By Saba Shabbir - Palestine Monitor
Hebron (known as Khalil in Arabic), home to 300,000 Palestinians, is a city split in two. In 1997, the city was divided into the H1 area, under Palestinian control, and H2, under Israeli control. Hebron’s old city, the place where H1 meets H2, is ground zero for Israeli Apartheid.
As a result of Israel’s separation policy , 1,014 Palestinian homes have been vacated and 1,829 Palestinian businesses in the old city have been closed by Israeli forces, according to the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem.
This is in addition to a forced separation of Palestinian and Israeli residents of Hebron, with Palestinians being prevented from entering many parts of the city. A B’Tselem map of the areas closed to Palestinians shows how extreme the apartheid system has become.
Many ex-soldiers who served in the occupation forces in Hebron themselves admit to brutal treatment of Palestinians in the city. But the violence carried out by settlers living in Hebron is often even more extreme.
Settler Violence and Intimidation:
Hebron is the only city in the West Bank with a settlement directly inside of the Old City. The old city is inhabited by about 30,000 Palestinians and around 750 settlers. Many residents of Hebron recount horrific stories of violence suffered at the hands of settlers.
Homes Turned Into Jails:
Palestinian families in many houses along Shuhada Street have been forced to build protective structures to defend against settler attacks. Most windows of inhabited houses along the street have been covered with metal grating to prevent stones being thrown through them.
Resisting the Separation Policy:
Youth Against Settlements and similar groups in Hebron are resisting the occupation and the separation policy with whatever tools they have. Each year, Youth Against Settlements organizes an “Open Shuhada Street” protest, which draws residents of Hebron and Palestinians from all over the West Bank to protest the separation policy. Amro said last year the demonstration attracted between 8,000 to 10,000 participants.
“We are calling to reopen Shuhada Street and all the closed shops,” he said. “We are asking solidarity groups around the world to organize nonviolent campaigns and put pressure on their decision makers.