Israeli soldiers join settlers in forcing Palestinian shops to close down in Hebron’s old town


Israeli soldiers today forced several Palestinian shops in Shallaleh street in the old town of the southern West Bank city of Hebron to shut down for no apparent reason other than to forcefully empty the area of the Palestinian businesses, according to the shop owners and Hebron mayor Taysir Abu Sneineh. The shop owners said soldiers forced them to shut down while last week settlers, who occupy several areas of the old town, known also as H2 and controlled in total by the Israeli military, also forced shop owners to shut down under army protection. The shop owners said the settlers and soldiers have escalated their harassment of the Palestinian residents of H2, mainly the businesses, which could force some 45 shops to shut down. Hebron mayor Abu Sneineh said these attempts aim to empty the old town from its Palestinian businesses and residents and turn it into a purely Jewish quarter. He said the shops are the only source of income for these families and closing them down would seriously hurt them, urging for immediate action to prevent this from happening.