Palestinians gather in Hebron to protest street closure, stone Trump

Protestors threw stones and shoes at a poster of Donald Trump and condemned the closure of Shuhada Street, 24 February 2017, (c) AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi

Palestinian and foreign activists gathered on the 23rd anniversary of the 1994 mosque massacre in Hebron, southern West Bank on Friday and protested US President Donald Trump’s perceived anti-Palestinian policies.

Dozens of protestors gathered on Shuhada (martyrs) street at the site of the incident where an Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, opened-fire inside Al Ibrahimi Mosque and killed 29 worshippers 23 years ago.

Demonstrators gathered in the city to protest what they said was the unequal treatment they had received from the new US President. Chanting slogans, protestors threw stones and shoes at images of the president, an act that is considered a supreme insult in Arab culture, reported Reuters.

“Today, we are here to send a message to the Trump administration, that we exist. We deserve full rights as everybody in the world,” said Issa Amr, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, which organised the event.

“We disrespect this president who does not see us as equal human beings with everyone.”

“Today, he will get [these] shoes which [were] made in Hebron. It is a Palestinian product, this is a Palestinian product, he will get it in his face, him and anybody supporting him,” he continued.

Another protestor, Munther Amireh, also spoke to Reuters and called for the street to be reopened.

“Years after the massacre of al-Ibrahimi mosque and the continuous closures on the city of Hebron, we came here to raise our voice to call for the opening of Shuhada street, Tal al-Rumieda, and to be with the residents of this area who refused to leave,” he said.

Clashes in Hebron and Shuhada street have been common between the 200,000 Palestinian majority and about 700 settlers who live under army (IDF) protection. Palestinians are not allowed to use the street since the incident, leading to a decrease in the Palestinian population in the H2 area controlled by the Israeli military.

120,000 people live in the H1 Palestinian controlled area and some 30,000 Palestinians and 700 Israelis live in the H2 area. Palestinians are barred from approaching areas where settlers live without special permits from the IDF. The Jewish settlement is widely considered to be illegal by the international community, although the Israeli government disputes this.