This from a letter from a friend working at the Dheishe Refugee Camp and studying at Birzeit University in Ramallah.She just returned from a trip to Hebron:
"If you close your eyes when you pass the patrolling Israeli army jeeps and sniper towers and try to imagine that the clusters of red roofed homes are not colonial out posts occupying stolen land, you can almost relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Hebron.But I was fighting off waves of nausea and trying to control my breathing, nervous about visiting this city where ultra right -wing colonizers (most of them from Brooklyn) are infamous for violent attacks on Palestinians and their international supporters. Hebron has been illegaly colonized by Israeli "settlers", who have taken over large tracts of land in the countryside to build their huge Jewish-only housing developments, just as in every other district in the West Bank. But whats special about Hebron is that the settlers have also occupied buildings and neighborhoods in the heart of the old city, evicting Palestinian residents with violence and economic strangulation. Hebrons' long ugly history of settler violence climaxed in 1994 when Brooklynite Baruck Goldstein opened fire on Muslim wishippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 27.
The 400 settlers in Hebrons old city are guarded by 1'200 Israeli soldiers, who maintain permanent control over the area known as H2. Palestinian residents of H2 have to get permits from Israel to live in their homes, walk on their streets ,operate their businesses etc. They navigate a web of checkpoints,enduring daily humiliation, searches and beatings from the occupying soldiers.
She goes on to talk about her guide Hashim who says "We are all equal,all of us believe in God.I cannot tell my children they are our enemy.And I cannot talk to you if I have hate in my heart."She closes "I want to end on that note because in order to maintain the struggle, in order to maintain hope in humanity, we have to hold onto people like Hashim, and so many other Palestinians Ive met who refuse to give in to the ugliness.I have a lot to learn here.
Love , Marcell
Don't we all.