Fadi Quran Is Freed

Hebron.JPG

Fadi Quran, the Palestinian activist whose arrest I've followed in recent days, was released from jail last night. But he wasn't released because Israeli authorities have admitted that the charges against him are false (though they certainly seem to be). He's been released on bail, and an investigation continues that could still result in an indictment.

I hope to have further word on his situation before long, but meanwhile let me explain what he was protesting about when arrested in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

The picture above is one I took this summer while visiting Hebron. (I met Fadi later that week in Ramallah, when I was introduced to some participants in the nonviolent resistance movement.) This is Shuhada Street. It was once the main street in old Hebron, full of commerce, but now Palestinians aren't allowed to walk on it. Residents of a nearby Jewish settlement can and do walk along the street, but when Palestinians want to traverse the same distance they use a narrow, uneven path along an immediately adjacent bank. And if they tried to enter the street, an Israeli guard such as the one silhouetted on the right side of the picture would intervene.

Palestinians still live in some of the buildings on Shuhada Street--possibly including the multi-story building near the center of the picture--but in such cases they're not allowed to walk out the front doors of their homes, because that would put them in the no-Palestinians zone.

Hebron is the largest city in the West Bank, home to around 165,000 Palestinians. The reason none of them can walk along the street that was once at the heart of Hebron is because of the presence of fewer than 1,000 Jewish Israelis who live in a settlement that is illegal under international law. This exclusion from Shuhada Street is what Fadi Quran was protesting (in another part of Hebron, where Palestinians are allowed). It was when he yelled "This is Palestine!" that he was arrested.

The Israeli foreign ministry says Fadi was arrested for "obstructing a law enforcement officer, assault and resisting arrest." The two videos below--the only evidence I'm aware of--don't seem to support that charge.

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Robert Wright is the author of The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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