Israeli Repression of Palestinians in Hebron
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Daily life in Occupied Hebron reflects how Israel terrorizes Palestinians throughout the Territories.
Hebron is the West Bank's largest city. The Al-Haq human rights group calls life for its Palestinian residents "a microcosm of the Israeli occupation," adding:
Virtually daily, Israeli occupation forces "assault…Palestinians through excessive use of force and unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, a variety of collective punishment measures, including punitive house demolitions, and both direct and indirect support of settler attacks."
Hebron was partitioned to increase settler occupation at the expense of dispossessed and displaced Palestinians — what ethnic cleansing is all about.
Israeli actions include excessive and lethal force, checkpoints preventing free movement, curfews, and unaccountable settler attacks — crimes without punishment.
Palestinian rights are consistently violated so settlers can benefit, actions taken to increase occupation of the city at the expense of its rightful residents.
Palestinians remaining in the city face unacceptable hardships, including daily threats to their lives and well-being. Incidents like the following happen with disturbing regularity.
A Palestinian Hebron resident recounted what happened when he went outside his home one night, saying:
"(S)oldiers were present and chatting with two settlers, sharing drinks and smiling."
"In the opposite direction, there were three Israeli soldiers with their helmets on, walking towards the Jewish cemetery."
"I went back inside and told my friends that something was going on. (W)e heard six or seven shots. Seconds later, I looked outside the window and found a Palestinian man lying on the floor."
"I did not see a knife or gun near him or in his hands or anything to prove that he might have been a threat to the soldiers."
"We didn't hear any sound before the shooting. The man who was shot did not scream or say anything."
"The soldiers did not speak to him before shooting otherwise we would have heard it. The man was killed without notice. They just executed him."
In February, Netanyahu ordered members of a Temporary International (human rights monitoring) Presence in Hebron (TIPH) expelled from the city, saying:
"We will not allow the presence of an international force that operates against us." Expulsion came after the TIPH cited numerous Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian residents.
Around 200,000 Palestinians live in the city, about 40,000 in its center. Over 1,000 Israeli soldiers and multiple military checkpoints deny them free movement.
According to an unnamed TIPH member, "Israeli occupying forces and settlers (are) emboldened by" one-sided Trump regime support for Israel at the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights, adding:
"Netanyahu wants to satisfy the settlers, and under Trump, they can get away with anything, including the expulsion of a mandated international presence. The Israelis have always acted with impunity, but this is a whole other level."
Without a TIPH presence, "there will be an escalation of violence." Human rights workers aren't welcom in Occupied Palestinian.
They're mistreated like fifth column threats — harassed, intimidated, expelled, and at times arrested and/or physically assaulted.
Hebron's city center was once a thriving Palestinian commercial and residential area — no longer because Israel destroyed its fabric of life through land seizures, ethnic cleansing, curfews, restrictions on free movement and unchecked violence.
Thousands of city residents were expelled, forced out because of Israel's "principle of separation" policy.
Hebron the only Palestinian city with an Israeli settlement in its center — concentrated in and around the Old City that once was the entire southern West Bank's commercial center.
On Sunday, Israeli war minister Naftali Bennett approved a new (illegal) settlement in Hebron. It'll be built on Palestinian land where a thriving fruit and vegetable market operated years ago until forced to shut down.
Exclusive Jewish development will replace existing structures. According to Bennett, the plan calls for doubling the city's (occupied) Jewish population — at the expense of displaced Palestinians.
In response to Bennett's announcement PLO member Saeb Erekat said the following:
What's planned is "the first tangible result of the (Trump regime's) decision to legitimize colonization" adding:
"This cannot be taken out of the context annexation. Concrete measures, including sanctions against settlements are a (world community) responsibility."
Peace Now denounced Israeli settler occupation of Hebron, saying:
It's "the ugliest face of Israeli control in the territories. To maintain 800 settlers among a quarter of a million Palestinians, whole streets are closed to Palestinians and they are deprived of their freedom of movement and their livelihood," adding:
"Construction in the wholesale market is adding insult to injury, a waste of public money that harms Israeli interests."
"No future plan for a diplomatic agreement includes the Jewish settlement in Hebron and expanding it serves nothing but the messianic vision of an extremist minority."
Hebron's Palestinian residents endure the brutality of militarized occupation, especially in the city center. Over time, large numbers were forced out. Hundreds of businesses shut down.
Economic ruin replaced the southern West Bank's once thriving commercial hub. Hebron's Palestinian residents face harassment and other forms of abuse by soldiers and settlers.
According to B'Tselem, "(d)ocumented instances include physical assault, stone-throwing, vandalism of shops and doors, theft, verbal abuse, attempts to run Palestinians over…several cases of gunfire," and at times lethal shootings, accountability never forthcoming.
Longstanding Israeli plans call for ethnically cleansing the city, especially its city center. That's what construction of a new settlement is all about.
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