Hebron - Impressions from a Human Rights organizations protest

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Smadar, Ariela, Muhammad; Translator: Natanya

The purpose of the trip this Friday was to join a tour organized by Breaking the Silence in partnership with other human-rights organizations such as Peace Now, Mehazkim (Strengthening), Standing Together, Combatants for Peace and more. The tour was in response to the violence used against human rights organizations operating in Hebron.

Buses left from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with about 300 men and women. We arrived around 10 to join them.

We got out of the car near the Cave of the Patriarchs (near the large parking lot). All around, a lot of soldiers and police officers. Everywhere there is a checkpoint, and next to it are soldiers, policemen and military jeeps.

As expected, we were questioned as to where we were going, we replied to the Cave of the Patriarchs. We took a walk by Abed's shop. Everything is closed all the way up to the other side of the parking lot. Policemen, soldiers and female soldiers are everywhere. Many Jewish families, probably settlers, came to pray in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

In the meantime, we explained the events to 2 young women from Norway.

Twice we heard the muezzin for quite a long time. We were in touch with Natanya, who was on the bus from Jerusalem. When the buses arrived at the parking lot below, the participants were not allowed to leave the parking area. It turns out that the army declared the entire area a closed military area.

Issa Amro, a brave activist from Hebron, who was just released from detention a few days ago (arrested for filming the event between Givati soldiers and Bnei Avraham activists), arrived there and spoke with the participants of the tour. He was arrested again, but released the same day.

About 30 people from Im Tirtzu and Otzma Yehudit, stood in front of the parking lot and shouted, non-stop.

We realized that we would not be able to join the participants, since they were trapped in the parking lot.

At the checkpoint in front of Kapisha's grocery store we were stopped by Golani soldiers (who replaced Givati). We explained that we would be back in a few minutes, but they asked for the phone number of one of us, in order to verify that we had indeed returned. The checkpoint near the grocery store is closed and there are 2 soldiers next to it.

A very loaded shift. Not very pleasant, with the amounts of the army and the settlers, who behave very freely in the whole area.