Ramallah: In one of the most volatile cities in the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces are offering to curb draconian “security” measures placed on Palestinian residents, if residents cut back on throwing stones — a symbolic resistance practice of Palestinian youth.
Several hundred Jewish colonists live in a tightly guarded enclave in the heart of Hebron, home to 200,000 Palestinians.
Also, more than 35,000 Jewish colonists live in 25 colonies around the Hebron region, effectively suffocating its Palestinian residents.
The impractical setup is a constant source of tension and agitation for the Palestinians simply trying to live normal lives.
Ezz Al Deen Salim, from the Hebron Municipality, says the Israeli move clearly shows their inability to control the area.
The offer proves that even the most draconian measures applied cannot beat the Palestinians into submission and that they would continue to protest gross injustices in the area.
“Residents cannot be blamed for throwing stones due to the round-the-clock provocation by Israeli colonists living in the centre of the Old City of Hebron,” he told Gulf News.
Currently, Palestinians in Hebron cannot enter Occupied East Jerusalem or 1948 areas (Israel), where many Palestinians go to work.
For many years, Israeli authorities have been punitively rejecting Hebron residents’ security clearance, which prevents them from obtaining work permits to enter the 1948 areas.
This move has deprived many families from their livelihoods.
Under the new offer, the issuance of work permits would resume.
Hebron is the largest city in the West Bank and the second largest in the Palestinian territories after Gaza.
The city is divided into two sectors: H1 controlled by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and H2 — more than one quarter of the city — controlled by Israel.
A chief source of tension in the Old City of Hebron is the targeting of Al Ebrahimi Mosque. The ancient mosque is the third oldest place and fourth most important religious site in Islam. It houses the tombs of Ebrahim, Ishaq, Yaqoub and Yousuf.
Israel has divided the holy site into two main sections. The Jewish area is the largest and includes all the religious and historical attractions. The Muslim section is severely restricted.
Last month, Unesco declared Hebron Old City and Al Ebrahimi Mosque a Palestinian world heritage site. Since then, Israeli occupation forces have stepped up measures to humiliate Muslims seeking entry to the shrine.