Closing Shuhada Street — at Berkeley

Israel/Palestine
on 14 Comments

Students and community activists staged a mock street closure on the UC Berkeley campus last Monday to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre and the closing of Shuhada Street to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Like other actions covered here, the checkpoint is a response to the call for global solidarity by Youth Against Settlements.    

Taking over a small section of Sproul Plaza, demonstrators erected a checkpoint manned by armed Israeli soldiers. Students wearing keffiyehs attempted to cross the checkpoint, explaining that they lived or attended school on the other side of the street and demanded to be let through.  They were then arrested and made to kneel with their heads covered as they held signs indicating their “crime” of living in their own city. Armed settlers walked passed the soldiers unhindered, holding Israeli flags and signs that read “All of Judea and Samaria is ours,” and pausing every few minutes to throw trash at the Palestinians. 

The scene attempted to mimic the daily harassment and hardship of Palestinians in Hebron by Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defense Force who protect them. A statement by Youth Against Settlement explains:

Shuhada Street is the main street connecting the southern and the northern parts of the City of Hebron. For the past 16 years, this street has been closed to Palestinian pedestrians and vehicles. Israel has also forced the closure of Palestinian shops and sealed shut the entrances to Palestinian homes along the street.

The city of Hebron is home to approximately 200,000 Palestinians. 600 Israeli settlers, supported by a large number of Israeli Military, now inhabit and control the heart of the Old City. The Israeli military severely restrict the movement of tens of thousands of Palestinian residents. However, the settlers have total freedom of movement, despite their presence being illegal under international law. They can both walk and drive vehicles through the Palestinian neighbourhoods. Shuhada Street is the most important thoroughfare in the area.

On Shuhada Street, all the shops and the majority of the houses are owned by Palestinians. The merchants of the street have incurred tremendous losses due to the street closure. In addition, Israel had welded shut all the Palestinian houses’ doors on the street, completely ignoring the rights of the Palestinian citizens living behind these doors. Residents have to jump over their back yards’ walls to get in and out of their houses. Those that cannot do this have had no choice but to abandon their homes as they have no way of accessing them.

The act of closing the street was taken arbitrarily without any legal justification from the Israeli occupation forces.  The “safety of the settlers” was the only excuse given, despite the fact that the settlers’ presence in Hebron is illegal and based on the confiscation of Palestinian properties, and the fact that the settlers are outnumbered by the heavily armed soldiers who are there to stand guard over them. The closure of Shuhada Street is simply a part of the Israeli strategy to ethnically cleanse Hebron of its Palestinian population.

Update: This piece originally appeared under Phil Weiss’s byline as he published it. Apologies to Maggie Sager –Phil

14 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    March 2, 2013, 10:16 am

    When you read this, try to remember that antisemitism, islamophobia, fascism may be called crimes-against-humanity without rebuke (as Turkish PM did recently) but calling zionism a c-a-h (as he also did) is (still) a vigorously opposed no-no in some circles.

    For how long?

    Even if any aspect of zionism (e.g., resucing Jewish refugees, and offering a safe haven to Jews in the event they are oppressed elsewhere in future) might not be opprobrious, surely the history of zionism-in-practice since 1967 (I am going to ignore the history 1945-1967) justifies calling zionism-as-practiced-1967-to-2013 a c-a-h, and THIS DEMONSTRATION should help to prove it in Berkeley.

  2. Ramzi Jaber
    March 2, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Well said pabelmont. Zionism is a crime against humanity, including Jews. History will show that Zionism had the most negative and detrimental impact on Jews.

    • WeAreAllMadeOfStars
      March 2, 2013, 1:32 pm

      And hopefully, History will also show that religions have had the most negative and detrimental impact on mankind

    • JennieS
      March 2, 2013, 5:04 pm

      Agreed Ramzi. From the very beginning of the Zionist project its architects have sought, and found, powerful backers among the gentile nations. Israel depends, for its existence, on the support of the US, in particular, and other western nations. Should the kind of anti-semitism arise which necessitates Jews to flee their homes in New York, London, Paris or Sydney Israel will become a prison camp and killing field for Jews as the Palestinians and surrounding nations take revenge for Israeli arrogance.

      • ivri
        March 2, 2013, 6:39 pm

        What a humane vision, but also a page taken from another era – finishing off Jews in a “camp” en masse is not exactly compatible with today`s conditions of war asymmetry. If you happened to have a couple of hundred nukes and capabilities to launch them from mountains, air and sea then no matter how small you are you can ensure that things can hardly be as one-sided as they were in the past – and swiftly so.

  3. ivri
    March 2, 2013, 1:34 pm

    The obsession with Zionism especially by the Arab world, despite its many and infinitely more crucial problems, would rather be remembered there as a colossal miscalculation. At some point people there will begin to add up the devastating prices it brought on the Arab world, completely unnecessarily, and people will refuse to believe that such a negligible issue was able to cause all that (and who knows how worse it may still get).

    • Avi_G.
      March 2, 2013, 5:37 pm

      That’s right, iver, keep your comments vague, obscure and ambiguous. Don’t write anything specific lest you expose yourself as someone who hasn’t an inkling of what he’s commenting about, nor would you want to post something detailed lest someone hold you to it.

      Just go on ranting about Arabs, iver.

    • Joe Ed
      March 2, 2013, 6:17 pm

      “The obsession with Zionism especially by the Arab world”

      That’s pretty funny. The arabs are obsessed with Zionism. Not the Jews.

      This is a tactic oft used by the Dersh who accuses those supporting Palestinain rights as being obsessed with israel. This from a guy who has written several books defending Israel and apparently spends most of his waking time doing the same.

      The complete absence of self awareness among Zionists is truly breathtaking

    • Inanna
      March 2, 2013, 9:01 pm

      You choose to put this comment in a diary about how a Jew massacring Muslims in a Mosque resulted in the closing of the main commercial street in the city. That’s not just chutzpah, it’s not just incredibly wrong, that’s an irony deficiency.

    • MK_Ultra
      March 3, 2013, 5:50 pm

      Here’s some slapstick irony for ya:

      The obsession with Zionism Arabs especially by the Arab Zionist world, despite its many and infinitely more crucial problems, would rather be remembered there as a colossal miscalculation. At some point people there will begin to add up the devastating prices it brought on the Arab world jewry, completely unnecessarily, and people will refuse to believe that such a negligible issue was able to cause all that (and who knows how worse it may still get).

    • Ecru
      March 4, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Not sure it’s such a “negligible issue” to all the people Zionism has dispossessed and killed over the years.

  4. MK_Ultra
    March 3, 2013, 5:45 pm

    I’m surprised to see that the Oakland police (well trained by their counterparts in ISreal on crowd control on live Palestinians) didn’t descend on the students like locusts on a crop field. While Sgt. Price reminisced from his new post as a security guard at the local super WalMart over his glory days pepper-spraying the life out of harmless kids.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    March 4, 2013, 2:23 am

    RE: “The scene attempted to mimic the daily harassment and hardship of Palestinians in Hebron by Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defense Force who protect them.” ~ Maggie Sagger

    REGARDING THE DAILY HARRASMENT AND HARDSHIP OF PALESTINIANS IN HEBRON, SEE: “Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish extremists in Hebron”, by ISM Hebron, 11/18/06

    [EXCERPT] A 19-year old Swedish human rights worker had her cheekbone broken by a Jewish extremist in Hebron today. Earlier the same day at least five Palestinians, including a 3-year-old child, were injured by the settler-supporting extremists, who rampaged through Tel Rumeida hurling stones and bottles at local residents. Palestinian schoolchildren on their way home were also attacked. The Israeli army, which was intensively deployed in the area, did not intervene to stop the attacks.
    Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint with a small group of human rights workers (HRWs) to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by about 100 Jewish extremists in small groups. They started chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” — a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day.
    After about thirty seconds of waiting, a small group of very aggressive male Jewish extremists surrounded the international volunteers and began spitting at them, so much so that the internationals described it as “like rain.” Then men from the back of the crowd began jumping up and spitting, while others from the back and side of the crowd kicked the volunteers.
    The soldiers, who were standing at the checkpoint just a few feet behind the HRWs, looked on as they were being attacked.
    One settler then hit Tove on the left side of her face with an empty bottle, breaking it on her face and leaving her with a broken cheekbone. She immediately fell to the ground and the group of Jewish extremists who were watching began to clap, cheer, and chant.
    The soldiers, who had only watched until this point, then came forward and motioned at the settlers, in a manner which the internationals described as “ok… that’s enough guys.”
    The extremists, however, were allowed to stay in the area and continued watching and clapping as the HRWs tried to stop the flow of blood from the young woman’s face. Some, who were coming down the hill even tried to take photos of themselves next to her bleeding face, giving the camera a “thumbs-up” sign. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to palsolidarity.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 4, 2013, 3:06 am

      P.S. ALSO RE: “The scene attempted to mimic the daily harassment and hardship of Palestinians in Hebron by Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defense Force who protect them.” ~ Maggie Sagger

      MY COMMENT: Unfortunately, the harassment and hardship of Palestinians (by Jewish settlers [Israel’s quasi-official equivalent of Mussolini’s Blackshirts] and the Israeli Defense Force who protect them) is almost as severe in other parts of the West Bank a considerable distance away from the lunatic settlers in Hebron. And the harrasment isn’t confined just to the Palestinians. Read below about a scatalogical attack (near Nablus some years ago, and with the complicity of the IDF) on a Jew visiting the West Bank from her adopted country of England/U.K.! It is truly like something out of the Dark Ages.

      FROM SEVERAL YEARS AGO: “Jews protect Palestinians in harvest of hate” ~ By Donald Macintyre in Awarta, West Bank, The Independent (U.K.), 10/10/08
      Israelis cross religious divide to shelter olive farmers from settlers’ attacks

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Born in Tel Aviv, Ms Siew served in the army, took a university degree, then a teacher’s diploma. Thirty-six years ago, she took the tough decision to emigrate to London, telling her parents: “I won’t come back until there’s peace.” Ms Siew, who is now 64, remains an Israeli citizen but now lives with her British husband in Hebden Bridge. She has kept to her word, except that each autumn she comes back to stay in her hometown with her relatives and spends each day of the two-month harvest season picking olives on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank.
      And Ms Siew does that for a purpose. Up on the ridge above us, you can see the red roofs of Itamar, a notably hard-line Jewish settlement [5 kilometers southeast of Nablus ~ J.L.D.], and she is here to help protect the Palestinian farmers from the threat of settler violence which has so often scarred the olive harvests.
      . . . Last year, she was in a group in the South Hebron Hills confronted by settlers who fired shots from a pistol and an M16 assault rifle, despite the presence of the army and police. “Then one of the soldiers said, ‘Look, one of them is coming down with a jug of water for you’. The settler emptied the jug over me. It was full of human shit.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to independent.co.uk

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