by Feras SSA
It is a nice thing to make a tour anywhere around the world since you will see and learn new things. But a tour in the old city of Hebron will be a tragedy for any one who belongs to humanity.
Once you reach the roadblocks which divide the city of Hebron into two parts, you will see that life changes 180 degrees. The streets in the area not completely occupied by the Israeli military (called H1 according to Hebron agreement in 1997) are crowded with hundreds of Palestinians and opened shops. Sometimes there is no place to put your legs with all the merchants, shoppers, Palestinian municipality workers and police working daily to organize these markets because the place is so small and limited.
Just few meters after the roadblocks things change. You will see empty streets and closed shops. While walking in the old al Shallalah Street you will see fences, settlements and soldiers just directly up to your head. You do not know you are in a closed military zone or inside a settlement there.
Directly you will face an Israeli checkpoint on the ground another one on the roof. Oh no another four soldiers making petrol there ! You do not know what is happening there? You think that hundreds of Palestinians terrorists (according to Israeli claims) are ready to attack these settlements, or may be you think that these settlements which surrounded with Palestinians houses are in permanent danger because of Arabs attacks. On the contrary, this is not the truth.
Surely this is not the truth. Unfortunately these settlements are planted in the heart of the city to control and occupy Hebron city for a long time. A few hundreds settlers supported with two thousands soldiers make the life of hundreds of thousands Palestinians like a hell. All kinds of apartheid system are used against Palestinians here.
It is really a tragedy. The hard situation here forced people to leave the old city to places away from those settlers who are the most extreme in the West Bank. Hundreds of Palestinian families transferred and most shops owners were also forced to leave their shops. Eventually, this part of the city became a ghost town.
My family was on of those families which forced to leave after hundreds of daily attacks from settlers and soldiers. Living in that place is so hard especially when you feel that you are foreigner in your own home.
No one knows when this strange situation will end? Where is the occupation taking us? When will Palestinians be able to go back again to their houses, shops, streets and mosques? These questions and many others need answers. But for sure times change, and who is strong today may be weak tomorrow.
As I started with the importance of tours, I finish with the importance of making tours for all people who are interested in the Palestinian issue. The city of Hebron is a good example of Palestinian daily suffering from Israeli occupation.
When you come to Hebron just send me e-mail. I will be ready to join you this tragedy tour.