Posted by: Tony Carson | 20 November, 2009

The Nightmare of Hebron and Israel’s Policy of Apartheid

A look inside Hebron, the largest City in Palestine’s West Bank, and a glimpse of Israel’s horrific policy of apartheid, from CommonDreams.

The word “Revenge” is scrawled in Hebrew on a Palestinian school in Hebron. The windows are covered with screens and the play yard obstructed with more screens tipped with barbed wire, to obstruct the stones regularly pelted down by Jewish settlers. The space between the school and the neighboring building is blocked off with large, wooden slabs, to ensure that Palestinian school children do not encroach into settler territory. Nearby checkpoints and cameras placed on rooftops serve as constant reminder that these kids’ every movement is monitored and contained.

This schoolyard scene, on an empty weekend day, illustrates the separation and containment that has become written into the architecture of Hebron. In this city where 1,500 Israeli soldiers are stationed on any given day, the 170,000 Palestinians living here are kept under constant watch, their movements restricted while their safety is under constant threat. The Jewish settlers who have been moving in since the late ’70s, now numbering 800, are known for repeatedly attacking Palestinians while Israeli soldiers sit idly by.

Walking into Hebron literally feels like a nightmare. Shahuda Street, one of the main roads, is traveled only by settlers on foot or in speeding cars, soldiers and police, and packs of fighting dogs. Palestinians living on this street have to climb into their houses from the rear, either cutting across neighbors’ rooftops, carving holes in their walls, or, like one little girl we watched, scaling a rope to the second story. Their front doors have been welded shut or barricaded with rusty metal, like the countless shops in Hebron, closed by military order. Streets are sealed off with concrete and bales of ribbon wire.

“Security is the magic word here,” says Hisham Sharabati, a journalist who has been living in Hebron for most of his life, gesturing towards an Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance of the Abraham Mosque, in the middle of the Old City. “Israel uses that word in any way it likes, so that it can justify denying Palestinian human rights.”

The entire article by Sarah Lazare & Clare Bayard is The Architecture of Apartheird and it is here.

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