Israeli peace activists show presence in West Bank hot spot

Dec 1, 2022, 2:09 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2022, 5:56 am
An Israeli activist gives a tour of the embattled West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. I...

An Israeli activist gives a tour of the embattled West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Israeli peace activists toured the occupied West Bank's largest city Friday in a show of solidarity with Palestinians, amid chants of "shame, shame" from ultra-nationalist hecklers. The encounter in the center of Hebron signaled the widening rift among Israelis over the nature of their society and Israel's open-ended military rule over the Palestinians, now in its 56th year. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo)

(AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo)

HEBRON, West Bank (AP) — Dozens of Israeli peace activists toured the occupied West Bank’s largest city Friday in a show of solidarity with Palestinians, amid chants of “shame, shame” from ultra-nationalist hecklers.

The encounter in the center of Hebron signaled the widening rift among Israelis over the nature of their society and Israel’s open-ended military rule over the Palestinians, now in its 56th year.

After parliamentary elections last month, the most right-wing and religious government in Israel’s history is poised to be installed in coming days or weeks, with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returning to power.

In coalition agreements, Netanyahu has already handed key authorities in the West Bank to ultra-nationalist faction leaders, including former fringe figure Itamar Ben-Gvir, known for his anti-Arab rhetoric. The new roles include oversight of Israeli settlement construction and the paramilitary border police, often deployed in Palestinian population centers.

At the same time, peace activists and pro-Palestinian rights groups have come under attack in recent years from right-wing politicians branding them traitors.

The immediate trigger for Friday’s tour was an incident in volatile Hebron that was caught on video last week. The video shows a soldier pushing a man to the ground and punching him in the face after a tense standoff with a small group of peace activists. Another soldier is heard telling the activists: “Ben-Gvir is going to sort things out in this place. That’s it, you guys have lost.”

The soldier uttering the taunts was initially sentenced to 10 days in military jail, but the army then reduced the sentence to six days.

As incoming national security minister, Ben-Gvir will have control over the border police whose troops are often deployed alongside regular soldiers in the West Bank.

As about 200 peace activists arrived in the center of Hebron on Friday, they were greeted by a group of protesters holding a banner reading: “The people of Israel demand: expel the anarchists from Hebron.” One man shouting through a bullhorn yelled, “shame, shame,” as the visitors listened to tour guides in a parking lot, separated from the right-wing protesters by security forces.

Friday’s visit was part of the regular offerings of anti-occupation groups, but turnout was larger than usual because of the election results and last week’s incident in Hebron, said Ori Givati, a spokesman for Breaking the Silence, one of the groups organizing the trip.

He said activists were worried — but also determined to continue their work, including tours to West Bank hot spots like Hebron, where dozens of heavily guarded settlers live in a city of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

“There is definitely fear for the safety, first and foremost for Palestinians under this occupation that are now going to be under a government that promotes hate and racism more than ever toward them, and toward our organization and other organizations and activists that are now in a reality where their activity here is delegitimized, also more than ever,” Givati said.

Those chanting slogans against the peace activists portrayed themselves as defenders of Israeli settlements and soldiers. Matan Gerafi of the right-wing Im Tirtzu group alleged the activists aimed to discredit soldiers and branded them “anarchists.”

Palestinians were largely out of sight as the Israeli groups faced off.

Issa Amro, a Palestinian activist in Hebron, said he believes the hard-line ideology of Ben-Gvir and others will spread further in Israeli society. “The settlers here are celebrating the election of their fascist representatives in the government,” he said. “What happens in Hebron will end in Tel Aviv.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
8 hours ago
This combo of booking images provided by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office shows, from left, Tadar...
Associated Press

Records: Minor infractions for officers before Nichols case

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Four of five Memphis officers charged with killing Tyre Nichols after violently beating him had infractions on their records from previous police work. Their transgressions were mainly procedural but included using minor physical force during an arrest and failing to fill out a form about it, failing to report a domestic […]
1 day ago
The sanctuary at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church is seen before the start the funeral servic...
Associated Press

Live updates | Funeral for Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Live Updates on the funeral for Tyre Nichols (all times local): 9 a.m. The funeral for Tyre Nichols was expected to take place Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee, and draw family, friends and civil rights activists amid a winter storm affecting the city. The service was delayed until 1 p.m. Central Standard […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Cryptocurrency fraud scheme lands man 8 years in prison

BOSTON (AP) — The founder of a cryptocurrency and virtual payment services company who authorities say cheated dozens of investors out of about $7.5 million, which he used to buy a house, cars, jewelry, and other luxuries, has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Randall Crater, 52, founded Las Vegas-based My Big […]
1 day ago
FILE - Highway BR-163 stretches between the Tapajos National Forest, left, and a soy field in Belte...
Associated Press

Brazil authorities probe Amazon ties to capital attacks

SAO PAULO (AP) — On the edge of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the Rovaris family is a symbol of a pioneering success story. The family arrived in the state of Mato Grosso in the 1970s as part of a wave of agricultural expansion promoted by the country’s then-military dictatorship. In a short span, the Rovaris clan […]
1 day ago
A hiring sign is displayed outside of a restaurant in Arlington Heights, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 202...
Associated Press

U.S. job openings rise in December to 11 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in December, a sign the American labor market remains hot and a blow to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool it off. The Labor Department said Wednesday that openings were up from 10.4 million in November. Economists had expected job openings to drop slightly in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Israeli peace activists show presence in West Bank hot spot