Dozens of Palestinians and international peace activists demonstrated Thursday in the West Bank city of Hebron, demanding that the Israel Defense Forces opens the city's main street, which has been closed to Palestinian residents for years.
The residents demanded that the army follow a High Court of Justice decision and protested the harm caused to their freedom of movement.
Issa Amar, one of the demonstration organizers, told Ynet that the Palestinians' livelihood also suffered heavily due to the road closure.
"This is the city's main street, which connects Hebron from north to south and connects the H1 and H2 sectors. Thousands of Palestinians are prevented from passing here, heavily harming their freedom of movement," he said.
Demonstrators in Hebron (Photo: AFP)
According to Amar, the closing of the road and of the 700 shops and stalls on the street was harming the livelihood of thousands of Palestinian families.
"They earned a living from this market. The families of thousands of taxi drivers, who drove thousands of people to this street, are also suffering."
The Palestinians said that the road had been closed for more than six years, and was only opened occasionally following orders issued by IDF commanders. According to the residents, however, the commanders' generosity did not last for long.
"When guests come here the army opens the street in order to show the foreigners that there is a freedom of movement, but when the guests leave the freedom of movement leaves as well and the street is closed again," the demonstrators charged.
A recent correspondence between The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the IDF revealed that the street should in fact remain open.
The IDF said in response that the issue was being examined by the Central Command and that the army would follow any decision made.