Dismantle the Hebron/Al-Khalil ghetto

Hebron-Al-Khalil (Wisam Hashlamoun - APA Images)

Badia Dwaik

Mondoweiss  /  February 18, 2022

Palestinians in Hebron/Al-Khalil call on the international community to join in the Dismantle the Ghetto campaign and take action to evacuate Jewish settlers from the city.

We, as members of civil society in Hebron, call on our international partners to take action and join in the campaign Dismantle the Ghetto, evacuate the settlers out of Hebron.

This campaign coincides with the anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre of 1994. It commemorates the hundreds of lives lost and the thousands of lives permanently impacted by Israel’s illegal military occupation. Hebron is a symbol of the issue of settlements, the policies of separation, and the problems of freedom of movement across the entire West Bank.

The Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) continue their strategy of pressuring Palestinians to leave their homes in Hebron city center and replacing them with settlers.

The IOF enacts this pressure through the closure of markets and streets, blocking roads, maintaining military checkpoints, and subjecting Palestinian civilians to martial law. The application of martial law is often expressed in the form of random searches and detention without charge.

The IOF closed Shuhada Street in Hebron to Palestinian vehicles in 1994 following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, when American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian worshippers. A member of the terrorist organization Kach, Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and wounded another 125. Despite the fact that this act of violence was committed by a Jewish ultranationalist terrorist organization and directed against the historical Palestinian community of Hebron, it was Palestinians who paid the price.

This precedent of punishing Palestinians for the acts of settlers would continue. A policy of indiscriminate restrictions on Palestinians followed, as the Israeli military imposed curfews during the 2000s and closed more streets from Palestinian access.

It is important to recognize that the conditions in Hebron serve as a case study for what is occurring throughout the West Bank; the violent and discriminatory policies of the Israeli military that only exist to uphold the larger settler-colonial interests of the State of Israel.

The strategy of collective punishment has continued until today. In November 2015, the IOF declared the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron a closed military zone, allowing only Palestinians living there to enter the area. The Israeli military denied all other Palestinians and international human rights organizations access to this part of the city.

Today, the Israeli military has closed more than 500 Palestinian stores by use of military orders in the center of Hebron. The Israeli military’s policies have forced out thousands more by evicting people from their homes, setting up checkpoints, allowing for constant harassment by settlers and soldiers, and promoting structural and physical violence–all while settlers living next door in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba enjoy the freedom of movement.

After years of escalation by the IOF and settlers, Palestinians will not be able to live normal lives in Hebron as long as illegal settlement processes continue. It is important to recognize that the conditions in Hebron serve as a case study for what is occurring throughout the West Bank; the violent and discriminatory policies of the Israeli military that only exist to uphold the larger settler-colonial interests of the State of Israel and its government.  

We are a Palestinian-led initiative aiming to mobilize international solidarity groups with Palestinians from Hebron in their struggle to live in peace in their own city.

We call all our friends across the world to be part of this campaign.

If you are willing to join in your city or on your university campus, please get in touch with us and follow us on our Facebook page.

Protests and actions of the campaign demand the:

  • removal of the illegal Jewish settlements from Hebron.
  • removal of restrictions on movement throughout the Old City of Hebron

Here are some ways that you can get involved:

  1. Demonstrations, marches, vigils, and flash mobs.
    2. Organize a film screening about Hebron.
    3. Arrange a lecture, workshop, or presentation.
    4. Organize a BDS action.
    5. Photo exhibitions about Hebron
    6. Video messages to community forums, media outlets, and social media urging the international community to use diplomatic pressure to Dismantle the Ghetto, and to evacuate the settlers out of Hebron.
    7. Letter writing and petitions to your country’s elected officials and Ambassador to Israel, asking them to intervene.
    8. Close roads to show the public the effects of closing the main road in Hebron.
    9. Visit Hebron to gain an understanding of the situation and the daily suffering of the people living there.
    10. Any other non-violent activity you feel supports the cause: be as creative as possible!