Main Hebron Street Reopens After U.s.-financed Renovation

A main Hebron thoroughfare that has been a flash point for violence partially reopened this week amid complaints from both Jewish and Palestinian residents of the West Bank town.

Shuhada Street, which straddles Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, was closed for security reasons after the February 1994 Hebron massacre, when Dr. Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians worshiping at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

When it reopened Wednesday, Jewish settlers maintained that Palestinian traffic on the road so close to their homes endangered their safety.

Palestinians complained that the entire street should be open to Palestinian traffic.

As part of January’s Hebron Agreement, in which Israeli troops pulled back from 80 percent of the town, the United States agreed to finance the refurbishing of the street, a project that carried a final price tag of $2.5 million.

The road has been paved and sidewalks put up. Stores along the street have also gotten facelifts.

The street was mostly quiet Wednesday.

Groups of Jewish residents from Hebron and the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba marched and held prayers.

One Jewish youth was detained by police for assaulting a Palestinian during protests against the reopening of the street.

As part of the gradual reopening of the street, access is currently limited to Palestinian municipal and emergency vehicles bearing the appropriate identification.

Israeli soldiers check the authorization at a checkpoint at one end of the street.

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