Monday, June 18, 2018

Purim celebrations in Hebron: a mockery of Palestinians

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By Henry James - March 07, 2018
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Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [Settlers] [settler violence] [settlements] [Hebron] [Jews]

Every year, the Jewish community around the world celebrates Purim; a Jewish holiday commemorating the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, the main antagonist in the Book of Esther. According to the Hebrew Bible, he was a vizier in the Persian Empire who had planned to kill all the Jews.
 
To celebrate Jews dress up, dance and listen to music, all while a significant amount of alcohol. Purim is a festive celebration during which people exchange gifts and give to the poor. In Israel, it is regularly compared to the kind of celebration one might find during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or as an event that resembles the Rio Carnaval. 

In Hebron, an occupied city in the West Bank, the atmosphere is remarkably different. The illegal Jewish settler community living in Hebron are protected by Israeli soldiers and live separated by multiple walls and many checkpoints from most of the Palestinians. Hebron is the only city in the West Bank where settlements have been built within the city itself.
 
The settlers in Hebron are known for their extremism. During the Purim celebrations on Friday March 2., they didn't fail to make a show of this. Some dressed up and wore Palestinian kuffiyahs, tied ropes around their necks and painted their t-shirts with red paint to symbolise blood in acts of clear provocation towards Palestinians. Soldiers accompanied them throughout, legitimising this kind of behaviour. 
 
A local Palestinian hostel owner, Ghassan, commented that every year, the settlers engage in the same kind of acts, dressing up as Palestinians and pretending to kill them all. "We cannot react or do anything because of the soldiers protecting them, and if we get to close - because during the celebration we cannot go through the streets because the soldiers are blocking us - we are immediately arrested," Ghassan told Palestine Monitor.  
 
Purim may well be a joyful celebration in the rest of the world, but in Hebron it acts as an occasion for settlers to engage in acts of humiliation against the Palestinians with the consent of the Israeli state. 
 
 

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