So while continuing my studies and after a WHOLE month without internet I bring you a post on one of the most fascinating cities in the Middle East, Hebron or as it is known in arabic, Khalil.
During the festivities of Eid, a muslim holiday celebrating the event where Abraham was about to kill his son under God’s orders to prove his faith, (no worries God stopped him at the last minute) we were given a week off. So considering the time we decided to make a whole tour through Palestine!
After crossing through the border (this time we were stopped only 3 hours). We went straight to Ramallah and stayed at Hostel In Ramallah, which I recommend completely to anyone traveling in the West Bank on budget.
We used Ramallah as our base and moved by services (shared yellow mini vans). Our first day was spent in Hebron, where we awaited in the middle of a chaotic circle for our friend to give us the tour.
Hebron has become a particularly conservative city so my traveler’s tip is that whether you’re a man or a woman you should wear modest clothes. That means no shorts for men an girls no tight pants, long sleeves and no cleavage.
It is also a very controversial settlement considering that there is an Israeli settlement right in the middle of the city and protests occur with frequency.
It is also the home to Ibrahim’s mosque which holds religious value for both the Jewish and Muslim religion and therefore is a very fought over monument and it requires you to go through check-point like doors and metal detectors.
This is after a settler named Goldstein came in and massacred about 20 people who were praying at the mosque. His tomb is uncannily a touristic attraction for some.
Because of the settlement part of the city is completely sealed off to Palestinians, as well as for Israeli settlers who are prohibited by law to move into Arab areas, however Israeli soldiers can go anywhere in the West Bank and its cities.
Above is the checkpoint in the middle of the city separating some houses occupied by settlers from the rest of the city.
Above you can see some of the bullet holes that remain in the buildings from the Second Intifada and other confrontations.
Some of the houses overlooking the market of the old city of Hebron are occupied, which mean in some cases settlers throw trash into the market. To prevent this problem a net was put over the whole street.
Nonetheless there are still watch posts throughout the old city with Israeli soldiers overlooking the streets.
Nonetheless some Palestinian fervor can still be seen around the city.
And of course Ode charmed some boys in the street with her table skills
And in an organization called Women in Hebron, which sells original Kufiyeh and hand made embroidery, they have time for some feminist humor. Love it!
Some houses like the one above where had their windows sealed shut by the army and in some cases are not allowed to close their door in case soldiers need to come in.
From the rooftop of some of the houses you can see into the settlement which covers one street and is bordered on a side by the Muslim cemetery.
Hoping for a little luck we decided to cross the checkpoint guarded by two soldiers into the settlement. Once inside it seemed more like a ghost town than an actual living place. We some some children running around with their yamakas and some older men in traditional attire, but aside from that the road was completely empty except for the occasional jeep/tank from the army speeding through.
Inside the settlement the graffiti changes sides completely and wherever the word Palestine shows there is a “Free Israel” sign on top.
In some cases the houses of settlers mark the houses they are living in with the star of David
Inside the settlements there is also large signs pushing for the Israeli message both in Hebrew and English and even with its own website and QR scan code to expand on the information. Though it is said Jews cannot access the rest of Hebron the Army can move freely around and settlers are prohibited to do so by their own government. Most of the commerce closed on the street belonged to Arabs.
Despite Hebron’s less than desirable situation there is more to it than the Old City. It is still a place bustling with commerce and some of the most prosperous Palestinian businesses have its roots in the city.
So with that we decided to wrap our day by going to one of the churches of the city atop a mountain and guarded by a man with four wives and TWENTY kids, imagine that!
And of course some jumping pictures and some food later on.