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"Open Shuhada Street" Stages Media Stunt in Hebron

While protesters threw shoes at Donald Trump, their real goal is the removal of all Jews from the city.

26.2.17, 21:46
(PHOTO: Protesters throw projectiles at Israeli soldiers and make gestures at the camera during the Open Shuhada Street protest.)
 
The annual Open Shuhada Street demonstrations ended last week with protesters throwing shoes as a giant poster of US President Donald Trump folloed by a riot.
 
Issa Amro, a long time agitator from Hebron and the head of "Youth Against Settlements" organized the Saturday Feb. 25th protest following his fundraising trip in Europe. 
 
 
"Today, he will get these shoes which was [sic] made in Hebron," he stated in front of the Trump banner, in the presence of Reuters news and the other media outlets which were out en masse to cover the event. 
 
"It is a Palestinian product. He will get it in his face, him and anybody supporting him," he shouted, as the group, many in checkered scarfs and face masks threw shoes at the Trump poster and chanted "Allah Akbar [Allah is Greater]."
 
For years Amro has organized the Open Shuhada Street protests, garnering numerous trials with the Israeli authorities over incitement to violence, and staged media events manufactured to depict Israel in a bad light. A master manipulator, Amro depicts himself in the international media as a "Palestinian Gandhi."
 
Following the event, Youth Against Settlements held an "Excellence in Nonviolence Resistance Award" ceremony. 
 
All events were held in sections of the city off limits to Jewish civilians. Hebron is the largest and most prosperous in the Palestinian Authority and accounts for 40% of its gross domestic product. The PA controls 80% of the city while Israel controls 20%. Jewish civilians and tourists are allowed to access 3% of the city, meaning even certain Israeli controlled areas are off limits to Jews, including holy sites such as the Tomb of Abner Ben Ner, and Kabbalists Corner in the former Jewish neighborhoods of pre-1929 Hebron.
 
The posters and banners for the event were telling, and reminiscent of George Orwell's novel 1984 in which "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." A giant banner read "Dismantle the ghetto, take the settlers out of Hebron."
 
Although the casual reader may think the Open Shuhada Street protests are merely about one street being accessible to Palestinian Authority residents, the organizers do not try to hide that they want all Jews removed from all of Hebron.
 
Logos and banners depict maps of Israel colored in with a Palestinian Authority flag, indicating they consider all of Israel to be Palestine not just Judea and Samaria, where Hebron is located. 
 
According to the banners, the event was staged in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, the Fatah [Fateh] Youth Movement, and other organizations, most of which show a map of Israel as Palestine on their logo. The Fatah logo depicts crossed rifles and a grenade.
 
(PHOTO: The banner at Saturday's protest shows the logos of the PA, Fatah, and other groups with the slogan "take the settlers out of Hebron.")
 
The Youth Against Settlements website states that once they take over Shuhada Street, they will move on to the rest of Israel: "By building a focused campaign around a single issue in a particular locality, we hope to define achievable goals that will set a legal and political precedent for change in other areas of the occupied Palestinian territories as well. Hebron has great significance for the Israeli settlement movement and any changes on the ground in Hebron will have broad ramifications throughout the territories."

The Open Shuhada Street protests are a good opportunity to debunk the myths.
 
Top Thirteen Myths About Shuhada Street/ King David Street
 
1. Shuhada Street / King David Street is not the center of downtown Hebron, it is the main thoroughfare of the Jewish neighborhoods located in what the PA called the Old City. The real center of Hebron is the area surrounding Ein Sarah Street, which still retains the name of the Matriarch of the Jewish people who lived and is buried in the city. An ancient archaeological site called Ein Sarah, or Sarah's Spring is located there and is off limits to Jews. 
 
The thriving downtown area contains the Chamber of Commerce, an authentic Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, and the bustling Ibn Rushd Square with the towering Arab Palestine Shopping Center. Nearby is the 8,000 seat Hussein Bin Ali Stadium, home of the championship winning Ahli Al-Khaleel football team.
 
(PHOTO: Ibn Rushd Square in the H1 PA controlled section of Hebron.)
 
2. Shuhada Street / King David Street was not shut down as a punitive measure but to prevent the violence that erupted after the Dr. Baruch Goldstein shooting incident of Feb. 1994. 
 
The shooting was almost universally condemned by the Jewish world including the Jewish Community of Hebron, Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the Israeli government and Jewish leaders around the globe. By contrast, the PA routinely praises terrorists who murder Jewish civilians as "martyrs" who "fought the occupation."
 
The Open Shuhada Street group carefully words their press releases to draw a false parallel between the Goldstein shooting and Israel in general. However, the street was shut down due to the massive rioting that occurred in the city and throughout the country resulting in numerous deaths and injuries to both Jews and Arabs. One such incident was the murder of 80-year-old Sam Eisenstadt on the same day in Kfar Saba who was struck with an axe, in a "revenge attack." 
 
Terrorists continued to use Goldstein as a pretext for atrocities such as the April 1994 bus bombing in Afula on Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day, that killed eight civilians and the Hadera bus station suicide bombing a week later that killed six people.     
 
Although considered completely unjustified by Israel, the Goldstein shooting did not occur in a vacuum but amid a pressure-cooker atmosphere in a terror ridden city. It took place during the rise of Hamas and the unprecedented terrorist attacks throughout the country such as bus bombings, shooting and stabbings in the wake of the Oslo Accords. This includes the drive-by shooting death of Hebron locals Shlomo Lapid and his 18-year-old-son on December 6, 1993. 
 
3. Shuhada Street / King David Street is not completely shut down to Arabs and is not shut down based on race or religion. Arab tourists from abroad can freely walk down the street. The part of the street that goes past Jewish neighborhoods is closed the vehicular and foot traffic from the Palestinian Authority for security reasons.
 
(PHOTO: A sign from a Durban beach in apartheid era South Africa,1989 stating the area is restricted based on skin color and race.  The situation was quite different from security restrictions for non-Israelis who pose a terrorist risk in Hebron. Credit: Wiki Commons.)
 
The fact that the Open Shuhada Street protesters snap photos for their propaganda is proof that they are able to stand in sections of Shuhada Street to take the photos in the first place. The metal turnstile checkpoint often shown as proof of "Israeli apartheid" is how PA residents can enter to a from the PA controlled side of the city. The very fact that the "apartheid" checkpoint exists proves that they have freedom of access, albeit, after a security check. By contrast the Israeli residents cannot cross the checkpoint into the PA side of the city at all.
 
 
4. Shuhada Street / King David Street was unsafe before the restrictions and was the site of numerous terrorist attacks. In 2003, a terrorist dressed like a typical Israeli yeshiva student crossed onto Shuhada Street / King David Street from an Arab neighborhood and detonated a bomb next to a husband and his pregnant wife, killing them. A memorial to the couple, Gadi and Dina Levy hangs on the wall where they were murdered. 
 
Other attacks that occurred on Shuhada Street / King David Street were the stabbing of Aharon Gross, whose killer was able to escape into the crowded street and the Beit Hadassah ambush that killed six people. Numerous incidents of harassment, stabbings and other attacks have taken place as well.
 
5. Shuhada Street / King David Street already was re-opened several times, only to be closed again due to repeated terrorist attacks. Attempts to re-open the street were unsuccessful and resulted in resumed terror. During the first of these attempted re-openings in 1997, the United States government spent $2.5 million to renovate the street as part of the Hebron Accords that divided the city.
 
 
6. The Jewish Community of Hebron did not ask for the closure, the Supreme Court did. After years of appeals to the Supreme Court for a re-opening, it was finally ruled in 2011 that PA traffic on Shuhada Street / King David Street would result in loss of life. Throughout the court discussions, all involved - including the PA petitioner - used the term King David Street rather than Shuhada Street. Historically the Supreme Court has ruled against to the Jewish Community of Hebron in numerous case, meaning the closure was not a friendly gesture toward the residents, but a life-or-death necessity.
 
7. PA traffic on Shuhada Street / King David Street is not mandatory for PA life in the neighborhood, merely a necessary inconvenience, according to the Supreme Court ruling. There are quite a few PA occupied residential properties on Shuhada Street / King David Street, the back windows of which face the street, with the main entrances in the Casbah.
 
Currently a bustling open air market located parallel to Shuhada Street / King David Street, Jewish residents are permitted to walk through the Casbah only on special occasions. The Casbah was formerly part of the Jewish neighborhoods of Hebron prior to the 1929 massacre in which Jihadists murdered 67 Jewish civilians.
 
8. There are no actual signs naming the street Shuhada Street. All signs, Google maps, and GPS locations are marked King David Street. Even the Supreme Court case demanding its opening to PA traffic referred to it by its proper Hebrew name, Rehov David Hamelech, named for the Jewish king who made it the first capital city and ruled from Hebron for seven and a half years.
 
The word "shuhada" in Arabic comes from the word shahid, which according to Wikipedia, "originates from the Quranic Arabic word meaning "witness" and is also used to denote a martyr. It is used as a honorific for Muslims who have died fulfilling a religious commandment, especially those who die waging jihad, or historically in the military expansion of Islam."
 
 
9. The movement to open Shuhada Street / King David Street to PA traffic is the first phase in the goal to remove all Jews from Hebron as evidence from banners and literature. Jewish buildings such as Beit Hadassah and the Avraham Avinu synagogue which dates back hundreds of years to the returning exiles from the Spanish Inquisition are referred to as "illegal settlements." The next phase for the Youth Against Settlements movement is to replace Israel with a State of Palestine, as evidence by their signs and logos depicting a map of Israel as Palestine.
 
 
10. While Open Shuhada Street protesters argue that they face restrictions on one street, Jewish residents and visitors are restricted from accessing the largest hall in the Tomb of Machpela, the Isaac and Rebecca Hall, except on special occasions. The holy site, which houses the underground caves where the Biblical Matriarchs and Patriarchs are buried, was completely off limits to non-Muslims for 700 years starting with the Mameluke invasion. Many PA leaders have openly expressed their desire to ban all non-Muslims from the site if they were able to do so.
 
11. The Open Shuhada Street movement ignores the fact that most places in Hebron are closed to Jews including Jewish holy sites. There are four holy sites in Palestinian Authority controlled Hebron which are inaccessible to Jews, despite a promise of open access in the Hebron Accords. They are: the Elonei Mamre Archaeological Site and Herod's Walls, the Oak of Mamre, the Tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz and Ein Sarah / Sarah's Spring.
 
12. The Israeli Defense Forces not only protects the Jewish residents, but the Arab residents as well who do not want any part of the Jihadist conflict but just want to live their lives. The internecine feuds between various local clans and terrorist groups have taken more lives than any other factor. Many Arab residents are all too happy to have the law and order of the IDF as opposed to the totalitarian fundamentalism of a Hamas government or the corruption and nepotism of the Palestinian Authority, yet many are afraid to voice their opinion in public. 
 
 
13. The closure of certain areas helps prevent the spread of terrorism to the rest of Israel. Over 700,000 tourists visit Hebron every year with the main attraction being the Tomb of Machpela, located at the beginning of King David Street. Today they can visit in relative peace because of the IDF presence. The interest in Hebron grows every year with elected officials from Israel and abroad, religious leaders, actors and musicians, tour groups and people interested in the genealogy of the Jewish story. It will continue to grow despite the slander of the well-funded and media savvy trouble makers that seek to tear down rather then celebrate.
 
NOTES:
 

To visit Hebron contact us:

United States contact info:

http://www.hebronfund.org
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org

Israeli contact info:
http://en.hebron.org.il/
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial
 
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