On Friday February 22, 2013, a demonstration took place in Hebron protesting the restrictions placed on Palestinians’ freedom of movement on Shuhada Street in the city. Shuhada Street has been closed to Palestinians for over a decade (ever since the second Intifada began in October 2000 and seven years after Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killed 19 Palestinians at the nearby Ibrahimi Mosque); Israeli settlers are free to use the street.
More than anything, the closure of Shuhada Street is an expression of Israel’s undeclared racial segregation policies, and their implications. Ever since it was closed to Palestinians, life in the city-center of Hebron has been destroyed – businesses were closed and many families were forced to leave their homes due to the inability to move freely and make a living.
Last week, just as in years past, the IDF did not hesitate to use its wide range of riot control equipment, including smoke and stun grenades, tear gas, the LRAD (Long range acoustic device) and the “Skunk” (foul water fired from a water cannon, which leaves a terrible odor that lasts for days on whatever it touches). Dozens of protesters were injured.
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