In 1994, the Israeli military responded to a massacre by a Jewish settler by restricting the movement of Hebron’s Palestinian residents. Two decades later, the restrictions are more severe and some of Israel’s most extreme settlements continue to grow in the heart of the West Bank’s largest city.
Photos by: Anne Paq, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Yotam Ronen, and Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
An Israeli settlement water tank stands near the Ibrahimi Mosque or Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron. All settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law.
Twenty years ago, on February 25, 1994, American-born doctor and Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein walked into Hebron’s al-Ibrahimi Mosque and opened fire with his military issued rifle, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers and injuring 125. Goldstein himself was eventually overcome and beaten to death.
In protests that followed the massacre, another 25 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces. Five Israelis died in the violence.
Rather than removing volatile settlements embedded in the heart one of the largest Palestinian cities, the Israeli military’s response was a policy of separation between settlers and Palestinians on Hebron’s streets. The result is a network of heavily guarded enclaves whose presence punishes Palestinian neighbors with a matrix of checkpoints and restricted areas.
Hebron’s Shuhada Street has seen the most notorious of these restrictions. Once a busy commercial center, many shop doors have now been welded shut by military order, giving the area the appearance of a ghost town.
In some sections of the street, Palestinians are barred from driving while Israeli cars enter freely. In others, Palestinians are completely banned from entering. Some Palestinian families must enter their homes by alleys, ladders and back doors because their front doors on Shuhada Street are off limits.
On one stretch of street near the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs, a low concrete barrier once segregated Palestinian foot traffic from Israeli cars and pedestrians. Highly visible to international tourists visiting the holy site, the barrier has since been removed, while the military installed another barrier for...Read More