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360 video: tension in the heart of holy Hebron

Hebron is one of the most volatile places in the occupied West Bank.

On the terrace of a Palestinian house, you can’t really see the Israeli soldiers who are all around in huge numbers. Yet they are not so far away.

Nor are the 1,000 or so Jewish settlers who live, under close protection, among a Palestinian population of more than 200,000.

Full military control of the Old City has meant sweeping restrictions for Palestinians, says the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem. It says they are subject to a ‘separation by discrimination’ policy, resulting in them gradually abandoning this part of the city.

A holy site in central Hebron is a key source of tension.

One half is known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their wives, are believed to be buried. Muslims call the shrine the Sanctuary of Abraham, where the Ibrahimi mosque stands. Palestinians complain their access there is hindered by checkpoints.

The religious heritage of the city has made it a focal point for settlers, who are determined to expand the Jewish presence. This – and the military clampdown that comes with it – infuriates Palestinians, fuelling the spiral of violence that continues to tear these two people’s apart.

Some 30 km south of Jerusalem, the divided city of Hebron, for all its beauty and history, is at the very core of a conflict that still has no end in sight.


with Reuters

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