Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hellacious Hebron

Mohammed Alatar, a Texas-based Palestinian filmmaker who is shooting a new documentary about three faiths colliding in Jerusalem, repeats a sort of mantra at every screening of "The Iron Wall", his cinematic opus on the security barrier. Alatar urges any Israeli he meets to do something about the venal atmopshere that blights Hebron. It feels like a ghost town run by vicious enforcers, and grows increasingly tense.

Daily life in this ancient trading center, which was officially chopped into two unequal chunks, is utterly paralysed. Hatred pulses there, and the mutual mistrust of settlers, soldiers, and Arab residents is palpable. The venerable City of the Patriarchs has been brutalised for decades and to live there must be a nightmare. So how can we take steps to fix this mess?
Hebron settler shoulders a rifle for protection at the Arab market back in 1987/photokees vintage photo

Contrast with photo snapped nearly two decades later by Ohel Nashim during her harrowing visit.

1 comment:

Pondering Jew said...

The Cave of the Patriarchs marks the spiritual centre of Hebron, which was the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel in King David reign. Its Hebrew name,Me'arat HaMakhpela, translates as "The Cave of the double caves or tombs". Jewish tradition holds that these twin caves are the tombs of four VIP Biblical couples: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah.