HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Governor of Hebron Kamel Hmeid and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal were prevented from carrying out a tour of the city Monday, delegation members said.
The officials visited areas affected by the presence of an estimated 700 Israeli settlers and 1,500 soldiers in the city center, but were prevented from walking down the former market hub Ash-Shuhada Street.
The street, which is the only access point to a dozen Palestinian families who remain living in an area taken over by settlers, is divided with one third allocated for Palestinian use, and two-thirds for military and settler traffic.
Soldiers stopped Twal and Hmeid from walking down the road. Only Palestinians who resided in the neighborhood were permitted to use the partitioned street.
Commenting on the prohibition, Hmeid said Israel sought to “prevent them from seeing the reality about the life of the Palestinian civilians in Hebron and and the humiliating treatment and violations they face on a daily basis by the Israeli settlers and soldiers.”
Such violations of freedom of movement, he added, “only encourage us to demand our rights.”
Part of the tour involved visiting the city’s university, meeting with the Hebron University President Awni Al-Khatib and inspecting its facilities.
Hmeid called the visit a show of national unity and Palestinian strength, while Twal expressed regret at the “lack of respect from the occupation forces to religious officials,” but said he was glad to meet the “sons and daughters of Hebron,” and said he would continue to support their struggle for rights and freedoms.
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