Hebron/Al-Khalil declared ‘closed military zone’ to prevent human rights organizations tour

Middle East Monitor  /  December 3, 2022

The Israeli occupation army on Friday declared the city of Hebron/Al-Khalil a “closed military zone” to prevent a tour organized by human rights organizations with the participation of hundreds of activists in the city. This came a week after the occupation soldiers in the city attacked Israeli activists who showed solidarity with the city’s residents against Jewish settler attacks.

Around 300 activists came to Hebron to participate in a tour organized by 30 human rights organizations in the wake of the recent attacks on Palestinians and Israeli activists in Hebron.

The occupation army claimed it sealed off the city to “prevent friction”. The military occupation has limited the movement of those participating in the tour to a bus stop near Al-Ibrahimi Mosque.

The tour was organized by the Israeli organizations Breaking the Silence, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Peace Now, B’Tselem and other organizations. The military order took effect at 7 am before the activists arrived for the tour.

According to the occupation army, the order to impose the closed military zone is issued when there is a security need or a necessity to maintain public order, and a specific area must be closed. However, the occupation army allowed the organization of the tour for human rights organizations, but in actuality, it refused it by issuing this military order. Several right-wing activists demonstrated against the human rights organizations at a call from the far-right Im Tirtzu movement.

The occupation soldiers assaulted Israeli left-wing activists in Hebron last Friday, and one of the soldiers was seen throwing an activist to the ground and punching him in the face, while another soldier said: “[Itamar] Ben-Gvir will arrange the situation here.” The commander of the battalion to which the latter belongs issued a decision to imprison him for ten days. However, the Israeli commander of the Southern Command, Eliezer Toledano, decided to reduce the prison sentence to six days.

Two weeks ago, 40,000 Jewish settlers participated in a tour in the same area in Hebron where the human rights organizations’ tour took place. Settlers attacked Palestinians as well as Israeli soldiers.