04 March 2009

04 March 2009 - SASHRIP's misleading website

I'm not going to blog much more about this crowd, but I think it's worth pointing out a misleading campaign on the "South Africans Supporting Human Rights in Israel and Palestine" (SASHRIP) website.

The title of the group's home page, and the apparent focus of its activism at the moment, is "Open Shuhada Street," which the site incorrectly describes as "the main street of Hebron."

Shuhada street is a main drag in the Israeli part of Hebron, which constitutes only about one-fifth of the whole city of Hebron. The 1997 Hebron Agreement, signed by the Palestinian Authority and Israel, grants control over the rest of the city to the PA. The vast majority of Palestinians in Hebron live under a Palestinian government in a zone where the main streets are Bir Al-Saba Road, Al-Salam Street and Jerusalem Road - not Shuhada Street as claimed on the SASHRIP website.

The website also neglects to mention the Palestinian suicide bombing on Shuhada Street in May 2003:

The main reason, historically, for the street's closure has been the desire to prevent violence between Jews and Arabs. To be sure, Arabs have borne the brunt of the cost of these preventative measures, but simply to leave facts like the suicide bombing out of the historical analysis is just intellectually dishonest.

In reality, Hebron presents many complex problems, in which human rights and conflict resolution are interwoven. But SASHRIP and its allies in the global anti-Israel movement use examples like Shuhada Street to reinforce the false "Israel=apartheid" analogy. The purpose of that analogy is to demonize, and ultimately dismantle, Israel. Whatever the intentions of the SASHRIP website, good or otherwise, its misleading characterization of Shuhada Street encourages intolerance, not peace.


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