A group of Palestinian and international activists were forced to break their fast at an Israeli checkpoint in occupied Hebron after Israeli forces refused to allow them through to eat in a house in Shuhada Street.
A coalition of local activists were invited to the iftar by their colleague Mufid Sharabati, who lives on Shudada Street, as part of the “Dismantle the Ghetto” campaign that calls for ending the Israeli military’s closure of the street and other restrictions on movement for Palestinians in Hebron.
After arriving to the checkpoint, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to Shuhada Street prevented the activists from crossing as their names were not registered on the list of residents there, “so the activists decided to take iftar in the street in front of the military checkpoint,” Majid Abu Sbeih of the National Campaign to Lift the Closure of Hebron told Ma’an.
Abu Sbeih said the action was organised “to defy claims by Israeli authorities that special procedures have been taken to facilitate citizens’ movement during Ramadan.”
“While Israeli authorities talk about taking these measures during Ramadan in the occupied territory, more restrictions are actually being imposed on certain neighbourhoods in Hebron city, such as Salayma, Al-Hariqa and others,” Hisham Sharabati from Dismantle the Ghetto said.
The restriction of movement, he added, “deprives residents of taking part in Ramadan’s rituals, such as gathering with relatives and eating iftar [the break fast meal] together.”
Guests, friends, and relatives who receive invitations to iftar are either denied access to homes completely or are forced to take long bypass roads on foot due to the Israeli checkpoints
Coordinator of Human Rights Defenders in Palestine, Badi Dweik, said that the action was “a message to the international community, to expose the situation in which families on Shuhada Street are living. We want the international community to learn more about these invisible things, these daily humiliations that Palestinians are facing here.”
The most simple, basic rights – such as the right to freedom of movement – that should apply to humans everywhere, do not apply to families here. People here are living in cages, given a number, and isolated from their communities.
Dweik also said that the special permits that Israel granted to 700 Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank to visit their families in Israel for the holiday was a “ridiculously low number itself”, and was “even more of a joke since the Palestinians living in Al-Khalil (Hebron) are denied freedom of movement.”