Hebron's storefronts closed on Sukkot
I’m starting to see a trend here and it is leaving a very unpleasant taste in my mouth. On Jewish holidays violence against and repression of Palestinians by IDF occupation forces and settlers increases dramatically in Israel and the West Bank. Personally, in the month I have been living in Occupied Palestine I’ve witnessed the actions surrounding Yom Kippur in Jerusalem and Sukkot in Hebron. On both occasions Israeli military presence increased dramatically, Palestinian freedom of movement was repressed and Israeli groups were allowed/encouraged by the IDF to invade Palestinian places of religious significance, prompting protests by Palestinians and a violent repression of those protests (shooting, beating, arrests, closures) by the IDF.
From my conversations with Palestinians here and research into events in years past these actions seem par for the course. After all, the Second Intifada, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, was initiated by Sharon’s grandstanding at Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock with a supporting force of hundreds of riot police. Basically every Palestinian I’ve talked to in the West Bank now associates Jewish Holidays with violence and oppression of Palestinians, because, on Jewish Holidays the Israeli state supports and perpetrates violence against and repression of Palestinians.
As someone coming from a Jewish family in the states this makes my heart hurt. The idea that The Day of Atonement would somehow cover as justification for instigating violence against another religious group seems sacrilegious. That Sukkot, which I always understood as a joyous occasion to celebrate the abundance of the earth and to welcome guests results in the repression of the freedom of movement of your neighbors seems equally disgusting. For obvious reasons when celebrating your faith becomes synonymous with violating others human rights we, the global we with a stake in social justice, should be more then a little concerned.