Palestinian protesters in al-Khalil curbed by Israeli Forces
Clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil also known as Hebron.
On Friday, Israeli soldiers used rubber bullets and fired tear gas to disperse the Palestinian demonstrators who were marking the 21st anniversary of the massacre of a number of Palestinian worshipers in al-Khalil and the resulting closure of the city’s main street, al-Shuhada.
The demonstrators denounced the closure of the street, and called for the re-opening of it.
They also condemned the Israeli occupation and Tel Aviv’s expansion of its illegal settlements in the West Bank, and chanted slogans such as “Free, Free Palestine.”
A number of protesters suffered teargas inhalation or were injured in the crackdown while several others were arrested.
The Shuhada Street of al-Khalil has been closed to Palestinians for more than 20 years now after Baruch Kopel Goldstein, an American immigrant doctor, gunned down 29 Palestinian prayers at the al-Ibrahimi Mosque on February 25, 1994.
Six years later, following the start of the Second Intifada against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, the Israeli army declared the street a closed military zone.
Palestinians say the closure of the central street is disruptive and helps Israel to further solidify its control over the area.
Shuhada Street, which once linked northern and southern parts of al-Khalil, used to be the central wholesale market of the region; however, its urban structure has changed dramatically when Israel closed the main street to Palestinians, turned the central bus station into an army base, and closed all Palestinian shops and markets.
A large number of Palestinians living in the street have been displaced and those residing in adjacent neighborhoods use their roofs in order to move between their houses.
Palestinians have been holding the annual "Open Shuhada Street" demonstration since 2010.
Al-Khalil has been the scene of numerous acts of aggression by Israeli forces and Zionist settlers against the Palestinian citizens.
Earlier this month, scuffles broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians protesting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to al-Khalil.
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