The Open Shuhada Street Campaign takes place annually during the last week of February to commemorate the massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque and raise international awareness of the horrifying reality in Hebron.
The creation of settlements in Hebron included three stages:
- Stage One, expropriate land from Palestinians claiming it is for military use;
- Stage Two, build civilian housing on the military base and then allow Jewish settlers to move in; and
- Stage Three, recognize it as a legitimate Jewish settlement.
This sets a precedent for the creation of facts on the ground that would become the model for the expansion of the settlement enterprise in the West Bank.
In order to fully understand the reality in Palestine, one must come to terms with the idea that the conquest of Palestine by the Zionists was done with the intent of committing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the native inhabitants of Palestine. This was true when, in 1948, 78 percent of Palestine was conquered and renamed Israel and it was also true when, in 1967, the conquest was completed and Israel took the remaining 22 percent of the country.
The intention was and remains taking over the land and populating it with Jews at the expense of Palestinians. It is true in the villages and in the towns, in the cities and in the countryside. It is crucial to examine how the Zionist regime accomplishes its goals on a case by case basis, and how local Palestinian leaders and grassroots groups resist. One particularly troubling example is the Zionist takeover of the old city of El-Khalil, Hebron, and the actions taken by Youth Against Settlements (YAS), and its leader and cofounder Issa Amro, to resist this takeover.
Hebron lays in the southern part of what is referred to as the West Bank. Other than East Jerusalem, it is the largest and busiest Palestinian city in the West Bank. In April of 1968, less than a year after the city was taken by Israel, Rabbi Moshe Levinger — a student of the ultra-right-wing Zionist rabbi, Tsvi Yehuda Kook — along with a group of Zionist Jewish radicals, decided it was time to settle this ancient city with Jews. They rented the Park Hotel in Hebron for a few days, supposedly intending to celebrate the holiday of Passover. Eighty-eight people celebrated Passover Seder that night in the heart of Hebron, and then refused to leave.