Upcoming Events

International | Miscellaneous

no events match your query!

New Events

International

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Oliver Callan: Back in his box

offsite link Elaine Byrne: Lacking moral courage to name names Anthony

offsite link Real democracies and referendums Anthony

offsite link Public Services Card: Some still forced to comply Anthony

offsite link Catholic Church: Dark influence still active Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2020/05/28 ? Open Thread Thu May 28, 2020 08:30 | Herb Swanson
2020/05/28 07:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link Notification to Patreon Supporters and Subscribers Thu May 28, 2020 02:45 | amarynth
Patreon has started a system of charging sales tax according to jurisdiction. So, if you are a subscriber from say Germany, they will charge VAT according to the German tax

offsite link Did Trump just cancel a potential double-war? Thu May 28, 2020 00:58 | The Saker
[this analysis was written for the Unz Review] At this time of writing, it is too early to declare the danger over, but at least three out of five Iranian

offsite link Russian Warplanes In Libya Wed May 27, 2020 23:15 | amarynth
South Front The US has finally discovered whom to blame for the ongoing escalation of the conflict in Libya. On May 26, the US African Command (AFRICOM) claimed that Russia

offsite link Breaking: Angry Venezuela ambassador slams US Iran threat Wed May 27, 2020 20:50 | The Saker

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

offsite link Turkish President Calls On Greece To Comply With Human Rights on Syrian Refugee Issues Wed Mar 04, 2020 17:58 | Human Rights

offsite link US Holds China To Account For Human Rights Violations Sun Oct 13, 2019 19:12 | Human Rights

offsite link UN Human Rights Council Should Address Human Rights Crisis in Cambodia Sat Aug 31, 2019 13:41 | Human Rights

offsite link Fijian women still face Human Rights violations Mon Aug 26, 2019 18:49 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
"A flaky website that purports to be ?leftist,? The Cedar Lounge Revolution, occasionally makes a relevant point or two."

offsite link Gardener?s Corner ? Pandemic update 12:00 Thu May 28, 2020 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Lock-down was ?never about stopping people getting sick?? Not sure that?s correct. 11:31 Thu May 28, 2020 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Air travel, ?perfect safety? and political leadership during the pandemic? 11:02 Thu May 28, 2020 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link ?Changed economic circumstances?? 08:03 Thu May 28, 2020 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Sore losers 13:09 Wed May 27, 2020 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Toward a Greater Israel? The Struggle for Hebron

category international | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Tuesday December 03, 2013 10:59author by FTA69 Report this post to the editors

Recently returned from a stint in Palestine, the place that most struck me was the city of Hebron. It is here that the illegal settler policies of the Israeli government has led to the most conflict and it is here where I saw some of the worst poverty in the West Bank.

To glance at a road map of the West Bank, the route between Ramallah and the ancient city of Hebron would seem relatively straightforward; the reality however, is somewhat different. Under the occupation, the road system has been divided into a complicated network of restricted and semi-restricted roads which severely limit Palestinians’ ability to travel between the major cities.

Most of the roads around Jerusalem (as well as the multitude of illegal settlements in the West Bank) have been designated Israeli-only and Palestinians caught driving on them face harsh consequences. The inter-city routes upon which Palestinians are permitted to travel are punctuated by a multitude of Israeli Army checkpoints which have the power to stop and detain cars at a whim. As a result of this system, travelling south from Ramallah is an arduous process which entails a long detour around Jerusalem thus doubling the length of what the journey should be.

As our car finally rounds Jerusalem, we begin to travel through the rolling hills and valleys which make up the West Bank. While many of the troughs and hillsides are interspersed with small Palestinian villages and olive groves; many of the hilltops are now home to Israeli settlements and military bases of varying sizes. Despite these being illegal under international law and in contravention of a raft of UN Resolutions, the bulldozers and construction equipment which can be seen busily working illustrate the fact that expansion continues unabated. Some of the larger settlements have recently been effectively annexed into Israel with the construction of their 700km segregation barrier which surrounds the entire West Bank.
The city of Hebron is in many respects typical of most cities in this region but it is the Old City which has become the scene of most of the conflict here. Dating back to the Canaanite period, the Old City is one of narrow, winding streets, flat-roofed sandstone buildings and numerous obscure lanes which lead between them. This area centres on the Ibrahimi Mosque and Tomb of the Patriarchs, two of the holiest sites in Islam and Judaism (built on the same steppe) and scene of a notorious massacre in 1994 when a US-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, murdered 29 Palestinian men and boys with an assault rifle during Friday prayers. The community of settlers from which Goldstein came is approximately a thousand strong and represent the most fanatical elements of the settler project. It is an unfortunate fact that Goldstein remains a hero to many of them today, as evidenced by the well-tended shrine to him that was only removed recently by the Israeli military.

Under the auspices of protecting this community, the Israeli Army retains exclusive control over a part of the city which has been designated “H2”. H2 has (a rapidly falling) population of 30,000 Palestinians and includes most of the Old City, including the holy sites. As a consequence of the occupation, the Old City is punctuated by scores of checkpoints where Palestinians often face arbitrary detention, searches and harassment. The flat roofs of Hebron are also chequered with military outposts where soldiers survey the population below, often through their rifle scopes. In keeping with the wider road system in the West Bank, some streets have also been declared Israeli-only. Perhaps the most prominent example of this is Suhana Street. Once a thriving economic thoroughfare, it is now barren walkway which bisects the city. As the road is closed to Palestinians, all of the shops have now folded with some losing everything. Most ludicrously of all, Palestinians whose homes face Suhana Street are forbidden from opening their front door; thus many of them are forced to utilise ladders in their back garden in order to traverse the roofs and alight on a different street.

Coupled with the military restrictions, Palestinians in H2 and the surrounding villages also have to contend with systematic and organised attacks from the settlers. As I walk through a deserted market street, I wonder as to the purpose of the netting and steel cages above the walkways. I don’t have to wait long for an answer as a rock thrown from the settler apartments above crashes off the thick steel frame. As well as rocks, Palestinian shoppers and traders are also pelted with rubbish, bags of human excrement and most sinister of all, chemicals such as bleach and acid. Houses facing onto the settler-designated areas have also been targeted with windows being broken and racist graffiti being daubed on doors and walls. Most Palestinians on this interface have now left. Economic activity and life in general in this zone has almost been made impossible. Unsurprisingly, no settler in Hebron has been convicted of attacking Palestinian inhabitants. As a result of the H2 occupation, people in this part of Hebron are suffering some of the most extreme poverty you will find in an already-impoverished country.

As I leave Hebron, I can’t help but get feelings of guilt. While I can jump into my rented car and leave H2 far behind, those living here have to suffer the daily violence and indignity that military occupation entails. To listen to Israeli propaganda, one could be forgiven for thinking that they are a beleaguered state under siege and simply securing their own safety. In reality, they are presiding over a grinding occupation which is aimed at encouraging forced migration and subsequent illegal settlement; all with a view to strengthening the prospect of a “Greater Israel” which will be built at the expense of the Palestinian people.

It is clear that if the rest of the world is serious about challenging Israel’s occupation, it must work against the narrative that Israel is a normal state. Like another apartheid state before it; its goods, sporting fixtures and cultural events must be boycotted and activists must work within their own countries to apply pressure on their governments to follow suit. When change in Palestine comes, it will come about on the back of international solidarity. Let’s redouble our efforts to build that today.

author by anonpublication date Thu Dec 26, 2013 21:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

banksychristmas_joseph_and_mary_on_their_way_to_bethlehem.jpg

 
© 2001-2020 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy