11/06/17 | International Solidarity Movement | al-Khalil Team
Yesterday, in al Khalil (Hebron), the Palestinian group Youth Against Settlements held an event to mark the 100thÂ year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration is viewed as a foundational document of the Israeli state’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Despite promises to the Palestinian population, the British government, in an act of betrayal, made a declaration that was viewed by the Zionist as a promise of Palestine becoming a homeland for the Jewish people.
A large group of Palestinians and internationals gathered at the â€śBeeping Gateâ€ť, which is one of the closures in al Khalil. The â€śBeeping Gateâ€ť is at the bottom of â€śapartheid roadâ€ť where a fence divides a Palestinian pathway from the road that Israelis walk on. An extension to the apartheid fence finishes at a new gate which fences in part of the Salaymeh neighbourhood. The gate is locked at night, forcing Palestinians to walk a longer route, on foot, to their houses. When the people of the neighbourhood use the gate it sets off an ear-piercing beep adding a tormenting, repetitiveÂ noise to the harsh realities of discrimination and occupation the neighbourhood suffers.
â€śThe event was colourful and different,â€ś an ISMâ€™er who attended the event says. â€śKids and clowns gathered to mark the Palestinian rejection of the colonial Balfour Declaration which supports the Zionist project.â€ś
Even though the event was light-hearted, a group of border police officers, civil police and soldiers from the Israeli army showed up, and watched the Palestinians and internationals. The children chanted, speeches were made, and clowns interacted with the children with balloons, dances and face painting.
An aggressive Zionist settler from a nearby settlement, who had previously intimidated ISM activists during the day, showed up at the event. His attempted intimidation failed to disrupt the colourful and joyful celebration of the Palestinian resistance of the occupation. After a while, he was led away from the celebration by Israeli border police. He continued to film from outside, attempting to provoke the Palestinians behind the fence.
â€śI think the colourful event expressed the Palestinianâ€™s Sumud (Arabic for steadfastness) against the occupation and discrimination they face on a daily basis,â€ś another ISMâ€™er said.
(Edited for the IMEMC by c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.)