Hebron protests: Israeli authorities should end 'discriminatory' restrictions on movement
Parts of Hebron have been declared a 'closed military zone' by the Israeli military © Jacob Burns/Amnesty International
‘The Israeli authorities must immediately end all measures that collectively punish Palestinians in Hebron’ - Philip Luther
With Palestinian residents and activists in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron holding demonstrations marking 22 years since the Israeli authorities first closed al-Shuhada Street, formerly the city’s commercial centre today, Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said:
“The Israeli authorities must immediately end all measures that collectively punish Palestinians in Hebron, lifting the arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions imposed since October as a first step.
“For more than two decades, the Israeli authorities have imposed severe and deeply discriminatory restrictions on Palestinian residents of Hebron’s Old City. New restrictions have compounded these violations and intensified the collective punishment of tens of thousands of Palestinians, in violation of international law.
“Deliberate attacks on civilians are never justified. But arbitrary restrictions on movement, unnecessary use of lethal force, and the arrest, detention and harassment of human rights defenders are not legitimate security measures.
“By forbidding residents of Hebron from entering certain parts of the city purely because they are Palestinian, while Israeli settlers move freely and illegal settlements continue to expand, the Israeli authorities are flouting international law and perpetuating a cycle of human rights abuses.”
Palestinian residents and activists are protesting against illegal Israeli settlements and demanding the removal of the restrictions on their movement, which are applied only to Palestinians and not to Israeli settlers.
Following a surge in violence in Hebron and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank last October, the Israeli military intensified long-standing restrictions, declaring parts of Hebron’s Old City a “closed military zone” and barring access to Palestinians living elsewhere in the city, as well as human rights activists. There has also been an escalation in attacks on human rights activists - Palestinian, Israeli and international - by Israeli forces and settlers in and around the Old City.
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