Petition: Stop Illegal Settlement Expansion in Hebron #SaveShuhadaStreet

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An Israeli checkpoint in Hebron. ISM volunteers escort children through crossings like this, helping them get to and from school. Photo: ISM

Stop illegal settlement expansion in Hebron

On December 1st, 2019, Israeli Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett, announced plans to raze Hebron’s historic wholesale market to the ground and build a new illegal settlement in its place.

If the plans are allowed to go ahead, it will result in a catastrophic deterioration of the situation in Hebron for Palestinians.

Hebron’s residents already live with debilitating restrictions on their freedom of movement. This is the direct result of the 800 illegal settlers who live right at the heart of the city. Despite their small number they have decimated Palestinian life in the Old City – once the economic hub of the entire southern region of the West Bank. In the past 25 years, 1,800 Palestinian shops along central Shuhada Street have been closed for “security reasons.” Most of the street is now a ghost town, open only to settlers and internationals. Thousands of Israeli soldiers are stationed in Hebron under the guise of “protecting” the settlers.

Under Bennett’s plans, the number of settlers is expected to double.

This would result in the largest settlement expansion Hebron has seen for decades. If the Wholesale market is razed, what stands in the way of the bulldozers demolishing the rest of Shuhada Street, denying thousands of Palestinian tradesmen the right to reopen their shops?

Everyone who stands for human rights must not let this happen. As Israel’s illegal settlements are given legitimacy by Trump’s far-right administration, we must raise our voices even louder to challenge the apartheid policies of Israel.

We must puncture the deafening silence left by governments around the world, including our own that refuse to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people.

Please sign this petition to stand against catastrophic settlement expansion in Hebron. Demand Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the British government to intervene in the Israeli government’s gross violation of international law. 

#PalestiniansRightsAreHumanRights #SaveShuhadaStreet #StopSettlementExpansion #EverySettlementIsAWarCrime

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History of the Wholesale market 

  • The Wholesale market in Hebron was once the centre of a bustling market that served hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
  • The large complex was home to around 40 vegetable shops.
  • In 1994 it was forced to shut down following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre carried out by far-right American/Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein in which 29 Palestinians died and over 125 were injured.
  • In response to protests about the massacre, the Israeli government shut down the vegetable market as well as hundreds of other shops along Shuhada Street, under the pretext of security reasons. The shops have remained closed ever since.
  • The Shuhada Street shops have been left to gather dust and though settlers have attempted to occupy individual shops, a large scale takeover has not happened till now.

Threat to Wholesale market 

  • On December 1st, the Palestinian Authority-run Hebron Municipality, which owns the wholesale market, was given an eviction notice from the Israeli defence minister. They have till December 31 to respond.
  • The Israeli government plans to demolish the historic area and construct 70 apartments exclusively for Jewish settlers in their places – doubling the settler population in Hebron by some estimates.
  • On December 9th, Palestinians staged a general strike against the Israeli government’s expansion plans. The Hebron Municipality is challenging the order but holds little hope that they will succeed.
  • This is why pressure from the international community is paramount to stopping the expansion.

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