Tuesday, January 24, 2012

24-Jan-12: Thwarted a stabbing in the Tomb of the Patriarchs this morning

Gustave Dore: The Burial of Sarah (completed 1866)
In the ancient and sacred (to Judaism and Islam) Tomb of the Patriarchs (in Hebrew: Me'arat Hamachpela), a Palestinian Arab man in his thirties made an attempt to stab the Israeli Border Guards securing the entrance this morning, according to a Ynet report. The attack was thwarted and the stabber is in custody. The Tomb, in Hebron, is the traditional burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, and according to the Biblical account, Genesis 23:1-20, was acquired by Abraham from Ephron at a price of four hundred shekels of silver. It is the world's most ancient Jewish site.

At the request of several Arab states, UNESCO resolved in 2010 to declare the Tomb a "Palestinian" heritage site. A Haaretz article at the time ("Israel slams 'absurd' UNESCO decision on Jerusalem, West Bank holy sites") said the UNESCO board voted 44 to one, with 12 abstentions, to declare the Tomb of the Patriarchs "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories".

We're reminded of the statement made by a former foreign minister of Israel, the quotable and erudite Abba Eban, who had an uncommon ability to see and explain the absurd in public life. He knew what it meant to faced the tyranny of loaded and prejudiced international organizations, especially the organs of the Arab-dominated UN. "If Algeria introduced a resolution", he famously said, "declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions."

Eban was an optimist.

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