Do unto others as you would have them…

Posted on Mar 26, 2019

Christian Peacemaking Team, Hebron, March 22, 2019 – Celebrations can be a time for rejoicing and remembrance, laughter and hugs, or for Palestinians in Hebron (al-Khalil), a time of anxiety, stress, and restrictions. This last Thursday (March 21st) marked the day of Purim when the Jewish people celebrated their deliverance from death at the hands of their enemies. Escaping doom should be a time of joy and thanksgiving, but at what cost?

Image: Zionists celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim (Photo: CPT)

Zionists celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim

One way to look at the story of Purim is that it is centred around power, influence, and liberation. King Ahasuerus had the power to bring peace or death to the Jewish citizens, Haman (the grand vizier) influenced the king by persuading him to murder the Jews, and Esther (the Jewish queen) liberated her people from an approaching death. Afterwards, Esther declares that every Jew living in the city has the right to assemble and protect themselves from any enemy.

The liberation in this story is what the Israeli settlers shut down the H2 area of Hebron to celebrate. Palestinian schools were forced to close early, halting the education for the day. People travelling from the market with dinner and gifts had no choice but to practice patience as their movement is held in the Israeli soldiers’ hands. Arsenals of weapons were openly showcased on the streets in larger volumes and with a mix of alcohol in the equation.

This remembrance of life, rather than death, has a tainted history with it inside of Hebron. Baruch Goldstein, the Zionist terrorist, massacred 29 people and wounded 125 during Purim in 1994. Elor Azaria celebrated this day by executing an incapacitated Palestinian laying in the street in 2016. So now Israel finds itself with the power to kill the Palestinian people and with a dominating influence from the US government. Who will stand with Palestine as they fight for liberation?

Image: Israeli settler walking by a school with a rifle and pistol (Photo: CPT)

Israeli settler walking by a school with a rifle and pistol (Photo: CPT)

An Exception to the Rule

The Jewish celebration of Purim this week gave the settlers permission to be out on the street on Friday (school holiday for the settler children) as well as on Thursday for their parade. For the first time, a teenage settler was seen walking in the mosque gardens which have been closed for “security reasons” since the division of the Ibrahimi mosque into half synagogue/half mosque.

The synagogue side of the garden has remained open for the settlers to enjoy and looks well kept, but the mosque side has been closed for years, its fountains and pools shut off, and the flower gardens neglected and overgrown. It once was the site where Koranic scholars sat daily to discuss any theological questions and where the daily food distribution to the poor was served; around 1,000 people were served soup each day with meat twice a week and a special cinnamon rice pudding on holidays.

Image: Settler girl parades through the neglected mosque gardens, long closed to Palestinian worshipers outside Ibrahimi Mosque. (Photo CPT)

Settler girl parades through the neglected mosque gardens, long closed to Palestinian worshipers outside Ibrahimi Mosque. (Photo CPT)

This settler girl was observed walking all around the garden with exultant hand motions and joy upon her face as she raised her hands heavenward. Why was she allowed in? What was she rejoicing about? The atmosphere was one of ownership as settlers, with their ever-present military protection, took to the streets and walked freely as they wished.