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Hebron – Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a n...

Hebron – Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a nutshell

Hebron

Kiryat Arba, Ghost City. Hebron. That would be Hebron H1 – controlled by Palestinian Autonomy and much bigger Hebron H2 – under control of Israel. Hebron is the second biggest Palestinian city – right after Gaza. It was originally known in Tora as Kiryat Arba – The Village of Four. Now Kiryat Arba is the name of the neighboring settlement.

State Of Palestine

Interestingly enough when I was looking for the etymology of HEBRON – I found that the current name comes from the word: FRIEND or TEAM UP – in both Hebrew and Arabic. They also point to the direction of RUIN or BARREN…

Hebron is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the whole world.

Hebron

Hebron

It’s mentioned in the Holy Books – Bible, Torah and Quran. Many believe it’s the patriarchs’ and matriarchs’ burial site. Jews and Christians talk about Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaak and Rebecca and Jacob and Leah. Whereas Muslims speak of Abraham – their prophet and patriarch.

Hebron - Israel

Tomb of Patriarchs – Synagogue and the Mosque

Jews consider Hebron to be one of their holy cities in all of Israel – right after Jerusalem. Muslims too, believe this place to be of utter importance – after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.

Hebron

one of the checkpoints

Until the early XX century, it was a city where Jews and Muslims would coexist together – sharing the land and being neighbors. But then the 1929 happened. Amidst the tensions in the area caused by both Jewish Zionists and Arab nationalists, Muslims  killed their 67 Jewish neighbors. That was the end of Jewish existence in this city for many years. They only came back after 1967 – with the protection of IDF – Israeli Defense Force.

Hebron

Hebron – city center

1994 marks another tragedy in this conflicted city. In February of 1994 Israeli physician opened fire on Muslims praying in the Cave of Patriarchs killing 29 and wounding 200 more. Orthodox Jewish settlers celebrate this day each year and proclaimed the assassin a hero. Palestinians and most Israelis think of him as a murderer.

Hebron

A border between Israeli and Palestinian parts of the city. You cannot cross.

After the 1994 massacre and the riots that happened as a result Israel closed Al-Shuhada Street. That’s the main street leading to the Tomb of Patriarchs. The street was full of Palestinian shops and busy with everyday life. Since early 2000′ Palestinians are able to pass through with cars, but the shops remain closed. 

Hebron

Hebron – Al-Shuhada Street.

It’s literally a Ghost Town.

Hebron

Hebron is also here where Elor Azaria shot a Palestinian assailant – already captured and lying wounded on the ground.

Hebron

Currently (2017)  there’s ca 200 000 Palestinians in Hebron and about 800 orthodox Jews protected by IDF day by day. Since 2015 part of the city is now closed military zone. With checkpoints, controls and constant tension.

Hebron

Hebron checkpoint

Hebron

A border between two sides of the city

Israeli journalist Gideon Levi described the area in the following terms:

“There is no neighbourhood like this one. Not a day passes without the throwing of stones, garbage, and feces at the frightened (Palestinian) neighbours cowering in their barricaded houses, afraid even to peek out the window. Neighbours whose way home is always a path of torment and anxiety. All this is happening right under the noses of the soldiers and police, representatives of the legal authorities, who merely stand by.”

The place most people visit while in Hebron is Ibrahimi Mosque – aka Tomb of Patriarchs. There’s a footprint in the floor – some say it belongs to Mohamet, some consider it to be..  Adam’s. Yes – THIS Adam.

You can reach the temple from two sides – a separate is the entrance to the Synagogue, and on the other side the building the entrance leads to the Mosque. There’s no way to go from one side to another when you’re inside. You have to go through the military checkpoint outside to do that. Also you’ll see the bulletproof glass between two parts. So both Jews and Muslims can look at their patriarch Abraham’s Thumb from separate parts of the building.

Tomb of Patriarchs/ Synagogue and Mosque

Hebron

Ibrahim Mosque

Hebron

Ibrahim Mosque

Tomb of Abraham

Tomb of Abraham

Beit Hadassah – late-19th-century clinic built by North African Jews – now inhabited by Jewish families.

Hebron

Beit Hadassah

It’s really one of the most moving places I’ve ever been to. Just going through those streets once full of people and life now empty and reminding you of aggression – from both sides.. 

the poster says: “This land was stolen by Arabs, following the murder of 67 Hebron Jews in 1929”

Hebron

the poster says: “Caution – this was taken by Israel – you are APARTHEID”

Hebron

Hebron

Hebron

Hebron

Hebron

area right next to the checkpoint

Hebron

Hebron

Hebron

the security measures – otherwise the trash/stones might fall on the Palestinians heads.

Hebron

checkpoint at the entrance

Because of its importance – Hebron still faces extreme tension between the two sides of conflict. Military is still present in the city, life cannot go on. There are clashes from time to time and  the atmosphere is far from peaceful. 

Lately (September 2017) UNESCO declared Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site in danger. That came shortly after its controversial resolution on the Temple Mount (October 2016) – widely discussed by both sides. 

 

If you’re interested in more places to see in Israel/West Bank – see THIS ARTICLE

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