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Collective punishment in al-Khalil through closed military zone upheld

30th July 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | Hebron, occupied Palestine

The Tel Rumeida neighborhood and Shuhada Street, in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) are still declared a ‘closed military zone’ by Israeli forces. This form of racist collective punishment deliberately targeting the Palestinian population, has now been implemented for almost 9 months.

The area was first declared a closed military zone (CMZ) by the Israeli forces on November 1st, after Palestinian residents were forced to register in order to be allowed access to their own homes. Orders for the CMZ have been repeatedly extended, and Palestinians were degraded to a mere number, that Israeli forces marked on their green West Bank ID-Cards and checked on a list of registered ‘numbered’ Palestinians to decide whether or not to grant access for men, women, old people, sick people, repair-men, medical personell etc. through the checkpoints. Anyone not registered as a number with the Israeli forces, is denied access to their own homes.

Family visiting, repair-men coming for urgent repairs, friends coming for a visit, children going to see their parents or grandparents – is only allowed for the settlers living in the illegal settlements. Palestinians are prevented from crossing the checkpoints, if they’re not registered as a number. This kind of collective punishment – obviously and deliberately racist as only applied for Palestinians – is common in al-Khalil, and aims to further increase the pressure on Palestinians to leave the area and thus facilitate the connection of settlements in a ‘Palestinian free’ zone.