Baruch Marzel challenges foreign tourists in Hebron

Hebron activist argues with Palestinian tour guide Muhammed Bannoura, asks “can a Jew buy a house here or not?”

Baruch Marzel argues with Palestinian tour guide in Hebron  (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Baruch Marzel argues with Palestinian tour guide in Hebron
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
“Why are you anti-Semitic?” Hebron activist Baruch Marzel asked a group of foreign tourists led by a Palestinian guide from Beit Sahur around noon on Tuesday.
They had come on an eventful day to see the West Bank city of Hebron, and stopped by a three-story apartment building, which the IDF has ordered its Jewish residents to evacuate by 3 p.m.
The residents moved in Thursday without the proper permits.
The foreign tourists in this group, along with their guide, did not think the Jews should be there, even with the proper government permits.
Marzel himself had not moved into the apartment, but was among those Hebron residents who stood outside in support of their neighbors.
“Why can’t I buy here, but I can buy a house in London?” Marzel asked.
When British tourist Jeff Rodin tried to explain to him that the structure did not belong to Jews, Marzel corrected him.
“We bought the house. We have all the papers. Why do you attack the Jews immediately?” asked Marzel, who is a mid-size man with glasses, brown hair and a beard.
He wore a short sleeve button down shirt, and an orange plastic band on his wrist, a symbol of the settler fight against the 2005 Gaza pullout.
Marzel waved his arms and hands for emphasis as he spoke with Rodin.
“Are you an anti-Semite? Are you against Jews?” he asked as he raised his voice to be heard.
“Can a Jew buy a house here or not?” he asked again.
“No,” said Rodin whose voice was much lower and harder to hear.
The gray-haired tall man wore a white baseball cap, a checkered blue short sleeve shirt and a black knapsack.
“So you are an anti-Semite. You are a racist,” said Marzel. “We are not in Germany,” he added making a reference to the Holocaust during World War II.
The Palestinian tour guide Muhammed Bannoura tried to intervene to calmly explain that an agreement prevented such a purchase.
But Marzel said that no such deal existed.
Bannoura tried again to tell Marzel that this area was part of a Palestinian state.
Marzel rejected that idea as well.
“Then where is a Palestinian state?” Bannoura wanted to know.
“Who said there are Palestinians? Who said they have a nation?” Marzel answered with his own question.
“Who said there are Israeli Jews?” Bannoura shot back.
Touching Marzel lightly on the shoulder he said, “You are occupying our land.”
After Marzel left, Bannoura told The Jerusalem Post that he believed in a two-state solution, but that does not include Israelis living in Hebron.
Bannoura said it was important to him to bring people from around the world to the area so they could learn about the situation.
“We believe that we can all live together, Palestinians and Israelis,” he said. “But the Israeli settlers should not be here. They have to move out of here, this is Palestinian land.”