Five activists and one journalist have been arrested on Wednesday at a women’s movement walk in the West Bank city of Hebron.Activists have stated on social media platform Twitter that during a non-violent action in Hebron, two Israelis, three internationals and one Palestinian journalist who works for Reuters, were arrested.
The action was taken on a walk through Hebron’s Shuhada Street, which the Israeli military bars from access to the Palestinian population. The majority were female activists dressed in traditional Palestinian dress, the thoub.
Reports said that Israeli settlers confronted the action and stated that one settler attempted to assault participants, and that the Israeli military prevented journalists from documenting the event.
Shuhada Street was once the main thoroughfare in Hebron and a major part of the city’s economy. It has been closed to Palestinians, other than those living on the street. The closure followed the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, during which, settler Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians during morning prayers, and injured 125 others using an automatic assault rifle.
Settler groups have taken over Palestinian homes and businesses in Hebron, often by force, following Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967; there are presently approximately 500 settlers living in six enclaves.
The Israeli military has a large presence in the city with as many as six military personnel stationed in Hebron per settler; a condition, which has come under repeated criticism by human rights organizations since it allows the settlers to act with impunity.
In addition to the take over of Palestinian homes and businesses, Hebron is the site of frequent violence directed at Palestinians, which includes attacks on children walking to school and damage to Palestinian properties.