by Sam, December 29th
This morning at 10 a.m, three Palestinian residents of the Tel Rumeida District in Hebron accompanied by a handful of Israeli activists and media personnel as well as international volunteers successfully crossed an area off limits to Palestinians for the last six years.
Tel Rumeida falls in the Occupation controlled H2 military zone of Hebron City and is illegally barricaded by the IOF even though there are many Palestinian residents within the area. Access is only available via a checkpoint and Palestinians are not allowed to drive their cars in the zone. The illegal Jewish settlers however, enjoy total freedom of movement and are infamous for their constant harassment and attacks on Palestinians.
A recent Israeli High Court ruling stipulates that the restriction of Palestinian movement in Shuhada street has been mistakenly enforced for the last six years and that Palestinians in fact have the right to use this road. Armed with the court ruling the three men peacefully approached the area and were immediately stopped by an Israeli soldier outside the Beit Hadassah settlement who refused to look at the paper and physically attempted to restrain the Palestinians from bypassing. Five more soldiers then came running up from the checkpoint, soon followed by an army jeep with a few more soldiers. They read the court ruling and then telephoned the Border Police who arrived shortly thereafter.
The soldiers then made the 3 men face and put their hands up against a wall and searched them while the police were on the phone. After approximately 30 minutes the soldiers and police allowed and escorted the Palestinian men as well as the activists through the area to the end of Shuhada Street and agreed that Palestinians shall henceforth be allowed to use this route unhindered by the IOF or settlers.
The three men walked through a street in their own neighbourhood for the first time in six years and the happiness was evident on their faces. This represents a significant breakthrough in the human rights of the local Palestinians and a buzz was soon evident amongst residents in the area as the news spread. All that remains to be seen is if the IOF adhere to the High Court Ruling, and allow the Palestinians the freedom of movement which is now legally theirs.