Hebron is one of the most bizarre and tragic places in the Middle East. In the center of a city of 165,000 Arab Palestinian residents, 500 Jewish settlers have staked a claim and are living there, citing their belief in biblical promises to the Jewish people. Some 2,000 young Israeli soldiers are posted in Hebron to protect these settlers from violence by their neighbors who view them as invaders. There are rules as to who can use which sides of which streets, claims and counterclaims, and frequent violence.
In 1994 an American Jewish settler in Hebron, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians and injured 125 more as they prayed in the main mosque. It is very unsettling to me that a public monument to this mass murderer has been erected in the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba.
As the biblical burial site of Abraham that is holy to both Jews and Muslims, Hebron is a microcosm of the larger Israel/Palestine conflict.
For an article detailing my experiences in Hebron, click here.
For more images on Flickr, click here.