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Ethnic cleansing of Shuhada Street in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron)

International Solidarity Movement | March 6, 2016

Hebron, occupied Palestine – Since the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, the majority of Shuhada Street – once the thriving Palestinian market and main thoroughfare connecting north and south al-Khalil (Hebron) – has been closed to Palestinians. They are completely barred from accessing it, except for a small stretch in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood.

Shuhada st split

Photos of the same portion of Shuhada street – a thriving market before 1994, now an empty street where no Palestinians are allowed to enter (published by B’Tselem)

This tiny strip that is legally still accessible for Palestinians is restricted by the recently ‘renovated’ Shuhada checkpoint at the beginning of the street and ends where the street begins to border the illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah, beyond which Israeli forces assure that no Palestinians exist. Further down Shuhada street, clearly marked with yet another military post barring anyone who might attempt to enter the street, are even more Israeli settlements – all illegal under international law – located directly in the city center of al-Khalil.

The settlements on Shuhada Street are connected via a settler-only road to the much larger settlement of Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of al-Khalil; settlers can also reach the illegal Tel Rumeida settlement easily by traversing the tiny stretch of Shuhada Street still open to some Palestinians and the road leading up into Tel Rumeida from Shuhada checkpoint, now encompassed within the closed military zone. While Palestinians are allowed to walk on this part of Shuhada Street, Palestinian vehicles, including ambulances, are forbidden from driving there. Since Israeli authorities declared the area part of a closed military zone on 1st November 2015, the already barely existent access has been further restricted – Isreali forces only allow entry to Palestinians registered with them residents, while any Israeli settler, regardless of whether they are residents or not, can pass freely and without ever being harassed, stopped, detained, arrested, or threatened by the ever-present military forces.

Map of the city center of al-Khalil with Shuhada Street Credit: B'Tselem

Map of the city center of al-Khalil including Shuhada Street (the longest street marked in red) by  B’Tselem

At the line demarcated by Daboya checkpoint (Checkpoint 55), where the illegal settlements on the street begin and Palestinians are no longer allowed, a steep flight of stairs leads up to Qurtuba school and into the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood. These stairs, the only way for Palestinians to continue traveling in the same direction above the street as they are not allowed to continue down Shuhada Street itself, have been closed by the Israeli forces with a metal gate since November 2015.

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Stairs with the closed gate leading down to Shuhada Street

Even though this gate is currently not locked, Israeli forces deny any Palestinian, except for the students and teachers of Qurtuba school during school-time, to use these stairs. As a result Palestinian residents of this neighbourhood, once they have passed Shuhada checkpoint – an ordeal that can take several hours – have been denied to reach their homes by walking down Shuhada Street and the stairs leading up to Qurtuba school, forcing them instead to take a much longer detour around. With yet another way denied for Palestinans, navigating the maze of Israeli military-enforced checkpoints, complete bans on travel, roads where Palestinians cannot drive, settler-only roads, closed military zones and new arbitrary closures has become even more arduous.

Israeli forces are thereby also clearly working to minimise the number of Palestinians who will actually use this last portion of Shuhada Street – now a complete dead-end – as they bar Palestinians not only from going farther down the closed street but also declare the stairs, formerly an alternate route, yet another closed zone. This illustrates the Israeli attempts to rid Shuhada Street entirely of Palestinians. Ethnic cleansing in al-Khalil, and all across Israeli-occupied Palestinian lands is not a sudden, headline-grabbing event; it progresses gradually as Palestinians are restricted in certain areas, barred from driving there, prohibited from even being there, forced out to facilitate the expansion of the illegal settlements. Ethnic cleansing happens slowly, by erecting new and ‘fortifying’ existing checkpoints, advancing one more closure at a time.

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bogus arrest of 12 year old boy in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | March 3, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the 28th of February around 4:00pm, 12 year old Palestinian boy, Sayed Seder was arrested by 10 heavily armed Israeli soldiers whilst playing football with his friends on the street in front of his family home. The Israeli army claim that he was arrested under allegations he was throwing stones at the guard tower which watches over Al-Shallalah Street and the illegal Israeli settlement that has been built directly behind the street and family home.

Sayed’s father, Abed, went down to confront the soldiers after Sayed’s friends came running up to the family home, explaining to the father what was happening.

When Abed approached the soldiers to ask them what exactly they were arresting his son for, the soldiers responded by informing him that it was because he was seen throwing rocks at the guard tower above. However, the street is lined with a protective type of fencing above the shops roofs that prohibits objects being thrown up or in the most common cases, being thrown down by illegal Israeli settlers who live above. Abed put the argument forward that it would have been pointless for his son to have been throwing stones with this protective barrier in place. Perhaps the logic of this made too much sense and the arresting soldier quickly changed his story and then began to tell Abed his son was being arrested for stealing a settler child’s football whilst pointing to the ball that Sayed and his friends were playing with. Abed informed the soldier that the ball Sayed and his friends were playing with was in fact a ball that he had purchased for Sayed from a shop in Halhoul just recently. The soldier who was evidently lying and knowingly falsely accusing Sayed of the above allegations ignored any more of Abed’s protests and continued to arrest Sayed.

Al-Shallalah street where Sayed was arrested

Al-Shallalah street where Sayed was arrested

From this point Sayed was marched to the Shuhada street entrance gate and taken through while his parents and friends were forced to stand back and watch. Sayed was then taken to the local military base on Shuhada street. Upon entering the military base he was reportedly handcuffed and blindfolded. The blindfold remained on for around 30 minutes before being taken off, assuming that it was put on so he could not get a full view of what was happening inside the military compound for security purposes. Sayed alleges that teenage settlers who were allowed into the compound then beat him while the Israeli army simply stood back and did nothing.

Protective fencing installed above Al-Shallalah street and the guard tower

Protective fencing installed above Al-Shallalah street and the guard tower

Sayed was later released from custody at around 9pm to Palestinian authorities where he complained of pain in his kidneys. His father arrived shortly after and took Sayed to hospital where doctors examined him. While the doctors could not find physical wounds that would require further attention they did note that Sayed was severely traumatised from the event and was in a state of shock.

Just 3 months ago the Israeli army arrested one of Abed’s other sons who is 10 years old. The reason for the arrest was that he too was suspected of throwing stones at the military. As Abed didn’t believe this and objected he too was arrested with his 10 year old son. They were detained for 6 hours and released without charge.

One significant fact is that Abed’s house backs onto the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hadasa. Abed used to sell artisans out of the family home but has had to stop because of ongoing harassment both physical and verbal to himself and to his customers from the settlers that occupy the land next to his home. The front of Abed’s house has been covered in barbed wire by the Israeli military and is adorned with bags of dirty hummus, eggs and other foul items thrown down by the illegal settlers. The army has also boarded up the windows of his family home (without his permission) that overlook Beit Hadasa.

Abed's home and the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hadasa

Abed’s home and the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hadasa
The barbed wire at the entrance to Abed's house with rubbish thrown down by settlers

The barbed wire at the entrance to Abed’s house with rubbish thrown down by settlers

While harassment from the settlers in Hebron is often considered an unfortunate normality to most Palestinians living under occupation, the army’s continued bogus charges and harassment of Abed and his family give one the impression that the Zionist regime is using a tactical ploy to get Abed and his family out of their home for further settlement expansion.

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

22 years after the Ibrahimi mosque massacre, Palestinians still suffer consequences

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International Solidarity Movement | February 25, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the 25th of February 1994, a US citizen residing in the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement entered the Ibrahimi mosque in the early morning during the month of Ramadan. Baruch Goldstein, dressed in his army uniform, opened fire on the Palestinians that were crammed inside for the prayer. He killed 29 men and boys and injured dozens before people overpowered him and beat him to death.

That day, many more Palestinians were killed in Hebron during riots protesting the massacre that had occurred, in front of the mosque and the hospital where the injured were treated, as well as in the cemetery were the dead were being buried. In the next few days, protests and marches happened all over the West Bank and across historic Palestine. It is believed that in total, in these few days, 50 to 70 Palestinians were killed, and over 250 were injured.

Immediately after the attack, the Israeli government released a statement condemning this act and affirming that Goldstein was acting on his own behalf. The Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin called Goldstein a “degenerate murderer, a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism.” Rabin always affirmed that Goldstein acted on his own behalf and that the Israeli military had no knowledge of his plans. Though his act was condemned, it resulted in many measures that mostly impacted on Palestinians. Instead of evacuating the settlements of Hebron, only a few of the most extreme settlers were temporarily disarmed.

A round-the-clock curfew was imposed. Shops in Shuhada Street were forced shut by the Israeli army, on the pretext of keeping settlers safe on this commercial artery. Many other shops also had to close due to lack of supplies and customers. New checkpoints were installed. Palestinians were first banned from driving and then simply from accessing most of Shuhada Street. Many of these measures resulted in the displacement of many Palestinian families.

In 1997, a protocol was signed between Israel and the PLO, dividing Hebron into two areas: “H1”, controlled by Israeli forces, and “H2”, under Palestinian control. It called for the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from the H1, which represented 80% of the city. To this day, even though H1 is officially controlled by the Palestinian Authority, it remains under overall Israeli control, while H2 is now the home to many violent and extremist settlers. Some of them still go every year to the tomb of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate his treacherous act of murder.

22 years later, all measures that were declared in Hebron on the 25th of February, 1994 are still enforced, except for the curfew. And settlers are more than ever taking over the city, with the compliance of the Israeli government.

The last tiny bit of Shuhada Street, that was not (yet) declared a ‘sterile zone’ and thus been completely barred for Palestinians, has been under repeated ‘closed military zone’ orders since 1st November 2015. Whereas the majority of Shuhada Street has been completely unaccessible for Palestinians, the tiny strip leading from the recently ‘renovated’ Shuhada checkpoint up to the illegal Beit Hadassah settlement, is slowly resembling a ‘ghost street’ more and more, as only Palestinians registered with the Israeli army are allowed to go there.

The closed military zone order is an illegal collective punishment on the whole Palestinian population of this area, that was forced to register in order to be allowed to live in their own houses whereas settlers in the adjacent illegall settlements can walk the roads freely and completely undisturbed. This clearly is just another step in the Israeli policy of making life for Palestinians as hard and humiliating as possible in an attempt to make them leave the area and eventually drive all of them out and connect the settlements.

Every year, Palestinians in occupied al-Khalil commemorate the Ibrahimi mosque massacre and protest against the closure of Shuhada Street and the illegal Israeli occupation. The week, leading up to the 22nd anniversary of the massacre, has seen and will continue to see creative activities and demonstrations. This past week there were also many commemorations of Palestinians, most of whom have been gunned down by Israeli forces and left to bleed to death without any medical help.

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces use excessive violence on peaceful demonstration in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | February 20, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On 20th February 2016, the Hebron Defence Committee organised a demonstration under the motto ‘Dismantle the Ghetto, take the settlers out of Hebron’ in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). Israeli forces attacked the peaceful demonstration with stun grenades and arrested several activists.

Demonstrators marching under the banner of 'take the settlers out of Hebron'

Demonstrators marching under the banner of ‘take the settlers out of Hebron’

The demonstration started after the noon-prayer at Ali Bakr mosque and peacefully marched towards the entrance to Shuhada Street in the Palestinian market, chanting against occupation and for their freedom. Once the peaceful march reached Bab al-Baladiyya in the Old City of al-Khalil, Israeli forces quickly started gathering behind the gates that lead directly onto Shuhada Street – that has been closed off for Palestinians since the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994.

As the Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined hands in trying to take down the military gate that locks off the access to Shuhada Street for Palestinians, allowing exclusive use for settlers from the illegal settlements only, the Israeli forces suddenly attacked the protestors throwing more than a dozen stun grenades at the crowd of people. While the demonstrators were running for cover, trying to avoid being hit by the stun grenades, the Israeli forces unlocked the military gate and came running into the Palestinian market.

Protestors at the gate leading into Shuhada Street

Protestors at the gate leading into Shuhada Street

Israeli forces arrested a total of 12 activists from  Hithabrut – Tarabut group and moved them to the Police station for interrogation. While 8 where released, 4 were charged with attacking officers.

Israeli forces using excessive force arresting an activist

Israeli forces using excessive force arresting an activist

As can be seen on this video, Israeli forces attacked several protestors, beating them and threw stun grenades directly at the press – that was visible wearing flag-jackets and helmets reading ‘press’.

The demonstration was held in commemoration of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, in which extremist settler Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians and injured more than 120 when he opened fire on whorshippers inside the Ibrahimi mosque.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intimidating military patrol of Palestinian market

International Solidarity Movement | February 9, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Tuesday, February 9, Israeli forces patrolled the Palestinian market in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), harassing and intimidating residents.

Israeli forces ontheir patrol through the Palestinian market

Israeli forces on their patrol through the Palestinian market

A group of soldiers marched through the souq, the main Palestinian market since the closure of Shuhada Street for Palestinians after the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in 1994. Any male adult or youth was stopped on their way to work and forced by the Israeli soldiers to lift up their shirts and trouser-pants, as well as throw their IDs on the ground. After throwing their IDs on the ground Israeli soldiers ordered the men to move back, so they could pick up the IDs from a ‘safe distance’. Most Palestinians were dismissed after this humiliating procedure, whereas some of them were detained for minutes or violently body-searched.

Violent body-search of Palestinian young man

Violent body-search of Palestinian young man

International human rights defenders documenting the Israeli forces violations of basic human rights of Palestinians, were intimidated and harassed by the Israeli soldiers in an attempt to prevent them from documenting. Soldiers took photos of the internationals with their private phones held right in the volunteers faces and as an intmidation tactic ID-checked them.

Israeli forces taking photos of human rights defenders with their private phones

Israeli forces taking photos of human rights defenders with their private phones

During the more than one hour patrol Israeli forces repeatedly pointed their assault rifles at the internationals as well as Palestinians.

Israeli soldier 'ordering' Palestinians to stop by pointing his gun

Israeli soldier ‘ordering’ Palestinians to stop by pointing his gun

Not only adults were surprised and shocked by the sudden presence of heavily-armed soldiers right outside their houses, but also children on their way to school and work. Some children, scared by the soldiers, turned around right away after spotting the soldiers and ran back home instead of continuing their way to school or kindergarten. International human rights defenders walked several scared children past the soldiers so they could safely reach their schools and kindergarten.

Two school girls passing the heavily-armed patrol

Two school girls passing the heavily-armed patrol

A mother waiting with children for the school-bus right opposite a group of soldiers

A mother waiting with children for the school-bus right opposite a group of soldiers

February 9, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Closed military zone in Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida extended yet another month

International Solidarity Movement | February 6, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Since the 1st of November 2015 the Tel Rumeida area and Shuhada Street in occupied Al-Khalil (Hebron) has been declared a ‘closed military zone’. The first declaration of the closure was for one month, but since then the order has been extended several times.

The newest order from the 1st of February declares the area as closed till the 1st of March with the chance of extension.

Shuhada Checkpoint (Checkpoint 56)

Shuhada Checkpoint (Checkpoint 56)

The closure effects the residents of the area every single day. Every family living in the area has been given a number and was forced to register with the Israeli forces. When entering the area, through checkpoints, the residents have to show ID, give their number and often also answer questions and get bag and body searched. Friends and family of the residents are unable to visit them inside the area; even doctors or craftsmen are completely barred from entering the area.

Furthermore, the closed military zone has led to the eviction of two human rights organisations based in Tel Rumeida. These are now banned from living in their houses and working from their offices and since they are banned from the whole area are not able to observe and document the rampant Israeli human rights violations. The ‘closed military zone’ clearly intends to evict Palestinian residents in order to allow for an expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements, and by evicting human rights defenders to silence the truth on the Israeli forces harassment, attacks and human rights violations.

February 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ongoing colonization in Hebron: Israeli forces prepare the illegal invasion of Palestinian houses by Israeli settlers

International Solidarity Movement | February 3, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On February 3rd 2016, Israeli occupation forces violently opened the door of houses in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi mosque by cutting the door locks with a disk grinder, and then entered these houses.

The houses are located in al-Sahla Street near the Ibrahimi mosque, settlers illegally invaded and occupied them two weeks ago, but were then evicted by the police and army the next morning.

After the Israeli army removed the door-locks of the two houses, Israeli construction workers took the external an internal dimensions of both Palestinian properties as if they are already owned by Israeli settlers. The settlers were protected during their illegal activities by large groups of soldiers.

Palestinian residents who walked trough the checkpoint in front of these houses were body-checked and harassed by the soldiers. The video below illustrates how inhumande and degrading these body-searches and ID-checks are, with soldiers ordering Palestinians to take off clothing regardless of weather and treating them without even a slight bit of dignity.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Intimidation through nightly ‘settler-tour’

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Israeli forces blocking the entrance to the Palestinian market
International Solidarity Movement | January 31, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Saturday, 30th January 2016, large groups of settlers, accompanied by heavily-armed soldiers, entered the Palestinian market at night and took it over for about an hour during night-time in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).

Around 9:30 pm, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements throughout al-Khalil gathered at Bab al-Baladiyya, from where they walked into the Palestinian souq, the market, surrounded by heavily-armed Israeli forces. The group of more than 50 settlers started a ‘tour’ of the Palestinian market, with Israeli forces ‘guarding’ them throughout the Palestinian market. Palestinian residents were not allowed to pass and forced to wait at a distance, with soldiers repeatedly pointing the lasers from their guns at them to indicate they have to stop. A walk home at night though, for some Palestinians took almost an hour, instead of the usual 10 minutes.

This kind of ‘settler tour’ through the Palestinian market used to take place regularly on Saturday afternoons. During the ‘tour’ Palestinians are often denied to pass, stopped, ID-checked and detained. In the recent months, no ‘settler tours’ took place, but last week they started again with a nightly-tour at 11pm. For the Palestinian residents of the souq, these tours have become a regular form of intimidation and harassment in the past.

January 31, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nonviolent Resistance in the South Hebron Hills

By Cassandra Dixon | Dissident Voice | January 28, 2016

The worst worries of a child’s school day should be homework. Maybe a lost book, or an argument with a friend. No child’s walk to school should routinely involve armed soldiers and fear of sometimes being chased and assaulted by angry adults. But for the Palestinian children who live with their families in the small rural villages that make up the South Hebron Hills, this is how the school day begins. Illegal settlements and outposts isolate and separate their villages and soldiers are a constant in their lives.

Once, the trip from the tiny hamlet of Tuba to the school in the village of Tuwani was a calm and beautiful walk along a quiet road connecting the two villages. During the 1980s Israeli settlers built a settlement on privately owned Palestinian land, which had been used to graze sheep and goats. Following construction of the settlement, the settlers established an illegal outpost. Now, industrial chicken barns sit astride the road that once served children walking to school, farmers taking livestock to town, and families traveling to Tuwani, or the larger town of Yatta for health care, shopping, and higher education.

Between the settlement and the outpost, what remains of the road is closed to Palestinians. With one exception – children walk behind an Israeli military jeep to reach their school. Their parents are not allowed to walk with them.

indexPhoto by Cassandra Dixon (See *note below)

The twenty or so children who make this trip start their school day in an unprotected field, anxiously waiting for the Israeli soldiers who will oversee their walk to school. Villagers had built shelters in which the children could await the soldiers, but Israeli authorities have dismantled every shelter. If it is raining, the children get soaked. Some days the soldiers are the same soldiers who chased or arrested shepherds the day before – shepherds who may be the brothers or fathers of these children.  Some days the soldiers are late, leaving the group of children waiting, vulnerable to attack and within easy reach of the outpost. Some days the military escort does not arrive at all, and the children make the trip to school with international volunteers along a longer path, which also lies alongside the settlement.

About 1,000 people live in the neighboring villages, an estimated half of whom are children. Nevertheless, because the villages lie inside of Israeli Firing Zone 918, the military uses the land for military training.

Amazingly, despite all of this, it is almost unheard of for children to miss a day of school. Parents are determined that their children will be educated. When I began volunteering in Tuwani, the school reached only to third grade. Now thanks to the community’s determination to provide their children with education, students can complete high school in the village, and although facing a continued threat of demolition by Israeli military bulldozers, villagers have built and staffed primary schools for children who live in 8 nearby villages.

This is what nonviolent resistance to military occupation looks like.

I’m grateful that I can spend a portion of this year in Palestine. For many years children in these villages have taught me about nonviolence. Sometimes, the presence of international human rights workers holding cameras has some small positive effect on their days.

U.S. people bear some responsibility for the interruption of their childhoods. The U. S. subsidizes about 25% of Israel’s military budget, at a cost to U.S. taxpayers conservatively estimated at $3.1 billion a year.

I’m working with the Italian organization Operation Dove.

They support Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation, standing with families in their commitment to remain on their land. This includes accompanying school children and farm families as they walk to school, graze their animals and tend their crops. Operation Dove helps document the harassment, intimidation, arrests, detentions, home demolitions, checkpoints, road closures, military training exercises, and settler attacks. Villagers also report to Operation Dove when they endure theft and when their crops and property are destroyed.

Protective presence provided by activists is not a large-scale solution to the violence that intrudes into childrens’ lives in Palestine. But many years of visits with these families persuades me that it’s important and necessary to support and participate in the villagers’ nonviolent efforts. Families that confront militarism and occupation help us move beyond our addiction to militarism and violence.

The children I met early on are grown now. Some have gone on to college, and some have families of their own. These young people have every reason to be angry. Their childhoods included fear, intimidation, demolitions, arrests and isolation. But they have also grown up witnessing their community’s steadfast commitment to nonviolently resist injustice. Their families have supported them well, including them in the community’s struggle for dignity. Against  all odds they are growing up with humor and tenacity instead of anger and bitterness. They are living proof to the rest of us that love wins.

*Author’s Note: This little girl was injured by two masked settlers who attacked her with stones as she gathered herbs with a friend on the path between Tuba and Tuwani. She and her siblings make the same trip on foot each school day. She is an amazingly smart and tough young girl — insistent that the many odd volunteers that pass through her life should learn her name and visit her family’s home. She needed four stitches in a head wound after the attack.

Cassandra Dixon lives at Mary House of Hospitality, a small catholic worker house which offers hospitality to families visiting the federal prison at Oxford, WI, and works as a carpenter in Madison. She is a volunteer with Voices for Creative Non-Violence and is currently in the South Hebron Hills in Palestine.

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces detain Palestinian lawmaker, former minister in Hebron

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Palestinian security sources said Israeli forces detained Hatim Qafisha, a Hamas-affiliated member of the PLO’s Palestinian Legislative Council, from his home. (MaanImages)
Ma’an – January 24, 2016

HEBRON – Israeli forces detained at least six Palestinians, including a Palestinian lawmaker and a former Palestinian Authority minister, from their homes in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron overnight Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli sources told Ma’an.

Palestinian security sources said Israeli forces detained Hatim Qafisha, a Hamas-affiliated member of the PLO’s Palestinian Legislative Council, from his home in the Wadi al-Hariyya neighborhood of Hebron city.

Security sources added that unidentified assailants set fire to Qafisha’s private vehicle after he had been detained and Israeli forces had left the area.

Israeli forces also raided the Nimra neighborhood around dawn and detained Issa al-Jaabari, who served as the PA’s Minister of Local Governance in 2006.

Sources said Israeli forces blew the front doors off of al-Jaabari’s home before raiding the dwelling and detaining the former minister.

Furthermore, Israeli forces carried out a predawn raids in the al-Sheikh neighborhood of Hebron city and detained a former prisoner identified as Ibrahim Jamil Hassan after ransacking his home, along with several others in the neighborhood.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not confirm specific detentions, but said Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in Hebron city, all of which were reportedly detained for being “Hamas operatives.” The spokesperson added that two more Palestinians were detained in areas north and west of the city.

January 24, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Newly expanded Shuhada checkpoint is even more difficult to traverse

International Solidarity Movement | January 6, 2015

Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine – At the end of December Israeli forces re-opened the newly expanded Shuhada checkpoint in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). The checkpoint had been closed since December 7th, when Israeli forces had declared they would be conducting “renovations” for a then-unknown period of time.

Officially known as Checkpoint 56, Shuhada checkpoint separates Bab al-Zawiye, a Palestinian neighborhood in the H1 (nominally Palestinian-controlled and administered) part of al-Khalil and Tel Rumeida, part of Israeli military-controlled H2 and currently covered in part by a closed military zone order first issued on November 1st.

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Palestinian family leaving Tel Rumeida, crossing toward Bab al-Zawiye

The checkpoint was rebuilt with a high fence blocking the entire street and additional turnstiles and metal detectors. The turnstiles make it very difficult for anyone carrying heavy, bulky luggage or even several bags of groceries to pass. Israeli authorities also added a completely closed off room in the center of the checkpoint, where Palestinians are questioned and searched entirely out of site of any onlookers, media, or human rights monitors.

As in previous versions of the checkpoint, there is no possibility for any car or truck – even an ambulance responding to an emergency – to pass; any vehicle larger than a baby carriage must take a time-consuming detour in order to enter or leave Tel Rumeida.

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Shuhada checkpoint as seen from a nearby window in Bab al-Zawiye, an imposing barrier Palestinian families living in Tel Rumeida must navigate

The new checkpoint has already become a flashpoint for Israeli military aggression against Palestinians, which includes the arrest of 38-year-old Wafa’ Sharabati on Monday afternoon by Israeli forces who first claimed she had a discrepancy in her ID then accused her of being a troublemaker and threatened to plant a knife on her. Wafa’s family and local activists staged a sit-in outside Shuhada checkpoint to protest her treatment and the continued humiliation and harassment faced by Palestinians forced to endure the checkpoint and the closed military zone.

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Wafa Sharabati’s family staged a sit-in awaiting her release

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A large group of local activists and residents gathered after Wafa’s arrest in front of the checkpoint, which has has been the site of countless demonstrations against the Israeli occupation of al-Khalil

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He never fired, but this Israeli soldier spent much of Monday afternoon on the roof of Shuhada checkpoint, prepared to attack nonviolent Palestinian demonstrators with potentially deadly rubber-coated metal bullets

A sign on the H1 side of the checkpoint explains the protocols for passing through: metal detector, bag search, no animals allowed through, checkpoint closed if there are any clashes. The 4th instruction reads “wait until the soldier will allow you to pass.” Sometimes people can pass in six minutes; sometimes they must wait for over an hour, outside and exposed to any weather, before being allowed to pass the few meters of turnstiles, metal detectors, fences and walls between them and the streets leading to their homes.

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Lines on Monday evening left many, including young children, waiting for nearly half an hour in the cold night. Only Palestinians who are registered in the closed military zone can ever pass through the checkpoint; family members of residents, journalists, human rights defenders and internationals have all been barred. Even Palestinians who are registered have reported being forced to wait for over an hour only to be harassed and threatened by the soldiers inside the checkpoint.

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Activists have planned another protest for Thursday morning to continue the struggle against the closed military zone, the even harsher regime at the newly reopened checkpoint, and the continued closure and Israeli military occupation of al-Khalil.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

7-year-old girl chased by notorious Israeli settler in Hebron

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Ma’an – December 29, 2015

HEBRON – A Palestinian father living in Hebron’s Old City told Ma’an that his 7-year-old daughter was injured while being chased by notorious Israeli extremist Baruch Marzel on Monday.

Raed Abu Irmeileh said that he had to take his daughter, Dana, to the Hebron Governmental Hospital “after she had fallen to the ground while being chased by Baruch Marzel near the Ibrahimi mosque.”

Irmeileh told Ma’an that Israeli forces present in the area did not stop Marzel from chasing his children, and assaulted his 10-year-old son Hutasem as well as two brothers Nabil, 14, and Farhat Nader al-Rajabi, 10.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the incidents.

Irmeileh is one of thousands of Palestinians living in the Israeli-controlled center of Hebron — the largest city in the occupied West Bank — among hundreds of Israeli settlers living illegally in the area.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem regularly documents Israeli settlers attacking locals under the protection of Israeli forces in Hebron.

Marzel is well-known among Palestinians living in Hebron who fear the right-winger, follower of radical rabbi Meir Kahana and member to the Kach movement — outlawed by Israel in 1994 under anti-terrorism laws.

Hebron’s Old City was declared a closed military zone in November, banning entrance to the area to all except registered Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.

Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah following the ban called for the presence of Palestinian security forces in al-Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida areas of Hebron in order to provide “security and protection” for Palestinians against Israeli settler assaults.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

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