Video: Soldiers attack Palestinians protesting Israel president’s visit to Hebron

This video shows Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank city of Hebron attacking a peaceful demonstration against a visit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on 2 February.

It shows Palestinian adults and children carrying signs saying “Rivlin is not welcome” and “Open Shuhada Street” and shouting slogans like “No occupation.”

Israeli occupation forces fire sound grenades and tear gas directly at the protestors, sending them fleeing. Toward the end, there are scenes of several people carrying an apparently injured person to safety.

Media reports say one person was injured.

Palestinians hold banners and flags during a demonstration against the visit of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 2 February. 

Mamoun Wazwaz APA images

Shuhada Street was once the old city’s thriving main thoroughfare, but has been closed to Hebron’s more than 200,000 Palestinians for years to allow a few hundred settlers free reign.

Rivlin was in Hebron to visit Jewish-only settlements in the city, including Kiryat Arba, once the home of Baruch Goldstein, the American settler who massacred 29 Palestinian men and boys in 1994.

Exploiting tragedy

Rivlin inaugurated the so-called “Hebron Heritage Museum,” a settler project aimed at justifying Israel’s colonial presence in the city, financed by the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund.

The museum ostensibly commemorates the killing of several dozen Jewish residents in 1929, as the Zionist movement’s determined colonization of Palestine sparked growing intercommunal clashes throughout the country.

Jewish settlers, many from the United States, use the 1929 tragedy as a justification for their occupation and violent takeover of the city today.

But many descendants of the Jewish minority that had lived in Hebron and lost relatives in the 1929 violence have rejected the settlers’ efforts to exploit the tragedy.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1997, the Hebron descendants “accuse the settlers of exploiting the massacre’s memory while fostering anti-Arab violence.”

Histories of the massacre never emphasized by the settlers record that many Jews, who had lived in Hebron peacefully for generations, were saved by their Muslim neighbors.

In 2013, several Palestinians victimized by settlers sued the Hebron Fund and four other US-based organizations for allegedly providing “material support” to a “foreign terrorist organization.”

Violent stronghold

Kiryat Arba, also visited by Rivlin, is notorious as a stronghold of some of the most racist and violent of hundreds of thousands of armed Israeli settlers occupying hundreds of locations in the West Bank in violation of international law.

A few months ago, video caught Kiryat Arba settlers cheering as Israeli occupation forces abused a developmentally disabled Palestinian child.

Palestinians are habitually killed by Israeli occupation forces in the city with impunity.

Maverick

Rivlin, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, is often spoken of as a maverick. He opposes a two-state solution, promotes “dialogue” and ostensibly urges more inclusion of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

But as this video shows, when Rivlin comes to town, the only way Israel addresses Palestinians appealing peacefully for their rights is with routine brute force.

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I am a jew who opposes a two state solution, and feel that the right thing to do, is to return stolen land to the Palestinians. To me, it is very cut and dry. Meaning, the Nakba and every other war, was manufactured, with my country's help, as a way to take and gain more land. Please do not give up your fight, for YOUR LAND! I am going to try and attend the rally next weekend in N.Y.C., that calls for the return of your stolen land. Peace and you have me support,
Jane Zacher Turtle Island (U.S.A.)

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.