Hebron stores reopen after 21 year closure


The city of Hebron celebrated on Monday the reopening of dozens of stores in Hebron old city after Israel closed them under a military order 21 years ago.

Hebron municipality held a press conference in Sahla Street to announce their achievement in gaining an Israeli permit to reopen dozens of trade stores in a street closed after the Ibrahim Mosque massacre in 1994.

Head of Hebron municipality Dawed a-Za’ateri said: “We are present now in Sahla trading street which was closed down by Israeli authorities 21 years ago. We submitted a number of requests to reduce the suffering of our people, and our communication with a number of international parties placed pressure on the Israeli government. So, today we restore life to Sahla Street in the Old City after our success in forcing a decision from the occupation to reopen these stores”.

A-Za’ateri emphasized the importance of solidarity between citizens and friends of the trading shops in Sahla area, as well as the importance of their presence in this area, and the restoration of normal life to the street. He said: “We have succeeded in reopening these stores after a very protracted closure. This is the first step towards opening more closed areas, including Martyr Street, which was also closed down by the occupation more than 20 years ago”.

A-Za’ateri noted the necessity of exploiting the month of Ramadan in order to increase support for the Old City residents’ resistance and to encourage trade activity to restore normal life as it was before the closures, which were imposed by the Israeli authorities. He said: “The Old City of Hebron is ready to provide many forms of logistical support to the area’s residents”.

He thanked the Palestinian leadership for their persistent efforts and continued cooperation with the Hebron municipality in the realization of a good standard of living for Palestinian citizens, and for their help with facilities. He also thanked the international parties that contributed to the pressure in the Israeli government with the aim of reopening these trading stores in Sahla neighbourhood.

For their part, the residents of Hebron municipality demanded from PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership that the Shari’a court in Sahla neighbourhood remain there, after plans were made during the last few days to move it to Bab a-Zawiya neighbourhood in Hebron city. They told the official agency that the presence of the court in Sahla area had contributed to strengthening their resistance and their protection of the area from the occupation authorities.

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