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Palestinian Girl, 17, Wounded in Stone-hurling, IDF Says Soldier Attacked as Thousands of Jews Descend on Hebron

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Israelis threw rocks and vandalized Palestinian property in Hebron on Saturday while more than 30,000 Jews marched in the city during an annual pilgrimage. Several Palestinians have been wounded, including a 17-year-old girl.

Israeli forces reported that a solider was lightly injured after being attacked with a stick by an Israeli citizen.

During the day, the army closed the market area of Hebron and demanded that shop owners close them to allow settlers to march there.

Louie, the owner of a stall in the market, told Haaretz said the soldiers “threw our goods on the ground and then fired tear gas and rubber bullets to make us go away”, he said.

“In the past they closed streets far from us, this is the first time this has happened,” Louie added saying that he ran away afraid and that they still did not allow him to return.

Issa Amro, a local activist, said that the Israeli army blocked an area three times larger than previous years, closed shops and prevented cars from passing.”

Israelis who passed there wrecked the stalls in the market, while IDF soldiers separated the Palestinians from the Israelis. According to Amro, hundreds of Israelis also attacked Palestinian homes and damaged cars and property. The police said that the cases are under investigation.

Palestinian residents of Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood said that on Saturday, Israelis threw stones at them and at their houses.

According to a statement released by the Israeli police this year, the police, Border Police and the army have prepared “to maintain security and public order” in advance of the march.

A security source told Haaretz that there were many incidents of stone hurling, some of them from both Palestinians and settlers, over the weekend.

“We have four people wounded from different families, what is happening here is a big problem,” said Yasser, a resident of the neighborhood.

“There is not a single house in Tel Rumeida that was not attacked, what happened today was not normal. A 15-year-old was attacked with a stone in the face and his nose was broken, people were sprayed with pepper spray, I have a neighbor who broke his door and entered his house,” he said.

Yasser added that everyone stayed indoors and that 17 of his neighbors were injured over the weekend.

Abu Anan, a resident of the neighborhood, told Haaretz that the windows and wheels of four cars were vandalized and that this similar things happen every year.

“Luckily, nothing happened to the house, because there are nets on the windows,” he said, referring to the nets that the Palestinian residents of Hebron usually install due to repeated stone throwing.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz posted on Twitter condemning the attacks on Israeli forces and Palestinian residents by “extremists,” adding that “the forces on the ground acted with determination to prevent injury to life and property, and will continue to fulfill their role and maintain public order.”

The Israelis traveled to Hebron to mark “Chayei Sarah,” the fifth weekly Torah portion of the annual cycle of Torah reading, which discusses the life of the patriarch Abraham’s wife, Sarah, who is buried in Hebron, according to Jewish tradition.

Article link:
Article source: Haaretz | Hagar Shezaf & Jack Khoury | Nov 19, 2022

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Hebron’s Jewish settlers take heart from far-right polls surge in Israel

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In 1968, a year after Israel’s victory in the Six Day War that marked the beginning of the occupation of the Palestinian territories, about 60 messianic Jews posing as Swiss tourists travelled to a hotel in the holy West Bank city of Hebron, where they celebrated a Passover seder.

Later, the group visited the Cave of the Patriarchs – known to Muslims as al-Ibrahimi Mosque – where Abraham and his kin are supposedly buried.

They never left. The trip is now widely seen as the birth of the modern settler movement, which sees restoring the historical land of Israel as a religious calling which will hasten the coming of the Messiah.

Hebron today is a striking manifestation of what that vision means for the Palestinian population.

The 30,000 or so Palestinians living in the part of the city under Israeli control are not even allowed to walk on certain streets, while roughly 800 Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), have steadily taken over Palestinian homes and businesses.

On a cold, wet day last week, soldiers at checkpoints and a group of young Jewish boys splashing in puddles were the only signs of life in what used to be a thriving economic centre.

The divided city has long been a magnet for followers of the anti-Arab terrorist Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was banned from politics before being assassinated in 1990.

Three decades later, Kahanism has not just survived: after Israel’s election this month, it has become the third largest political force in the country, and Kahanist politicians will have important portfolios in former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government.

A total of 88% of the Jewish community here and 67% of the 3,000-strong neighbouring settlement of Kiryat Arba voted for one of their own – Kiryat Arba resident, former Kahane disciple and rising star of the Religious Zionist party, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“I’m not a religious person. I don’t cover my hair or anything, I have LGBT friends,” said Elinor, a 24-year-old single mother who works at Kiryat Arba’s supermarket. “Like everyone else I voted for Netanyahu in the past and switched to Ben-Gvir this time because of the security situation.

“I think he’s become so popular because the rest of the country is starting to understand how dangerous it is and what we are going through here.”

Netanyahu’s bloc of far-right and religious parties won a majority on 1 November, and will in all probability return to office in a few weeks at the head of the most rightwing government in Israel’s history.

He was able to end the four-year political crisis triggered by his ongoing corruption trial by persuading three far-right fringe parties to merge into one slate called the Religious Zionists before the 2021 election, pushing them over the electoral threshold and into the Knesset.

This time, Ben-Gvir’s rocketing popularity helped the slate more than double their seats to 14. Six of them are settlers, living in the West Bank despite the fact it is illegal under international law and Israeli settlements – growing all the time – negate the possibility of a two-state solution.

His fiery speeches calling for Israeli police and soldiers to have immunity from prosecution for harming Palestinians, the reinstatement of the death penalty for terrorism offences and the deportation of “disloyal” citizens have resonated during an election cycle marred by spiralling violence.

A total of 21 Israelis and 121 Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank have been killed so far in 2022 – a 16-year record.

A former member of the Kach terrorist group, with a conviction for inciting racism, Ben-Gvir supports altering Israel’s legal code, which could help Netanyahu in his corruption trial.

His slate wants an end to Palestinian autonomy in areas of the West Bank, legislative reform to incorporate traditional religious law, and a rolling back of gay rights.

Coalition horse-trading is under way, and Ben-Gvir wants to be minister of public security, a role that would put him in charge of the police. Israel’s security services would then be in the extraordinary position of being asked to share intelligence with an individual on their watchlist.

Many political observers thought that as part of recent efforts to soften his image, Ben-Gvir would stay away from a memorial in Jerusalem on Thursday night marking the anniversary of Rabbi Kahane’s death. Instead, he arrived to deliver a glowing tribute.

“I think that the main characteristic of Kahane was love. Love of Israel without compromise and without any other considerations,” he said.

In the past, Kahanist meetings would have the aura of an underground gathering. Now, emboldened by their success, media were invited and the audience even booed when Ben-Gvir said he does “not support the expulsion of all Arabs”.

For the 20% of the Israeli population which identifies as Palestinian, as well as those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the far right’s elevation to the Knesset means an already difficult situation is about to get much worse.

Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights activist in Hebron, knows Ben-Gvir and his supporters well. Amro has been a target of settler violence for years.

In the past fortnight, however, gangs have set fires on his land and attacked friends and family who came to help with this year’s olive harvest. In video footage of several of these incidents, the IDF stands by, allowing the violence to continue.

“I think they are definitely more confident now. Their representatives are the government. They don’t think they have to hold back any more,” he said during the Observer’s visit to Hebron last week.

After Amro complained, the Israeli army declared his house a closed military zone, forbidding anyone except him from entering the property in what he says is a transparent attempt to make him isolated and vulnerable.

Asked for comment, the IDF said: “On Tuesday 1 November 2022, following a number of confrontations in the area, it was decided to temporarily declare the area a closed military zone.

“The order was valid for one day only and was not extended. It is important to emphasise that on the day in which the order was valid, it did not apply to the residents of the house.”

Amro said: “I want to live, but I’m not going anywhere, because I want the Palestinian voice to be heard.

“We are not slaves, we deserve to live with rights and dignity. If they can do this to me, someone well connected with lawyers and the international community, I do not want to think about what will they do to the other people living in Hebron … I think dark times are ahead.”

One of Ben-Gvir’s favourite turns of phrase, repeated in every public appearance, is: “We are the masters of this house.” A question he and his fellow religious Zionists have not answered is: Are there such things as masters without slaves?

Article link:
Article source: The Guardian | Bethan McKernan and Quique Kierszenbaum | 13 Nov 2022

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Urgent Call to Help Families Affected by COVID-19

by Admin
Free Palestine Melbourne has a friend in Hebron who is raising money, alongside some partners in the US, for families struggling in Hebron.

If you feel like donating, please do.

You probably all know that Hebron was the hardest hit by COVID cases. It has also been badly hit economically – being the largest Palestinian city and the economic hub, as I understand it, there is this perception, even within the West Bank, that Hebron is ok, and the PA isn’t helping much. A few rich families are doing very well, but many families are seriously struggling without tourism – especially domestic tourism from Palestinians within ’48/Israel.

Happy if people have questions too.

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