10 July 2010
Over 100 Palestinians together with international solidarity activists gathered in Hebron this Saturday to protest against the closure of Shuhada street. As a response to the infamous YouTube video of soldiers dancing near the illegal settlement of Tel-Rumeida, some protesters staged a dance protest: three dancers took the role of soldiers and searched and “arrested” three Palestinians.
They performed in front of the gate that closes off Shuhada street and prohibits all Palestinians from using it. The demonstrators called for justice and the opening of Shuhada street, and for the inhabitants of illegal Israeli settlements to leave the city and take the soldiers with them.
The demonstration, held weekly on a Saturday afternoon, then turned and paraded through the town. As they approached the market the peaceful protesters’ path was blocked by a line of soldiers armed with M-16 rifles – some of whom were seen kicking and hitting protesters. After a short sit-in the protest continued by turning around and heading towards the Old City.
Israeli activists gave speeches in Hebrew aimed at soldiers and settlers, calling for an end to the Apartheid situation in Hebron. One settler living in a house from which Palestinians were evicted threw water down on protesters but this did not dampen their spirits. Palestinians and international activists chanted together: “One two three four, occupation no more, five six seven eight, stop the killing, stop the hate.”
There are 18 check points that severely limit the movement of Palestinians in the Israeli military controlled area of Hebron (known as ‘H2’). Palestinian residents face daily attacks and harassment from soldiers and extremist, fanatical settlers who are often armed and violate the rights of Palestinians with impunity.