Settlers 'attack' Palestinian families in central Hebron
Published Saturday 08/03/2014 (updated) 09/03/2014 10:30
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked Palestinian residents and international activists near Shuhada Street in the center of the flashpoint southern West Bank City of Hebron, a local activist said.
Activist Imad Atrash said that a group of Jewish settlers from the Ramat Yishai outpost in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of central Hebron attacked the Abu Shamsieh and Sidr families, as well as foreign activists from the International Solidarity Movement.
The attack comes days after settlers erected a banner nearby reading "Palestine never existed! (and never will)."
Atrash said that after the banner was erected, "residents asked solidarity activists to protect them from the daily settler attacks" they were facing.
Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli forces.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada Street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.
Since Israeli forces shut down the street in 1994, over 40 percent of the area's Palestinian homes had been abandoned and three-quarters of commercial establishments had shut down to the severe difficulties they faced as a result of the street closure and checkpoints, according to a 2007 report by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.