Shuhada Street was once lined with small shops whose owners typically lived upstairs. It used to be one of the busiest marketplaces in the old city of Hebron. But in 1994, after a Jewish settler from Brooklyn named Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 people and injured 125 praying at the Ibrahimi mosque, the Israeli Military began cracking down on the neighborhood.
Today, Shuhada Street is a ghost town. The Army welded shut all the street-facing doors and restricted access to the street for Palestinians. Palestinians who still live on the street are forced to enter their homes through back doors, staircases, and windows.
Meanwhile, Israeli Jewish settlers walk freely through Hebron, using Jewish-only streets. The settlers have seized homes in the heart of the Old City, often living on top of Palestinian apartments whose original occupants have been forcibly kicked out. Violent repression from the Israeli army and settlers have occurred almost daily.
One set of rules for Jews. Another set of rules for Palestinians. That’s the reality of Shuhada Street today.
Here’s the thing about the roughly 850 settlers who live in Hebron, protected by the Israeli Defense Forces: they’re getting a massive handout from U.S. taxpayers. Political extremists here in the U.S. are funneling money to settlers in Palestine – and they are pretending to be charities while they do it.
Supporting massacres. Paying the salary of a mass murderer. Giving money to drive Palestinians from their land. And doing it all while paying no tax in the United States.
This week is the international week of action for Shuhada Street, and there are protests and rallies taking place across the world. Our allies at Youth Against Settlements have been protesting in Hebron all week, and on February 26th they’ll be staging a demonstration at Shuhada Street itself.
On the same day in the U.S., young JVP activists will be staging a powerful action to show that we will not stand for U.S. support of the settler takeover of Hebron and other Palestinian lands. Look out for updates on our social media on February 26th!
If you have a personal story about witnessing the apartheid system in Hebron or why you support Open Shuhada St., please share below and we will add it to this page.
Kathy V. : When on a tour of Palestine with ICAD, which stands for Israeli Campaign Against House Demolition, I saw many terrible things and assaults on Palestinians, including young boys who were arrested for just walking down the street and pulled into a police van and driven away. Young girls on their way to school were assaulted with stones by settlers. There were attacks on mosques by Israelis, Palestinians were thrown out of their houses by police and soldiers, their furniture and belongings thrown onto the street, bulldozers destroyed Palestinian houses .It is a terrible situation there and I am ashamed that both my birth nation, USA, and my home country, Britain, do nothing to help these people. I hope so much that this will change and Israel will be made to live up to their international responsibilities and laws.
Tali R.: A few months ago, I was walking down the street in Hebron with a Palestinian friend of mine. As we walked past a family of settlers, dressed in their fine Shabbat outfits, one of the kids who was no older than 10 was holding a stick and asked, “Dad, should I throw this at the Arab?”
Shirley M: I visited Hebron in 2009 with the Interfaith Peace Builders organization. We traveled through-out Israel/Palestine but the visit to Hebron was the most upsetting of all. It remains vivid in my memory.
Rev. Dr. Craig W.: I was with a group that visited Hebron two years ago. On this very street we witnessed how Palestinians businesses had been shuttered. Palestinians are not allowed on the street and those who live there must crawl out their windows over fences and back yards to go to school, get food or find work. Two Palestinian men nearby were detained by a plain clothes armed agent with an army patrol responding. The Palestinians were taken into a building out of our sight, but I witnessed that their wallets and personal possessions were taken. Handcuffed, they were marched up the street away from us.
Pamela C.: It’s eerie…it’s empty…it’s emotional…to see the street that used to be so full of life, full of nothing but pain and fear and anger.
We have to do everything we can to stop this now!
Angelica H.: I visited Shuhada St. in 2008. A few shops were still open then. We were welcomed with mint tea and hospitality. The remaining shopkeepers begged us to return home and tell their story and implore our government to help them. The situation has only deteriorated since then, and our country is responsible.
Susan: Spring 2012: we were chased, herded like animals through a single-entry check-point by IDF forces during a peaceful Palestinian/international conference – absolutely terrifying. Several arrests and injuries – and that was on a “good day” in Hebron. When will the “free and civilized world” (cf. Rami Elhanen of Bereaved Families for Peace) sit up, take notice, and do something to support justice in this broken land?!
Mohamed D.: My mind is full of memories of the Shuhada Street in Hebron when I was a little kid, a boy and a youth. I used that street on a daily basis. As a man living in Hebron, now I am deprived of a convenient access to the town cemetery where my parents and other relatives are buried. As Israelis want Arabs to be dead, the least they can do is to grant the dead a short cut to the town cemetery.
J. L. Keith: I have walked down the middle of shuttered Shuhada street in November, 2011, with an Interfaith Peace Builders delegation. At that time, there was a narrow side lane on the street for the Palestinians who were not permitted to walk in the main part of the street. And that is only one of the horrors of the apartheid of Hebron: the Palestinian market street had to be covered with horizontal, chain-link fencing so that the market and the people are not clobbered by the garbage – from old toilets to dirty diapers – that the occupiers throw into the market from their new multi-story buildings.
Ollie K.: When we came to Hebron, in March 2015, The Shuhada Street was as you describe it. We, a group of foreign jews could walk there. Our guide, a Palestinian from Hebron had to take another way. Inside the old town, the market street was sheltered with cloth and net to give shelter from things the settlers throw at the people on the market street. Everyday terror. Shocking. And those racist posters in a big Palestinian town: 250,000 people, including 800 settlers
Dani K.: I visited Shuhada St with a former soldier who’s with Breaking The Silence who brought some of my friends and me to Hebron so we could see how segregation is enforced there. It’s unacceptable that for the last 20 years Palestinian residents continue to be forced through a gauntlet of armed soldiers and settlers who harass them as they walk to school, home or work.