Legal Work, Press Releases

RHR warns military of legal intervention regarding objectionable signs in Hebron

0 Comments 26 April 2017

PRESS RELEASE | APRIL 26 2017

Rabbis for Human Rights seeks action against signs imposed on private Palestinian property and the unauthorised replacement of Arabic signs with Hebrew/English signs bearing new names on streets where the majority of residents are Palestinians. The army has refused to act against this phenomenon, denying permission to independent activity to remove the signs.כיכר גרוס רח השוהדה שלט

On Tuesday April 25 2017 Rabbis for Human Rights sent a letter to the army warning it of impending legal action if their decision is not changed within seven days. The letter was sent to Colonel Eyal Toledano, legal advisor to Judea and Samaria,  and Major General Roni Numa, head of the Central Command and came in response to recent correspondence  wherein the army indicated it would not neither remove the objectionable signs in Hebron nor would it provide security to activists seeking to do so themselves.

Background:

In recent months, Rabbis for Human Rights together with the Palestinian collective “Youth Against Settlements” requested that the army secure them as they remove objectionable signs mounted in Hebron on private Palestinian property and/or on streets where the majority of residents are Palestinians.

Signs presenting the settler narrative of the area have been imposed on Palestinian shops and other private property without the owner’s consent. Additionally, Arabic street names were given new Hebrew names and signs were removed and replaced with ones exclusively in Hebrew and English. This has occurred on streets where Palestinian residents are the majority, and via a process that has not been approved by either the Hebron municipality or by the military authorities.

These sign exchanges, apparently carried out by elements within the Hebron settler community, violates the cultural and social rights of the Palestinians, is in contravention to the law, and has been carried out without the approval of the authorities. The army, however, has increased culpability in this situation as activities were carried out under its protection in a clear capitulation to the coercive tactics of a small and extremist group. Not only did the army — as the force responsible for the area under both Israeli and international law — refuse to act against the offensive signs itself, it also prohibited Israeli and Palestinian activists from taking action themselves.

Rabbis for Human Rights:

The issue of these objectionable signs must be disconnected from political questions and disputes over the proper sovereignty in Hebron. Under any normal governance, the hanging of signs without consent on the private property of others, and the unauthorised changing of street names to a language and heritage not of the majority of residents on that street would not be permitted. This is a question of degradation and the trampling of the basic dignity of residents.

In addition, the refusal to permit and secure the removal of these signs demonstrates discriminatory security policy enforced by the army: Authorisation and security for activities is only available for those whose worldview is connected to the extreme right of the Jewish people. For example, marches, such as the Adloyada (Purim parade), where signs bearing symbols of an organization defined as a terrorist one are frequently flaunted, and where racist slogans against the Arab population are chanted are permitted and secured frequently. However, action to take down unauthorised signs in a one-time action is banned. Therefore, the use of the pretext of “security concerns” reflects blatant discrimination, the sanctioning of terrorising Palestinians, the denial of human rights, and the use of the Israeli army as a tool of elements in the extreme right-wing.

רח השוהדה 4

בית רומנו רח הושהדה 7

 

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