There are two fences in Hebron, one built by Palestinians to protect themselves from harm by settlers, and another built by settlers and the occupation forces to isolate and besiege the Palestinians.
As you walk in the alleys of any old town, you look at the buildings to the right and left, and the vertical extension pulls you down. As for Hebron (the southern West Bank), you will see in its alleys an iron fence built by the Palestinians to protect themselves and their visitors from attacks by settlers.
The barbed wire covering the streets and alleys of the Old City has become a draw for tourists who are keen to take pictures of it.
When we asked the notary of the executions in the courtyards of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and one of the residents of the area Raed Abu Rumaila about the fence, he said that part of it was built by the Palestinians to protect themselves and passers-by from settler attacks on them with stones and rubbish, especially with their control of the upper floors of old buildings.
Abu Rumaila explains – to Al-Jazeera Net – that there is another fence built by settlers and the occupation army to isolate the Palestinian neighborhoods from each other, as well as the houses and alleys between them.
Abu Rumaila, whose house is only 15 meters away from the Ibrahimi Mosque, is forced to turn long distances through barriers and wires to reach the mosque, and he talks about 1750 Palestinians in the area facing the same suffering, including 327 children and 17 people with special needs.
Litter and stones on the fence
Settlers’ attacks increase when the Old City is crowded with visitors during the month of Ramadan, and when Palestinians attend the Temple Mount for various religious events.
When we visited the area, we saw some stones and dirt on the fence, and we saw how the settlers built their mobile homes, “barakas”, on top of the old buildings after they controlled their roofs.
Imad Hamdan, director of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, describes all of this as a foreign body that not only attacks passers-by, but rather prevents the committee, by force of arms, from restoring historic buildings, under the pretext of protecting settlers and providing them with security.
The occupation prevents changing the type of nets in place to keep the alleys exposed to settlers and occupation soldiers who move on the roofs, and surveillance cameras are deployed to follow any development that the Palestinians make in the areas that remain for them.
As we wandered around the Old City, we reached an old Turkish bath that was restored from the inside, but its roof remained dirty due to the settlers ‘control over it and the Palestinians’ preventing them from cleaning it.
The situation has changed greatly in the past 27 years after the massacre of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as the occupation authorities allowed settlers to be present in the Old City, observing the movements of the Palestinians and attacking them, amidst a Palestinian determination to remain steadfast.