How To See Palestine: An ABC of Occupation

H is for Hebron

Cities are the testing ground for what is now in formation. Worldwide, most people now live in cities, which have become the default global location. Cities have also been, since the time of Napoleon, the hardest place for counterinsurgency operations. The Israeli regime is trying to change that.

Hebron has become the front line of settler colonialism in Palestine. For Palestinians, the city is called خَلِيل  (al-Khalīl). The renaming prefigures the intent not just to dominate but to occupy the city.The settlers are expanding, street by street, using their mix of the carceral state, religion and military force. To visit Shuhada Street, formerly a shopping hub of the Palestinian neighborhood, you have to pass through a forbidding checkpoint. The street is closed, all Palestinian shops barred and sealed. Settlers and soldiers patrol to make sure you know who’s in charge. 

Although the street has been closed for years, it was nonetheless disturbing to see Stars of David painted on the closed doors, as if in active forgetfulness of those other times and places where such Stars were painted on Jewish shops to different ends. It's hard to know what the painters of these signs could have been thinking. You felt, as was obvious from the hostility shown to us by everyone there, that the settlers do not care in the slightest what the outside world thinks. They are locked into the struggle on the ground and there is no outside.
At that moment, a settler started to film us from the other side of the street with his phone. Losing my temper, I walked towards him, holding my phone so as to film him (watch here). He retreated, giving me a moment of victory, only to return with a soldier (here) a few moments later. Nothing was said but the point was made: we were photographing on their suffrance. We left in short order

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