Thursday, 7 November 2013

Central Hebron


Central Hebron concentrates the rays of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as sharply as any place outside Jerusalem.
 
It is one of the largest Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank.  At the same time it is a focus of Jewish aspiration for (re-) colonisation: the burial places of Abraham and other patriarchs and matriarchs (as pictured yesterday); the first capital of David; one of the places in which conflict in the 1920s produced Jewish deaths and expulsion.

So perhaps 800 of the most determined and radicalised Jewish settlers now live at the centre of the city (the only Palestinian city where this is the case) and both Jews and Arabs have killed each other.  The level of army protection now given to the settlers has meant that a section of the centre of the city is now mostly emptied of Palestinian population and trigger points for conflict and harrassment are built in.

Each of the following five pictures touches just one element of the situation. 


It appears that a sign in Arabic above this disused shop has been replaced by one in Hebrew.


This main shopping street has had to be protected by this wire because the settler community throws things down on the population below.


These soldiers (seen over the shoulder of one of those in the group we were in as we were taken around yesterday) are playing with the only Palestinian child who remains living in this street.


This sign sets out the settlers' view clearly, although it happens the land in question appears to be claimed as legally owned by a non-settler Jewish Israeli; meanwhile it is the very definite position of the state of Israel that the return of Palestinians to homes which they owned pre-War but from which they were forced out subsequently isn't on the agenda.


This wall painting sets out the settlers' theology clearly: it shows an aspiration for the 'kingdom come' where Jewish families play on the streets as the Messiah arrives (represented strikingly bottom right by both elements of the biblical expectation with a priest blowing the announcement and a king on a donkey).

1 comment:

Joy Davis said...

We do tend to forget the 'realities' of life for those who actually live there. It is not a cosy 'holy' place at all .