Photo Essay: Palestinians hold annual Open Shuhada Street demonstration in Hebron

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As every year, Palestinians together with their supporters took the streets in Hebron to commemorate the massacre which took place in 1994 when a US-born Israeli settler named Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 and wounding more than 100. The Israelis ordered more than 500 businesses to close overnight, and subsequently, the Shuhada street in Hebron’s historic Old City was closed. The protesters demand to open the Shuhada street, that has been closed for Palestinians since the massacre.

The protests this year were held at a time of heightened tensions in the city, following the expulsion of the international observers TIPH, whose mandate was not renewed by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

This year, there were two demonstrations taking place at the same time organized by different groups, joined by international and Israeli supporters. In one of the demonstrations organized by the group Youth Against the Settlements (YAS); which gathered dozens of protesters, members of Neturei Karta, a religious group of anti-Zionist Haredi Jews also participated. The other demonstration which gathered hundreds of Palestinians was organized by the group “Human Rights Defenders” and other groups and political parties which are part of  the coalition organizing the “Dismantle the ghetto, take settlers out of Hebron” campaign.

Palestinians pray in protest in front of one of the closed gates leading to Shuhada Street and an Israeli military watch tower. Ali, 21, from south Hebron hills, from the youth of summud group, told Mondoweiss: “This is a day to remember, and we come here to stand in solidarity with our comrades in Hebron, to protest against the crimes against humanity that is happening in the old city of Hebron. We need the world to stop those crimes; so we can achieve our dreams to live peacefully”. (Photo: Anne Paq/
One of the members of Neturei Karta told Mondoweiss: ” We are here because of our opposition to the state of Israel and to Zionism. Judaism and Zionism are different. Judaism is religion, Zionism is nationalism, and there is no connexion between the two. The Jewish people should stand against Zionists and everything they are doing against Palestinians. This is against Judaism. It’s forbidden to take from people, to steal, to kill.” (Photo: Anne Paq/
Palestinians hold banners and shout slogans in front of a gate leading to Shuhada Street in another protest organized by the group “Human Rights Defenders” and the other groups and political parties which are part of the “Dismantle the ghetto campaign, take settlers out of Hebron”. Badee Dwaik from the “Human Rights Defenders group” told Mondoweiss: “The purpose of today is to mark the 25th anniversary of the Ibrahim mosque massacre. We manage to organize a big march with many groups and parties. Our message is that despite what the Israelis are doing, we will continue our resistance. We need international protection but our way is resistance. I live in the old city. The situation has worsened and the settlers are very aggressive. And now, the most aggressive ones have the chance to go to the Knesset”. (Photo: Anne Paq/
Palestinians manage to push through the gate but were stopped by Israeli soldiers. (Photo: Anne Paq/
Protesters sit in front of one the checkpoints leading to the part of the old city that remains out of reach for most. Behind the checkpoint lies the H2 area, an area of Hebron that has been determined as a result of the ‘Hebron Protocol’ (1997), and remains under total control of the Israeli authorities. The Palestinian population in H2 has declined because of the movement restrictions, isolation, and the repeated attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers. Only Palestinians who live in H2 can pass the checkpoint. (Photo: Anne Paq/
A Palestinian child climbs on the Israeli military checkpoint to plant the Palestinian flag. (Photo: Anne Paq/
An Israeli soldier points his weapon at Palestinian youth. (Photo: Anne Paq/
An Israeli soldier in front of a banner reading “Dismantle the Ghetto, Settlers out of Hebron”. (Photo: Anne Paq/
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Thanks for this, Anne. The photos are arresting, indeed. So glad not to see any of the grotesque, violent, thieving, and racist squatters, but sickened to see the cowardly and heavily armed IOF thugs.

Open Shuhada Street! Free Hebron and the Palestinians!