Vigil marks anniversary of Baruch Goldstein massacre in Hebron

27 February 2009

from Maan News Agency

Palestinians and their international supporters held a vigil marking the 15th anniversary of the massacre of 33 Palestinians by an Israeli settler in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday.

The demonstration took place near the fence surrounding the present day settlement of Kiryat Arba. The families of the victims of the massacre were present, along with officials from the Palestinian People’s Party and foreign solidarity activists.

The demonstrators carried 33 banners with the names of the victims and lit 33 candles and carried torches.

In response to the vigil, Israeli soldiers declared the area a closed military zone, shutting down roads leading to the site of the demonstration, in the Wadi Al-Ihsein neighborhood of Hebron.

On 27 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli settler, opened fire on Palestinians at prayer at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

In the speech delivered on behalf of the Palestinian political factions in the city, Fahmi Shahin, a member of the central committee of the Palestinian People’s Party said “We wanted to commemorate those who were killed fifteen years ago in this area in particular, since it is targeted by the Israeli settlers. We want to assure those who are living in the area that we did not forget them.”

Haget Afrien, an Israeli peace activist with the organization Ta’ayush, said she and other activists “came here to show solidarity with Hebron, to reject and denounce settler actions and the army’s crimes against the Palestinians.”

Israeli had stopped a number of Israeli peace activists from entering Hebron while they were on their way to the vigil. Six Israelis were held in detention for several hours.