A Trip to Hebron

17 January 2009

Hebron (2) is a sad place where life has been made increasingly difficult for the Palestinian population during the past years. There are 400 jewish settlers living periodically in the city of Hebron, many of them are American jews. I was told that for each settler there are about 3 soldiers. The soldiers are regularly marching through the streets, pointing their machine guns at people in the street, in a morbid spectacle of power show-off. We met a few of them when we were walking in the street and it was a strange experience to have a machine gun pointing right at me from a distance of less than two meters.
The settlers and the soldiers frequently harass the Palestinian population living here, which is why organisations like the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) are in the area, protecting children going through checkpoints on their way to school ect. We met a group from CPT in the street. Hopefully they will stay here as they are really needed.
We visited a mosque which the jewish settlers have taken control over, and noone exept them can access it through the main entrance. The arabs access it through a small entrance at the back and can only enter into one part of the mosque. Schools which used to belong to the Palestinians have also been occupied by the jewish settlers, establishing their yeshivas there.
Hypocrisy in every corner of this city. Double strandards and racism poisoning the air.

At one small checkpoint the soldier had decided to take the ID papers of a young Palestinian man who was forced to just stand there waiting. Facing the soldier and his gun this man was powerless. I asked how long time he will have to wait for his ID papers so that he can leave and was told that it depends on the mood of the soldier, and is likely to take hours. As if the soldier takes pleasure in watching the poor man being forced to wait standing against the wall for hours and then with mercy let him go.
This was just one of many expressions of the power-relations existing here.

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City of Hebron (2), 17 January 2009
Jewish settlers who live in the houses above the street are throwing rocks and garbage down at the Palestinian people living here. In an attempt to protect themselves they have put up this net.

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