I’ve visited Hebron a number of times with groups but today the situation just seemed like something out of a horror movie. Hebron is always palpably tense, the extremely religious settlements, closed Palestinian shops, Israeli soldiers, and empty Palestinian houses under settled areas all add to a sense of dystopian hell.
This time it was different. I very rarely feel unsafe in Palestine or Israel, but today I felt unsafe – even though I was with a group of internationals and two Palestinians – I felt that we were under constant threat – and we were!
From the minute we arrived, our guide was getting settlers who were stopping their cars, winding down their windows and saying “you’re going to die!” We had lunch with a Palestinian family in Hebron and heard how their son had been attacked yesterday (Saturday) by 30-50 Israeli settlers, he could not defend himself as he would be arrested but, despite the military seeing what happened, no action is taken against the settlers.
Walking down the streets we were passed by three young men, part of a group called Hebron Hills, who were chanting loudly. A form of intimidation of the local Palestinian population and a sign to the internationals present that they could do as they wished and no one would stop them. Hebron Hills were also involved in a ‘celebration’ with reportedly between 20,000 and 40,0001 settlers celebrating the ‘Life of Sarah’. This celebration took place in tents near to the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs complex but also spread out into the Palestinian areas of the city resulting in 6-10 Palestinians being badly injured and many more injured, shops damaged, goods destroyed and rubbish to be strewn around (for more information visit Youth Against Settlements Facebook Page).
Some of our group were denied entry through checkpoints, our guide was threatened twice more, and Israeli jets buzzed overhead making an almost deafening noise.
From our group I heard repeatedly the mantra, ‘how can people live like this?’ and you have to wonder. But, it’s important to remember that, for the Palestinians here, this is THEIR home. If they leave they will simply become another statistic in the ever growing number of refugees seeking right of return. Settlers offer huge amounts of money to buy Palestinian houses (or simply move into them and claim they’ve bought them), but many Palestinians refuse, ‘this is our home, if we leave Hebron will be lost’ I have heard them say. The shopkeepers and children selling trinkets are desperate for the tourist trade that rarely comes. The settlers think nothing of throwing rubbish, urine, eggs and sewage on the Souq below the settlement. Life is dystopian hell here.
If you want to see the reality of the militaristic, vicious, ideologically driven occupation of Palestine, then there is no better (or worse) example than Hebron. Just be prepared to leave your humanity at the door.
THEY will have the final word.
Believe what the PARTY says is true.
Even Facecrime gives you away,
For BIG BROTHER is watching you.
Honesty? Bah, such nonsense!
Loyalty is what must sell.
State-spread rumors incite the mob
In your bleak, dystopian ****.
Reject evidence of eyes and ears.
That’s what THEY say. Watch how hate
Turns the unquestioning supporter
Against the enemies of the state.
The Goodthinkful, unaware
How language affects their thoughts and behavior,
Show how ignorance is strength
And lavish praise upon their savior.
Manipulating public opinion,
THEY know well-spread lies will last,
For that’s how THEY’LL control the future,
And that’s how THEY control the past.
Doublethink is what THEY call it:
The clever art of reality control.
Ignorance is strength, THEY tell you.
Controlled insanity is THEIR goal.
The more powerful THEY become,
The less THEY prove to be your friend.
It’s NOT about what’s good for the people.
Power is NOT a means but an end.
War is declared on language and memory.
Inconvenient facts are rejected.
Science is reviled, and THEY
Discredit people once respected.
Doublespeak narrows the range of thought.
By caving in you might survive.
Two and two make four, but sometimes
THEY’LL say that two and two make five.
Opinions are not tolerated.
Protective stupidity: that’s THEIR plan.
You think THEY can’t control your thoughts,
But, oh, THEY can. THEY really can.
Do you look at your screen, or does
Your screen look at you? Or Both?
Do you know how much THEY know
Or if THEY know you’ve kept your oath?
Who’s the next to be vaporized?
Who’s the next to become an unperson?
As long as THEY control your “thinking,”
Everything can only worsen.
If only to awaken from the nightmare
Where truth becomes a likelihood
And we retain humanity!
Wouldn’t that be “doubleplusgood”?
1https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/116339/new-record-40000-jews-gather-in-hebron-to-celebrate-rebirth-of-city/?fbclid=IwAR1ENYECTFkPGxBB16I5oIcYVRU7iFSoZSzjE52nP5XLhX3yPJO4KQs4TnM and https://worldisraelnews.com/tens-of-thousands-celebrate-the-sabbath-in-hebron/?fbclid=IwAR3ohwOz_QtK8ZSKNlxggdf9v14vReWeZC7ml0gCixBngQlgTJZ7knUMakA