samedi 29 novembre 2014

Dozens protest closure of Hebron main street to Palestinians

Des dizaines de manifestants contre l'interdiction d'accès à la rue principale de Hébron aux Palestiniens

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians attended a sit-in on Saturday in protest against the Israeli closure of a major Hebron street to Palestinian traffic for the last nine days.

Issa Amro, coordinator of a local activist group against Israeli settlements, said that Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades and tear-gas bombs at protesters on Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron's Old City.

Dozens suffered from tear-gas inhalation as a result.

Amro said that Israeli authorities have been helping Jewish settlers empty Shuhada Street of its Palestinian residents for the last two decades, and that the closure directly affected the approximately 250 families still living on the street.

Israeli forces have severely restricted Palestinian access to Shuhada Street since 1994, turning the heart of Hebron's bustling Old City into a heavily militarized ghost town as part of what they say is an effort to provide security to around 500 Jewish settlers who have taken over homes and evicted residents in the area.

Despite the closure of the street itself, however, Palestinians have to cross the area to move around central Hebron, and the checkpoint closure for the last nine days has caused severe disruptions.

Although Shuhada Street is normally closed to most Palestinians, Jewish settlers are allowed to walk through the area.

The street is divided by concrete blocks to separate them from the few Palestinians who are allowed to walk on the road after proving at the checkpoint that the only access to their homes is from the street.

Many residents are forced to enter their homes through windows from adjacent streets, however, as the road is frequently closed even to them during Jewish holidays or because of protests.

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