Shuhada Street used to be an integral part of the vibrant centre of Hebron. The shops and markets, for which the city is renowned, lined the pavements. The street itself was a busy main road through the city and was considered the most important street in Hebron.
Since the Goldstein Massacre, the Israeli occupation forces chose to make restrictions on the Palestinians rather than on the Israeli settlers living inside Hebron and the Palestinian movement have been restricted intermittently. Vehicles were banned from using the Shuhada Street, but it remained a hub of activity in the old city.
This sign says basically that it is forbidden for Jewish settlers to enter Palestinian territory – that it is a danger to their lives.
The wire above the Palestinian market to provide security and to prevent the garbage and stones that Jewish settlers throw at them:
Two Jewish settlers (whom, according to all international laws, should not be allowed to live there) on the balcony. You can see the one man’s hand motion – he had just thrown trash down onto the Palestinian market.
Ayman termed this “Palestinian Coffee.” I’m not sure if it’s not also known as Arabic coffee, and what makes it distinct from other coffees, is the amount of cardamom they put in it. After sipping, there is a mild aftertaste:
Another gate separating H1 and H2:
Notice the heaps of trash thrown down upon Palestinians by the Jewish settlers:
In the Abraham Mosque, also the site of the “Cave of the Patriarchs” massacre. In 1994, an American-born Israeli, Baruch Goldstein opened fire on unarmed Palestinian worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 125.
This used to be a bus station, a hub of activity. Now, it lies dormant and decaying, of no use to anyone:
This is a Palestinian school:
This is written near the children’s school, causing Palestinian children to read that and from of a very early point in life, get an image of what their world is really all about. It’s enough to be displaced, it’s another to have to ram it down their throats with these kinds of scrawlings:
Gate next to the checkpoint trailer keeping the Palestinians and the Jewish settlers separated:
I took a bus from Jerusalem to Hebron and got dropped off at the last stop, not that I knew what that meant. I then hailed a taxi for the Old City. And then I got dropped off and still didn’t know where to go from there, so I walked around the market for a bit and EVERYONE said “Welcome! Welcome!” They don’t have nearly enough consumers and they need them! I did my part, bought my favorite Casio watch in blue (for a steal, but fair for the seller) and got some mixed nuts, which this area is famous for. Before long, I was approached in a gentle way by a man named Ayman, who is a Palestinian activist and wanted to walk me around and explain the situation to me. I’m so glad we met.
Ayman, my Palestinian guide:
This was a Palestinian residence, but was destroyed in the Second Intifada in 2002:
Now we’re getting into “H1” and “H2,” the inhumane division. Feels like I imagine the East vs. the West Blocs in Germany, must have felt like. H1 is Palestinian and H2, which used to be a thriving residential and commercial Palestinian area, is now controlled by the Israeli Army and is called “Ghost Town” because no one is allowed to live there or have a shop there. The buildings are locked up and falling into decay. The street is silent, somber.
This building stands between H1 and H2:
Look to your left, people, movement, in H1. On the right, desolate, empty:
This is the checkpoint on the deserted street that used to be filled with lively Palestinian market life. It’s just a sad little trailer. And to think it keeps people who actually have homes and old businesses over there, out!
Once through the checkpoint, here are the images of desolation. Ayman could only walk with me to a certain point and then was not allowed to go any further. (I hope you understand the injustice in this. It’s his home, his country, his land, his birthplace, yet he is forbidden to enter):
These images are from looking out of the bus in Jerusalem in the morning to meeting Ayman, my guide in Hebron to returning to Jerusalem for a chicken shish appetizer to freshly squeezed orange juice in the evening: