This last Saturday, February 25 was the anniversary of the massacre committed in Hebron by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein. In 1994, he murdered 29 Palestinians while they were praying in the Ibrahimi Mosque. Since this day, Israel has enforced more separation between settlers and Palestinians, but the Palestinians’ freedom of movement has been severely decreased as a result. Why they would reward the Israeli settlers in Hebron for murdering worshippers is beyond me, but they did.
So, for 18 years the main street in Hebron, Shuhada Street, has been closed to Palestinians. They cannot walk, drive, or even cross this street. All but three of the Palestinian shops on this street have been closed down, and the ones that are open, only internationals can buy from. I had the privilege to cross the street and buy some goods from these three shops.
For three years now, Youth Against Settlements in Hebron has organized a Global Day of Action for the re-opening of Shuhada Street. They ask for everyone around the world to organize peaceful demonstrations in their hometowns. I organized one in Chicago this year with the Jewish Voice for Peace, my new favorite group of Jews. We actually managed to have seven groups co-sponsor our demonstration with us, although only eight individual people showed up to demonstrate. But all was well; we handed out over 200 pamphlets about Hebron and only had a very few arguers and dissenters. I even got a fist pound from one passerby! That was pretty sweet. I also had a man tell me that my sign was not true. It read “If you were a Palestinian in Hebron, you would not be allowed to cross this street (see my friend holding it above). ” I said, “Well, Palestinians in Hebron can’t cross their main street. So it is true.” And he said I was lying to everyone and that they have plenty of freedom of movement. He kept saying “It’s not true” when clearly all of our information was, in fact, true.
So an overall success, I would say. If you yourself would like more information about Hebron go to www.youthagainstsettlements.org, and if you need a refresher on my own day in Hebron it is here: The Untraditional Thanksgiving Day.