Hebron /PNN/February 22, 2017
Youth Against Settlements, Veterans for Peace, and CODEPINK set up vegetable stand on Shuhada Street in Hebron in front of the closed Palestinian shops and markets that have been welded shut by Israeli military since 2001. This was the first time that vegetables were sold on Shuhada Street since 2001.
The vegetable sellers yelled “vegetables, vegetables one shekel a kilo. Cauliflower, all the way from Jenin. Come get the best cauliflower in Palestine.”
They were standing on the street selling vegetables for about 10 minutes before the Israeli army special forces came in military jeeps, armoured vehicles, and by foot and declared that it was a closed military zone. They presented the vegetables sellers with a document that was undated, unsigned and thus order invalid.
When this was pointed out to the soldiers, one of the the officers walked to the side to add a date and the commander’s signature without the commander being present.
Then it was discovered that the map on the order was of a different location as well, confirming that the entire document was false and invalid.
Although the document was found to be invalid, the Israeli military informed the vegetable sellers that if they did not disperse within 1-3 minutes, they would be arrested.
The vegetable sellers gave gave the vegetables to families living on the closed street
“Veterans For Peace were proud to stand with Youth Against Settlements and Codepink today to open Shuhada Street. For decades now the closure of Shuhada Street has been one of the many, many examples of the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.
Today Veterans For Peace were threatened with arrest by armed Israeli soldiers, including special forces, for giving away fruits and vegetables on Shuhada Street.
The fact that the Israeli government were threatened by fruit and vegetables being sold highlights the gross and obscene injustice that defines that defines Israel’s occupation of Palestine,” said former US Marine Captain Matthew Hoh who served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and the US State Department’s team in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Palestinians were prevented from basic human rights and were prevented from even being able to organize a simple nonviolent action, asking to reopen the closed markets and shops in Hebron’s old business district. That describes the reality of the Palestinians life under occupation. Families on Shuhada Street are not able to buy their food without passing through checkpoints and facing harassment from soldiers and settlers.
I hope soon that families living on Shuhada Street are again able to live with the freedom and dignity that has been denied to them for for too long.” said Youth Against Settlements founder Issa Amro
In 1994, Jewish-American settler Baruch Goldstein entered the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron and murdered 29 Palestinians in worship. Since then, Shuhada Street has remained almost entirely closed to Palestinians. Israeli settlers move freely on the street, drive cars, and carry machine guns while Palestinians face 20 checkpoints, may not drive on Shuhada Street, and have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut.
Each year, Youth Against Settlements hosts an annual campaign to open the street and end the closures and restrictions in Hebron and throughout Palestine.