Mounted police--Arab troopers in the service of the government-- had appeared outside by this time, and some of the Jews ran down the stairs of Slonim's house and out into the roadway. They implored the policemen to dismount and protect their friends and relatives inside the house and clung around the necks of the horses. From the upper windows came the terrifying screams of the old people, but the police galloped off, leaving the boys in the road to be cut down by Arabs arriving from all sides for the orgy of blood.
What occurred in the upper chambers of Slonim's house could be seen when we found the twelve-foot-high ceiling splashed with blood. The rooms looked like a slaughterhouse. When I visited the place in the company of Captain Marek Schwartz, a former Austrian artillery officer, Mr. Abraham Goldberg of New York, and Mr. Ernst Davies, correspondent of the old Berliner Tageblatt, the blood stood in a huge pool on the slightly sagging stone floor of the house. Clocks, crockery, tables and windows had been smashed to smithereens. Of the unlooted articles, not a single item had been left intact except a large black-and-white photograph of Dr. Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism. Around the picture's frame the murderers had draped the blood-drenched underwear of a woman.
We stood silently contemplating the scene of slaughter when the door was flung open by a British solder with fixed bayonet. In strolled Mr. Keith-Roach, governor of the Jaffa district, followed by a colonel of the Green Howards battalion of the King's African Rifles. They took a hasty glance around that awful room, and Mr. Roach remarked to his companion, "Shall we have lunch now or drive to Jerusalem first?"
In Jerusalem the Government published a refutation of the rumors that the dead Jews of Hebron had been tortured before they had their throats slit. This made me rush back to that city accompanied by two medical men, Dr. Dantziger and Dr. Ticho. I intended to gather up the severed sexual organs and the cut-off women's breasts we had seen lying scattered over the floor and in the beds. But when we came to Hebron a telephone call from Jerusalem had ordered our access barred to the Slonim house. A heavy guard had been placed before the door. Only then did I recall that I had inadvertently told a fellow newspaperman in Jerusalem about our gruesome discoveries.
On the same day of the Hebron massacre, the Arabs had rioted in Jerusalem, crying: "Death to the Jews! The government is with us!" The fact that the attacks on Jewish communities in different parts of the country had occurred simultaneously was interpreted by the Mufti's newspaper Falastin as irrefutable evidence of the spontaneity of the outburst of Arab indignation. The Acting
HIgh Commissioner, Mr. H.C. Luke, had informed newspapermen that the government had been completely taken unawares. Yet a full ten days earlier it was he who had ordered the various hospitals, and especially the Rothschild clinic of which Dr. Dantziger was chief surgeon, to have a large number of beds in readiness in view of the government's expectation of a riotous outbreak.
(Kirk and Tansey point out that the British administration established an inquiry which exonerated the Mufti. His lawyer called him "a loyal friend of Britain." Of course within a few years the Mufti was a Nazi ally, offering Arab participation in Hitler's annihilation of the Jews.)
Hebron is the current landmine. Should it be evacuated? Should the Israel Defense Forces continue to patrol the city? Should there be territorial contiguity between the Jewish areas and the cave of Machpela? Or should the areas of Jewish settlement be isolated enclaves?
The landmines become ever more dangerous as the Israeli retreat continues. Future mines include 1) the return of hundreds of thousands and then millions of Arabs to Western Eretz Yisrael 2) the size and status of the Jewish settlements in Yesha 3) a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or East Jerusalem as the capital of "Falastin." Further still on the path of "peace" are mines of a magnitude capable of destroying the state. The mines are on both sides of the Green Line. They threaten the Palestinization of all of Israel and the "return" of all Arab lands to hundreds of thousands of "refugees."
In the face of this series of mines, each of which is activated by Israel's capitulation to the preceding one, there is only one possible policy. It is preferable that the nightmare of Oslo should be brought to an end now in Hebron by our stubborn insistence that full security control of Hebron and its surroundings remain with the IDF. If the mayor of Hebron is unwilling to accept the slightest changes in the comprehensive plan for the withdrawal from Hebron, one must clarify for him that there is no withdrawal. There is no better place than Hebron and no time better than now, at the beginning of a national government, to put on the brakes and start the process of salvation.
In Oslo the state of Palestine was born. In Hebron the state of Israel can be reborn.
Outpost - 4 - November 1996