31st January 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | 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. The walk home at night took almost an hour for some Palestinians, 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.