A video of IDF soldiers dancing in Hebron (to, as if to rub salt in the wound, one of Kesha’s autotune atrocities) recently went viral. Less well known, perhaps, is that the street on which they were dancing, a-Shuhada Street, has been partially and then completely closed to Palestinians since 1994, when the extremist settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 people in the Cave of the Patriarchs. Hebron today is occupied by militant Israeli settlers, who, with help from the army, have been terrorising the town’s Palestinian residents and systematically destroying the local economy. A-Shuhada Street is closed to Palestinians so that settlers can have the run of the place without suffering the indignity of encountering one of the subhumans. The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem reports that Israeli policy in Hebron is characterised by “severe and extensive restrictions on Palestinian movement”, attacks on residents by Israeli forces and a “systematic failure to enforce law and order on violent settlers attacking Palestinians”. The results have been devastating: by May 2007, 41.9% of housing units in the city centre had been abandoned, while 76.6% of commercial establishments in the same area had closed down. B’Tselem characterised Israeli policy in Hebron as one of “quiet transfer”, a euphemism for ethnic cleansing.
In 2000 the army sealed the entrances of the houses on the street. The video below shows Malka Kafisha, a Palestinian resident, having to leave her home by climbing up onto the roofs of neighbouring houses. Commenting on the policy, Zeev Sternhell (via) exclaimed that “you… [have] to rub your eyes to believe how the colonial power allows itself to make life so unbearable for the natives”:
Hebron has become a focus for international solidarity activism. To find out more, visit openshuhadastreet.org.