Thursday, 12 August 2010


My first visit to Hebron was in 2002 and back then I thought that after Gaza, this was the saddest place on earth. After experiencing Hebron again, I think it's safe to say that, in my opinion, this place is sadder than Gaza. Gazans are indeed under siege and live inhumane conditions, but the situation in the Khalil (Hebron) is unique, and has to be seen to be believed.

The red mark represents "by military order"

Many Palestinians and visitors to the West Bank do not visit this historical old city located in the South (historical "Judea"). Hebron is the burial site of prophet Abraham, Sarah, prophet Isaac, Rebecca, prophet Jacob and Leah, making it holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike.

The first checkpoint to enter Al-Ibrahimi mosque
Prophet Ibrahim's burial site
The IDF does not allow repairs on certain heritage buildings so when they crumble, they occupy them and use them as a base.
The Ayyubids, the Mamluks and the Ottomans have all left their mark on the old city of Hebron. 800 years later, their homes continue to line the streets.
Unlike most old cities in Palestine, Hebron isn't a city of walls and gates. Its homes are all adjacent to each other, accessible if one were to jump roof to roof.
Apartheid has also left its mark here. 400 settlers, 1,500 soldiers and 5,500 Palestinians live together in the old city, unsegregated and discordantly. If you've ever wanted to visit a ghost town, this is it...Palestine's prison.
Below the homes of settlers nets have been installed to prevent the dangerous objects from reaching the Palestinians below. Sometimes settlers piss on them, throw acid and other chemicals.
Shuhada Street
Shuhada street, a former busy street for Palestinian residents and businesses in the old city that now runs through a settlement is now closed to Palestinian movement. Only Israelis and tourists may access it. The street is lined with 512 shops closed since 1994 due to military order and voluntarily due to the violence faced from settlers. Palestinians that continue to live on this street must enter and exit via their back doors or climb the roofs of the old city.
Under the Hebron agreement (1997), the city has been divided into two sectors: H1 (Palestinian Authority controlled) and H2 (inhabited by approximately 30,000 Palestinians is under Israeli military control to protect the settlers). The city has hundreds of checkpoints placed all over, limiting the mobility of Palestinians.
This is the house of an active Jewish Defense League member. He continously shouted "liar liar" at his Palestinian neighbour when he was showing us his home.
His neighbour has had the entrance to his home blocked and therefore has to climb and go through a few obstacles to get to his home.

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