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Israel extends closed military zone status in Hebron's Old City

Feb. 5, 2016 10:43 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2016 12:13 P.M.)
Near the archaeological site in Tel Rumeida, Hebron, 2014. (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces extended the closed military zone status of a part of the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, activists said on Friday.

Palestinian activist group Youth Against Settlements said they had learned that the Tel Rumeida neighborhood would remain a closed military zone for another month after Israeli authorities renewed the status until March 1.

Tel Rumeida has been closed off since Nov. 1 by Israeli forces, who have prevented both Palestinians and foreigners from entering the closed military zone.

Jawad Abu Aisheh, an activist with Youth Against Settlements, told Ma’an that the renewed status of the area jeopardized access to a center used by the group in the area, but that the organization would keep meeting to denounce the Israeli policies.

The group documents violations carried out by Israeli military and settlers in the military-controlled Old City, and have long faced attempts by settlers and soldiers to prevent them from carrying out their work.

Abu Aisheh added that an activist sit-in, which has been ongoing for nearly two months, would continue to denounce the closed military zone in both Tel Rumeida and other parts of Hebron.

“In a few days, we will start a local and international campaign to open Shuhada Street,” parts of which have remained inaccessible to Palestinian residents since the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in 1994, he said.

A spokesperson for the Israeli army didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the issue.

Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in 1997 under the Oslo agreements.

The majority of the city was placed under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, while the Old City and surrounding areas were placed under Israeli military control, known as H2.

The area is home to 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces. Hebron residents frequently report attacks and harassment by the settlers, carried out in the presence of the forces.
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