In general, journalists aren’t accepted in Hebron’s old city, which is full of symbols and hatred.
FRANCE 24 spent several days on Al Suhada Street, known for the longest curfew in the history of the West Bank. Since 2001, the street has been “sterilized,” meaning that all its stores have been shut down following a decision by the Israeli army. Worse yet, Palestinians are forbidden from being anywhere near the street. To protect the settlers, Palestinians don’t have the right to walk in front of certain Jewish homes. At the outset, the Israeli army had taken such steps so as to stop the infernal cycle of violence and reprisals between the settlers and the Palestinians. But what was supposed to be temporary became permanent. As a result Al Suhada Street, as well as the Casbah of Hebron, are deserted and devoid of all human activity.
Deserted Al Suhada street, Hebron
For the last several months, Israeli society has become more conscious of the scope of the damage. A group of former soldiers of Hebron have founded the organisation 'Breaking the Silence'. Their goal? To show, explain and denounce. To say loud and clear that military protection of settlers isn’t worth it, that the settlers are violent and force the army and the State of Israel to operate outside the law. Because Hebron is a lawless area, where soldiers regularly witness settlers breaking the law without having the right to intervene.
A soldier from Tsahal surveiling an empty street in Hebron
The police try to prevent ‘Breaking the Silence’ from entering the city. Arrests and deportations are frequent. FRANCE 24 was with the organisation’s founder when he was arrested and deported back into Israel from Hebron despite Israeli Supreme Court authorisation. Another NGO, B’tselem, has chosen to “arm” Palestinians with video cameras, allowing residents of Hebron to film the troubles they face.
Here is FRANCE 24’s investigation in the city that brings together many of the players in the Israeli-Palestinian drama.
To watch Lucas Menget and Karim Hakiki' s report, click on 'play video'.