21st June 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | Hebron, occupied Palestine
Today, 21st June 2016, Israeli forces delayed and stopped several Palestinians on their way to noon-prayer at Ibrahimi mosque in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
During the last few days, Israeli forces have been stopping, checking and delaying Palestinians at several checkpoints in the vicinity of Ibrahimi mosque in the old city of al-Khalil. At the Ibrahimi mosque checkpoint that leads from the Palestinian market to the Ibrahimi mosque area, Israeli forces delayed worshippers trying to get to the mosque for prayers, stalling the process making everything go extremely slow. Thus, long queues formed and people were forced to wait for a long time. In less than one hour, Israeli forces stopped 7 women to thoroughly inspect their bags and 3 men to check their IDs, sending one of them to the checkpoint at the mosque-entrance for further checks, forcing him to wait even longer. All of these checks are purely arbitrary, and Palestinians crossing checkpoints thus never know whether they will be stopped, questioned, detained or for how long they might be delayed.
Additionally, Israeli forces stopped four boys, three of whom were carrying containers with soup, that is handed out in the soup-kitchen connected to the Ibrahimi mosque. Israeli forces stopped them asking to examine the soup-containers they were carrying. The same happened to 3 girls crossing a checkpoint further down the street from there. They, as well, were ordered to stop by Israeli forces asking to ‘check’ the containers of fresh hot soup. How and in which way these children carrying soup that is donated to families in need, are posing any kind of threat to the Israeli forces or why they have to be stopped, remains unclear.
The majority of Palestinians attending prayers at Ibrahimi mosque, are forced to cross at least two checkpoints on their way to prayer. Any possible way to reach the mosque, two checkpoints is the least number of checkpoints any Palestinian has to pass to practice their freedom of religion. Most Palestinians though, have to cross more than this minimum number of two checkpoints though, as coming from another direction they have to cross at least 4 checkpoints. In the recent days, large numbers of Palestinians have been stopped and checked at one of these checkpoints, where they’ve already had to pass two checkpoints before to even get to this checkpoint.
Given this arbitrariness and the impossibility to know what to expect when simply trying to go to prayer, is only one form of Israeli forces’ inhumane treatment inflicted only on the Palestinian residents, and thus an apartheid strategy.