Hebron: a front line life
Hebron, less than 40km from Jerusalem, south of the West Bank: more than any other is the place that represent the heart of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian. To live in Hebron is to live on the front line of this conflict.
It's a city where figures speak volumes: 170.000 Palestinians face daily 3000 soldiers, there to guard 500 Israeli settlers living in the area. The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) and the settlers control together almost the 20% of the city, including its historical Kashbah.
The confrontation is underlined by roadblocks, check points and military installations placed virtually at every corner: the city drifts away netted in barbed wire. The urban landscape is filled with deserted Palestinian shops, the owners fled the continued harassment, their activities surviving thanks to the financial intervention of the Palestinian National Authority.
All parties engage in daily provocations. In this symbolic, divided city, a metallic net protects the Palestinians strolling in the hallways of the Kashbah from objects thrown at them from above by the most radicals of the settlers.
The Qurtuba School is located meters away form the area of Havran Avino, where several settlers families live. In order to be able to reach the school, Palestinian pupils should cross every morning a military check point. Since its installation in 1975, around 150 students and teachers from this school endure a surreal dimension, surrounded by military installations, barbed wires and fences protecting them from frequent launch of objects.
Hebron is a city of clashes, tensions. The claustrophobic atmosphere overcomes the visitor, immediately. The rare smiles, are charges with fear and surrender.
Besides the impasse of the political consultations, here everyone holds his breath on the remote and slim chances for peace and coexistence.