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Israeli settlers celebrate Independence Day by locking down Palestinians in Hebron neighbourhood Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Israeli settlers celebrate Independence Day by locking down Palestinians in Hebron neighbourhood

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 April, 2020

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Israeli settlers blocked off private Palestinian land in the occupied city of Hebron to mark Israel's so-called Independence Day.

As Israel marked Independence Day on Wednesday, settlers in Hebron prevented Palestinians from leaving their homes by sealing off one of the city's neighbourhoods.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron closed off an area in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood to celebrate the anniversary of Israel's founding, forcing Palestinians nearby to remain in their homes, despite the hot weather.

According to Palestinian activist Issa Amro the area closed by the settlers is privately-owned Palestinian land.

The guardian of the land, Edris Zahdi, expressed anger at the closure according to Haaretz, saying: "I've been guarding the land for 50 years for its owners, and now they closed it off and ask us to go home and close the windows, why?"

Hebron is an exceptionally hostile environment for Palestinians due to the large number of settlers in the city. Its Palestinian residents live in fear of Israeli aggression, by both armed settlers and soldiers.

Around 600 ultra-nationalist Israeli settlers live in the heart of Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank. The settler enclave is protected by twice as many Israeli soldiers.

Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians on a daily basis, human rights groups say.

Read also: Israel police boasts first hijab-wearing Arab officer but Palestinians suffering institutional racism say it's 'woke-washing'

Israel marked its so-called Independence Day on Tuesday and Wednesday, using the Hebrew calendar. It was established as a state on 14 May 1948.

Israel's establishment remains a sensitive topic for Palestinians who, till today, remain affected by the massacres that led to the creation of the state.

They use the time to remember the forced displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, towns and villages to make way for Israel's establishment in 1948.

Read also: Druze commander to light IDF torch on Israel's 'Independence Day'

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 5.9 million Palestinian refugees who are descendants of those displaced in 1948.

Palestinians mark the day of Israel's creation using the Georgian calendar and refer to it as the Al-Nakba, meaning "The Catastrophe" in Arabic.

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