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Hundreds protest segregation in Hebron's Shuhada Street

While Palestinians continue paying the price for the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, carried out by a Jewish settler 25 years ago, those who share the attacker’s racist ideology are now being offered ministerial positions in Israel’s Knesset.

By +972 Magazine Staff

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters march in Hebron to demand the end of settlements and segregation in the city, February 22, 2019. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters march in Hebron to demand the end of settlements and segregation in the city, Feb. 22, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday to protest against segregation in the city and against the expansion of Israeli settlements.

This week marks 25 years to the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, in which Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinian worshipers in the city. After the attack, Israeli forces closed off Shuhada Street to Palestinian residents. Some 900 Jewish Israeli settlers who live among the tens of thousands of Palestinians in the city can walk and drive along the street as they wish.

The years-long closure has had a detrimental impact on Palestinians, who haven’t been able to access houses and shops they own along that street. Some have had to climb over rooftops to reach their homes.

According to Local Call’s Oren Ziv and Haggai Matar, protestors marched toward Checkpoint 56, which separates the part of the city governed by the Palestinian Authority from the Israeli-controlled area. They carried signs calling for the return of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) – the only observer group in the city with an official international mandate. In late January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to renew the group’s mandate, effectively expelling the observers from the city after 22 years of monitoring the human rights situation there.

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters march in Hebron to demand the end of settlements and segregation in the city, February 22, 2019. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters march in Hebron to demand the end of settlements and segregation in the city, February 22, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ziv and Matar also reported that Israeli soldiers were stationed along the route of the protest, on the side of the city allegedly controlled by the PA, already before the protest began. When the crowd of demonstrators approached Checkpoint 56, soldiers pushed them back. At another checkpoint, close to the Tel Rumeida area, soldiers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at a group of protestors who were hurling stones – against the organizers’ request to keep the protest peaceful. Soldiers also fired stun grenades at a group of journalists.

Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades at a group of journalists covering the protest for the re-opening of Hebron's Shuhada Street on Feb. 22, 2019. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades at a group of journalists covering the protest for the re-opening of Hebron’s Shuhada Street on Feb. 22, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Baruch Goldstein, who carried out the Ibrahimi Mosque attack in 1994, was a supporter of Meir Kahane, a far-right anti-Arab rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League, described by the FBI as a terrorist organization. While Palestinians continue paying the price for an attack they were victims of, those who share Kahane’s racist ideology are now being offered ministerial posts in Israel.

Palestinian activist Issa Amro speaking at the protest against segregation and settlements in Hebron's Shuhada Street on Feb. 22, 2019. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian activist Issa Amro speaking at the protest against segregation and settlements in Hebron’s Shuhada Street on Feb. 22, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“Today, Itamar Ben Gvir, Michael Ben Ari and Baruch Marzel, the new Kahanists, are joining the big parties in Israel to be parliament members,” Palestinian activist Issa Amro told Local Call.

“We see the Israeli very far right-wing being accepted by the Israeli legal system, and they will for sure impose on us more of what Baruch Goldstein did – more closure, more restrictions, more land grabs, and more attacks and human rights violations against Palestinians.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that demonstrators marched along, instead of toward, Shuhada Street.

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    1. Gareth William Smith

      Ilan Pappé is right, Israel is not an occupying power but a colonizing one. It has no intention of giving up land, on the contrary it’s in the business of grabbing as much as possible and to hell with any objections, morality or law. This is being played out most dramatically in Hebron where “cuckoo” settlers occupy Palestinian nests and drive out the legitimate owners. Palestinians are banned from walking down their own main Shuhada street. Unbelievable! Isn’t this the epitome of apartheid? And the international community is like the three monkeys: blind, deaf and dumb. When international humanitarian law is trashed like this by Israel with impunity then the whole structure of international law is weakened and debased. We need a confederation of international lawyers to condemn utterly Israel’s crimes.

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