Hebron is a sad place to be. Our focus at ISM is to prevent and witness the daily abuses suffered by the occupied Palestinians. But the Palestinians are not the only ones to suffer here.
Whilst I do not condone the presence of the illegal and often violent settlers in this city, I do not envy their isolated existence either. Their children are taught to hate and fear their Arab neighbours. Not a happy way to be.
The young Israeli soldiers loathe our presence. Mostly all we are doing is sitting and watching them. It is not pleasant having orders to humiliate and terrify the Palestinians, who are clearly not the terrorists they learnt of in military training. It must be unbearable to have these actions witnessed and filmed by internationals.
In Israeli military controlled H2 there is no Palestinian police presence which means the area also attracts Palestine’s criminals. It is the only place where I have been hassled by the shabab.
The last couple of years have been a little calmer in H2, but before this period it was not uncommon for international peace workers to be violently attacked by Israeli settlers as soldiers watched on.
Many like to dismiss the settlers in Hebron as fanatics. However, as all Israeli settlement activity, the presence and behaviour of these ‘fanatics’ is government planned and supported. The Alternative Information Centre describes Israel’s policy on Hebron here.