Magazine article Tikkun

Born into Occupation, Fighting for Basic Human Rights

Magazine article Tikkun

Born into Occupation, Fighting for Basic Human Rights

Article excerpt

JUNE 5, 2017 MARKS 50 YEARS since the Naksa, or "setback," when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza strip (2017 is also 69 years since the Nakba, or "catastrophe," when 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes and lands to make way for the establishing of the State of Israel). Qiryat Arba, the first Israeli settlement in the West Bank, was established in the outer Hebron area in 1968. Eleven years later the Beit Hadassah area of Hebron's Old City was taken over by settlers who squatted in buildings in order to take them over. The Israeli government later expanded the Beit Hadassah settlement and built a yeshiva. There are now 560,000 illegal Israeli settlers living the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Around 500 of these settlers live within Hebron's city center and an additional 7,000 are in Qiryat Arba.

I was born into Occupation in the old city of Hebron in 1980, thirteen years after the Occupation began. When I was a child, my father used to hold my hand tightly as we walked through Shuhada Street because it was so crowded. In 1994 Brooklyn-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the Ibrahimi mosque killing 29 Palestinians in worship and injuring some 120 more. In response to the massacre, the Israeli army boarded up and sealed shut Palestinian storefronts and homes on Shuhada Street. While settlers now roam freely on Shuhada Street, carrying machine guns, pistols, and other weapons, Palestinian families that live on the street have to use back doors, alleyways, and rooftops to enter their homes. The once vibrant marketplace where my father used to hold my hand now resembles a ghost town.

While politicians across the world are busy debating political solutions, things are escalating rapidly. Where once Israeli soldiers or police would arrest Palestinian youth attempting to carry out knife attacks they now perform extrajudicial executions, even after the youth has been disarmed and poses no threat. Injured Palestinian youth are left to bleed to death as they are denied any medical treatment. Settlements are being expanded and more areas are being declared closed military zones. In October, a speech by Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett called for Israelis to give up their lives to annex the West Bank. And as of January 2016 there were 26 permanently-staffed checkpoints in the West Bank, causing severe restriction of movement for Palestinians who face lengthy delays as everyone is checked by the military. Twelve of these permanently-staffed checkpoints are in Hebron, where there are also roads split in the middle-one side for Jews and the other for Muslims. Last winter, a large area of Hebron was placed under closed military zone order. Extended family, friends, home repair professionals, and even medical professionals and ambulances were forbidden from entering.

In August 2016, the Israeli Civil Administration announced plans to expand the settlements in the south Hebron Hills, including in the contested village of Susiya. Also in the same month, the Israeli government approved the first new settlement housing units in the old city of Hebron in more than a decade. The 28 housing units for some 100 settlers will cause around a 10 percent increase in the settler population in the old city of Hebron and will come from Palestinian properties that were seized years ago by the Israeli government. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.