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Passover Tourists in Hebron

April 21, 2008 Since this was the Jewish Passover week, there were many Jewish tourists in Hebron. This resulted in increased security and more frequent searches of Palestinians, such as those seen on their way to school in these photos.

Eric and Walt had an opportunity to tag behind a Jewish tour group of about 70 people as they proceeded slowly through the Palestinian marketplace in the Old City of Hebron. The group was surrounded by 18 Israeli soldiers, with others standing guard on nearby rooftops. The tour guide would stand in the doorways and steps of the businesses while he gave his speeches. Since the streets in the Old City are very narrow, many of the Palestinian merchants were not happy because the tour completely stopped the flow of potential customers to their shops. The Israeli soldiers generally kept us about five feet from the Jewish tourists, and behind us was a queue of Palestinian shoppers, students, and others waiting to get through.

Israeli Soldiers in the Palestinian Marketplace

At one point, an American member of the tour group expressed displeasure about us following the group and was defensive about the Jewish presence in Palestine. Even though we had witnessed some of the settler children’s anti-social behavior, this Jewish tourist found it to be inconceivable. In addition, we engaged one of the soldiers in a discussion about how the Israeli government allows illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine, but has a practice of creating barriers to issuance of building permits to Palestinians. Standing beside him was his commanding officer who was purported to have been involved in several Palestinian home evictions in Hebron.

Passover Tourists in the Palestinian Marketplace

Passover Tourists in Palestinian Marketplace

Passover Tourists with Israeli Soldiers

While thousands of illegal Israeli settler houses are being constructed in Palestine, hundreds of Palestinian houses are being demolished by the Israeli military through the fa├žade of declaring areas to be military zones, later to become settler locations. The soldier was adamant in his defense of Israel’s right to build the settlements while there is only an occasional permit for a Palestinian. From all appearances, this settlement construction of is a violation of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime under that article.

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