset elections , but failed to win a seat. However, he entered the Knesset on 31 January 1990 as a replacement for Eliezer Waldman .
See this report at Israel Behind the News