Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hebron: An Introduction

It's difficult to describe Hebron. It's a unquice manifestation of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. There is no where in the West Bank quite it, but this is the future that threatens almost everywhere.

In Hebron, Israeli settlers, of the most radical and violent end of the spectrum, have succeded in moving into next door to Palestinians and driving many of them out of the city. This B'tSelem video is excellent and helps to provide a picture of what is actually happening. However, it's a little confusing for those who are not as familiar with Hebron. My friend Helen added a helpful description:

1st scene: An Israeli settler discussing the "work that still needs to be done" in Hebron, ie: replacing Arabs with Jews.

2nd scene: Thanks to Israeli activists, this clip is now famous. An Israeli settler attacks the Palestinian family (behind the cage that surrounds their house for protection) in the neighborhood. "You're a whore, and your daughters are too."

3rd scene: Palestinian woman explaining her family's situation in the neighborhood. "If we go out, we get attacked by either settlers or soldiers."

4th scene: Israeli settler children throwing rocks at the a Palestinian family's house, while the soldiers stand by and watch. "Soldier, the boy wants to come in, but because of them he can't."
I mentioned that other places in the West Bank may come to resemble Hebron. Bethlehem, a city that's so close to my heart, may soon resemble Hebron. Especially radical settlers have been making plans to move into the Rachel's Tomb area within Bethlehem proper. I fear what will happen to my friends and to a city that is part of the heart of the West Bank economy, if Bethlehem becomes another Hebron.

There are a few spots of hope in the situation. The first is the fact that Palestinians continue to live in this town. No where is it more clear that the most important act of resistance Palestinians can take is withstanding the pressures to leave.

There are also a few organizations in Hebron that I , for one, particularly like. The first is called Breaking the Silence and is a group of Israelis soliders, most of whom worked in Hebron, who are exposing the realities of this place:

The second is called Art Under Apartheid and is one example of the many projects that are using art and creativity to help kids cope with the stress of life under occupation:

The third point of light, I hope, is CPT. The Hebron project was recently highlighted by the BBC. They took some pretty pictures, but I wish they had focused less on us and more on Palestinians:


Anonymous said...

Hey Joy I cross posted this to my blog.

I'm going to write you an e-mail right now.

Anonymous said...

o my god Joy, I just watched this video. It's disgusting, the settlers are absolutely inhumane!! I haven't visited in a while but hope you have a great trip. update whenever you can.