Friday, June 15, 2012

Peaceful Protest Against Segregation in Hebron Ends in Arrests

Too often, Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation is portrayed in the media as violent.  It is said that the Palestinian cause would be well served through nonviolence, if only some "Palestinian Gandhi" would emerge. Indeed, according to Joe Klein of Time Magazine, "Ever since Israel won control of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the Palestinian national movement has been defined by terrorism, intransigence and, until recently in the West Bank, corruption. It has never been known for dramatic acts of nonviolence."  Meanwhile, the daily nonviolent resistance of Palestinians and their allies from around the globe is commonly all but ignored.

One recent and striking example of this non-violence occurred in the West Bank city of Hebron.  This traditional hub of Palestinian life and commerce, which currently plays host to a growing population of over 500 Jewish Israeli settlers, has experienced significant segregation in recent years.  One glaring example is Shuhada Street, from which Palestinian pedestrians have been banned since 2001.

In an effort to resist this racist prohibition, a group of Palestinian, Israeli, and international women on Wednesday organized a march on Shahuda street in direct challenge to occupation policy.  Dressed in traditional Palestinian garb, they were met with harsh resistance as they peacefully walked the street.  Assaulted by settlers who attempted to block their path, Israeli activists were cursed as "Traitors... worse than those Arabs."   Such attacks were soon followed by the arrival of heavily armed Israeli soldiers who "pushed a few of the women to the ground and started hitting them," then proceeded to arrest seven Israeli and international activists as punishment for their peaceful challenge to segregation.

Nonviolent protests such as these as well as the violence with which they are met should serve as a wake up call to the international community.  Where is the "Palestinian Gandhi"? There are in fact many of them, tirelessly resisting the Israeli occupation and standing up for justice. Their peaceful struggle can no longer be ignored.

Friday, June 15 2012|+972blog

Women challenge segregation of Hebron street in direct action; seven arrested

Palestinian, Israeli and international women activists dressed in traditional Palestinian garb attempted to walk down Shuhada street, Hebron’s main commercial thoroughfare. After only a few minutes, they were stopped by soldiers, and seven people were arrested in total.

By Noa Shaindlinger

A group of Israeli and international female activists joined Palestinian women on Wednesday in a direct action in Hebron to protest the ongoing ban on Palestinian freedom of movement on Shuhada street. The street, which was once the lively commercial centre of Hebron, was closed off to Palestinian vehicular traffic after the 1994 massacre of 29 Muslims in the Ibrahimi Mosque by Baruch Goldstein. Since 2001, Palestinian pedestrians were barred from the street, turning it into a Jewish-only zone...

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