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 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.
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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.
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.
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.
“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.