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Go to Hebron

Go to Hebron. Observe how several hundreds of ultra-national Israeli settlers, a minority in a Palestinian town of 160,000 - have turned the lives of its Palestinians residents into a living hell.

Go to Hebron. Look at how a small Jewish minority rules over an oppressed Arab majority and you will see why Israel needs a two-state solution in order to survive in the future as a democratic Jewish state.

Go to Hebron. You will see how the Jewish settlers and Israel's military government have aggressively turned what used to be the center of town - the business and trade center of the southern part of the West Bank - into a Jewish dominated enclave. Palestinians are not allowed to walk - let alone drive - through the long main street of downtown Hebron. They are subject to constant daily harassment by the settlers and the army.

If you want to see what the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians will turn into if we don't start reversing the escalating status-quo of Israeli occupation in the West Bank, go to Hebron.

If you care about the future of Israel, if your political thinking is governed by a sense of what is feasible, what is right and what is moral, if Jewish values mean something to you, go to Hebron.

Talk to the settlers. Hear from them what their vision is. Talk to the Palestinians. Ask them about their daily lives. Ask them about the resentment, the hatred the despair and the sentiment of vengeance that the status quo is brewing in their hearts and minds. Talk to the soldiers, the red-beret paratroopers - Israel's best fighters - who are stuck in this depressing place, their fighting skills reduced to checking shopping bags of old Palestinian women and trying to block teenage settlers from vandalizing Palestinian shops or hurling rocks at Hebron's Arabs.

If I were Benjamin Netanyahu, I would go to Hebron before I go to Washington to meet with President Obama, before devising the "fresh approach" to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking that he referred to at the AIPAC conference. I believe that Netanyahu - even someone as cynical as Bibi - would feel ashamed, as an Israeli and a Jew. I was, when I visited Hebron today with a group of Peace Now and Americans for Peace Now activists.

And as he examines majority-minority relations in Hebron, I recommend that Netanyahu will read this passage, published by Yedioth Ahronoth's B. Michael in the newspaper's Friday edition:

"On the eve of Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics cited the number of residents of Israel at 7.4 million. There was also a piece of heartwarming news for the holiday: the decisive Jewish majority has been retained. Jews account for 75.5% of the population. Only 24.5% are non-Jews. A regrettable error found its way into those numbers. The origin of that error lies in the strange lifestyle of the Green Line. That line, which supposedly died long ago, leaps out of its grave (or perhaps it is forcibly exhumed) every time either statistic expedience or public relations purposes require this. Following are the real numbers: according to the Central Bureau of Statistics and the CIA, the Israeli government controls 11.43 million human beings. Among them, 5.6 million are Jews, 5.83 million are non-Jews (2.46 million Palestinians in the West Bank, 1.55 million Palestinians in Gaza, 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel and 0.32 million 'other non-Jews'). The precise figures are as follows: in the realm of the Israeli empire, 49% are Jews and 51% are non-Jews. We can now begin to be referred to as 'minorities.'"

Mr. Prime Minister, on your way to Washington, go to Hebron. Because the creeping Hebronization of Israel is cancerous. You know that. And you know it's not too late to reverse it.