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PHOTOS: In Hebron, demonstrators demand reopening of Shuhada Street

During a protest against the closure of the Shuhada Street, Palestinians march under wire screens placed above the street to protect Palestinians from stones and trash thrown by Israeli settlers occupying buildings above, in the West Bank city of Hebron, February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators, including foreign and Israeli activists, gathered in Hebron on Friday to mark the 19th anniversary since the IDF imposed a closure on the city’s Shuhada Street. The closure followed the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, perpetrated by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein, who went on a rampage inside the mosque and killed 29 Palestinian worshipers.

The marchers first gathered at Bab Izzawiya near “Checkpoint 56,” proceeding to Hebron’s old city. They first stopped at a steel and concrete barrier blocking off Shuhada Street, which was scaled by several youths who planted several Palestinian national and political flags on top. The march was then blocked by the Israeli military, which placed barbed wire barricades across the street and used sound bombs and tear gas to disperse marchers. Demonstrators who later regrouped and returned were met with the “skunk truck,” a water cannon loaded with a foul-smelling liquid. The skunk water was also directed against members of the media (including an Activestills photographer).

For much of the afternoon, Israeli forces traded tear gas and sound bombs with stone-throwing Palestinian youth in running street clashes. There was at least one report of a Palestinian youth injured by live ammunition, and many others treated for tear gas inhalation and other injuries, including one Palestinian journalist.

Eventually, Palestinian Authority police were deployed as Israeli forces withdrew in an apparently coordinated effort to draw the demonstration to a close.

Demonstrators climb on a fence, built by the Israeli army to close Shuhada Street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

A demonstrator carries bolt cutters during a march against the continued closure of Shuhada Street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Demonstrators bare their chests at an Israeli military barricade during a protest against the continued closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

An Israeli soldier aims a tear gas launcher at demonstrators during a protest against the closure of the Shuhada Street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron, February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Demonstrators flee tear gas launched by Israeli forces during a protest against the closure of the street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron, February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Israeli forces target members of the media with the “skunk truck”, a water canon loaded with a foul-smelling liquid, during a protest against the continuing closure of Shuhada Street to Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Demonstrators clash with the Israeli army during a protest against the continued closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

 

An Israeli soldier throws a sound bomb at fleeing demonstrators during a protest against the closure of Shuhada Street to Palestinians, Hebron, West Bank, , February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Demonstrators clash with the Israeli army during a protest against the continued closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

 

Demonstrators clash with the Israeli army during a protest against the continued closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians, in the West Bank city of Hebron February 22, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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  • COMMENTS

    1. A massacre of 29 Palestinians by an Israeli citizen leads to a 19 year street ban for Palestinian residents? Doesn’t this reward the massacre?

      I have no doubt that there is hatred among some on the Palestinian side. But that side is bearing its chest too.

      Good photos and reporting.

      Reply to Comment
      • Palestinan

        If there is no hatred then something is terribly wrong,remember human beings have feelings that are affected by the environment surrounding them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Yes, but that hatred must not return to the bombings.

          Reply to Comment
      • Mareli

        You are correct, Greg. Closing the street to Palestinians is punishing them for a crime committed against them.

        Reply to Comment
    2. rsgengland

      Imagine if this had been in Syria.
      The death toll would have been horrific.
      And yes, what happens in Syria matters, because it has a direct effect on what happens a little further South.
      There is no proof given in the article, to substantiate the claim, that the street was closed because of Goldsteins’ massacre.
      When there were massacres of Jews by ‘suicide murderers’, there was no hysterical mob violence, and there should not have been on the only incidence that a Jew was perpetuated.

      Reply to Comment
      • Dregen Jelencovich

        This article has nothing to do with Syria, sunshine, try again. Diversionary tactics may be the stock in trade of hasbaratniks but we’re hip to your shenanigans.

        Reply to Comment
    3. XYZ

      Actually, what is going on throughout the Arab world affects the entire region and the Arab-Israeli conflict as well. When I, as an Israeli, see Arabs/Muslims, who love one another as brothers, butchering each other in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and other places , it makes me wonder how they would relate to us Jews/Zionists with whom they admit they have a problem, if we didn’t have military power to defend ourselves.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rauna

        You don’t have to play the arabs card. Haredim will easily fight another jews for anything that goes against their interest.

        Reply to Comment
        • rsgengland

          Trying to work out the relevance and meaning of this one.
          Very funny post though.
          For your information, Jews use discussion and argument as an everyday tool to arrive at some form of consensus.
          Normally much better than violence to sort out conflict.

          Reply to Comment
        • XYZ

          I cerntainly understand the distress that leads Israel-bashing “progressives” to make inane comments like this, because the Syria civil war is the elephant in the room that “progressives” who go around loudly proclaiming their support for “human rights” need to pretend doesn’t exist. If one is attemptin to claim that Israel is the biggest violators of human rights and that the Palestinians are the greatest victims of human rights violations in the world, one look at the news media regarding what is going on in the rest of the Arab/Muslim Middle East shows this is nonsense. Of course, “progressives”, in addition to proclaiming their usual litany of complaints against Israel, could in addition, work to stop both sides, (including brother Arabs/Muslims in addition to Russians and Chinese) from supplying the killing machine, but I do not see this at all. They are silent, which proves once and for all that the Israel bashing these “progressives” love so much HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY CONCERN WITH HUMAN RIGHTS.

          Reply to Comment
      • Dregen Jelencovich

        And there I was thinking that off-topic messages were deleted…

        Reply to Comment
    4. Channing Dodson

      I was in Hebron with an ATG tour in early January and walked around virtually all of the areas pictured in the photos above. To see Hebron inflamed like this having been there on a relatively quiet day is very distressing.

      I applaud +972 for covering the story, but the information that I received about Shuhada Street while I was in Hebron is different from what is stated above. According to information that I got from B’Tselem, Shuhada Street, once a thriving commercial area, was “completely closed to Palestinians” in 2000 (not 1994) after the start of the Second Intifada when a group of settlers were attacked while walking down the street. (A memorial to two of the settlers can still be seen on the street today.) B’Tselem published an informational pamphlet showing “before and after” pictures of the street in 1999 and 2007. With the exception of four Palestinian families who live on the street, only settlers and non-Palestinian visitors (like myself) are permitted to walk beyond the checkpoint on the street, and Palestinian vehicles are prohibited from driving on it. The day that I was there, a young girl cut her finger very badly right by Shuhada St. about 20 meters from the Ma’arat HaMachpela Visitors’ Center and required immediate medical attention. One of the two Border Police personnel on duty at the checkpoint, clearly affected by the little girl’s distress, radioed his commanding officer and emphatically asked that a car be allowed onto the street to take the girl to a hospital. The request was denied, and the girl’s father and a friend had to carry her up the hill and around to the parking lot behind the souk.

      While Israeli security personnel do have an obligation to protect Jewish settlers currently living within Hebron (and the settlers themselves often make that task extremely difficult), it seems abundantly clear that re-opening the street to Palestinian movement and business would be beneficial in de-escalating the current tensions.

      I feel very fortunate to have been able to visit Hebron and talk to people there. I hope that conditions will have improved considerably by the time of my next visit.

      Reply to Comment

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