The Myth of Hebron’s Shuhada Street – Steve Frank
Shuhada Street in Hebron in the West Bank, once the thriving market center of the city, was largely shut down for security reasons and in the Palestinian narrative has become a symbol of alleged Israeli apartheid. Visitors are not told of the long history of violence by Arabs against Jews in Hebron which resulted in the closure of the street.
They are also not told that the commercial center of Hebron has moved less than a mile from Shuhada Street to Ein Sarah Street and has become a thriving market district, complete with an ultra-modern indoor nine-story mall and American fast-food franchises.
It is a place where Jews (not just Israelis, but Jews from any country) are banned. I know because on my recent tour of the area our group was asked whether there were any Jews before we were allowed to continue into the area.
While very few visitors are allowed to see more than Shuhada Street, Hebron is the most prosperous city in the PA, with 17,000 factories and workshops, four hospitals, three universities, and an indoor 4,000-seat basketball stadium.
The real shame of Shuhada Street is not that a small number of Palestinians are prevented from going there but that the Israeli army is needed to prevent the 85 Jewish families who live nearby from being massacred. The real problem in Hebron from a Palestinian point of view is that it is the only city under Palestinian control that allows even a small number of Jews to reside there.
The real apartheid in the West Bank lies with the Palestinians, who insist that any independent Palestinian state be judenrein (Jew-free), in sharp contrast to Israel where two million Arabs reside as full citizens and constitute 20% of the Israeli population.