HEBRON, Friday, March 04, 2022 (WAFA) – Dozens of Palestinians suffocated as Israeli forces quelled an anti-road-closure protest in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to local sources.
They said that heavily-armed soldiers cracked down on Palestinians who rallied in protest of the expansion of a military checkpoint blocking Bab Az-Zawiya neighborhood and the Shuhada Street, causing dozens to suffocate from tear gas inhalation.
The rally was organized a day after the military moved the cement blocks making up the checkpoint 50 meters closer to the neighborhood, which serves a commercial hub.
Twenty two years ago, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque and opened fire at Palestinian Muslim worshippers, killing 29. Four Palestinians were killed on the same day in the clashes that broke out around the Mosque in response to the massacre.
In the aftermath, the mosque, known to Jews as Tomb of the Patriarchs, was divided in two, with the larger part turned into a synagogue while heavy scrutiny was imposed on the Palestinians and areas closed completely to them, including an important market and the main street, Shuhada street.
The city of Hebron, which houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
Israel has expelled the only international monitors protecting Hebron’s Palestinians from 800 heavily guarded settlers, one of whom committed the 1994 massacre that triggered their deployment.
Such Israeli measures, taken under the guise of security, are intended to entrench Israel’s 54-year-old military occupation of the West Bank and its settler colonial project which it enforces with routine and frequently deadly violence against Palestinians.