OCCUPIED #HEBRON / #AL-KHALIL
Hebron / Al-Khalil is the second largest city in the West Bank and the largest in the southern West Bank, located 32 kilometers south of Jerusalem.
The city of Hebron has an estimated total population of 200,000 inhabitants.
Approximately 40,000 Palestinians live in the Old City. Around 400-850 Israeli settlers reside in the core of the city; an additional 8,000 settlers reside in the Kiryat Arba settlement, on the outskirts of Hebron.
Hebron is a sacred site for all three Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) due to the belief that the biblical prophet Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried together with Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah in the place where the Ibrahimi Mosque (Tomb of the patriarchs) is built. The Old City of Hebron grew around this important monument.
Due to its religious significance, Hebron became a stronghold for the religious extremists within the settler movement, including Gush Emunim (‘Bloc of the Faithful’) and semi-underground organisations such as Kach and Kahane Chai (‘Kahane Lives’), which played a major role in initiating and developing the settlements in Hebron. After the massacre in the Ibrahimi Mosque, they were designated terrorist organisations .
Hebron is the only Palestinian city with Israeli settlements in the middle of it. They are built in and around the Old City, which traditionally served as the commercial center for the entire southern West Bank.
Hebron’s fundamentalist settlers, influenced by the thought of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, are characterised by their extreme ideologies and literal interpretation of religious texts. They are united in their belief that the Land of Israel is “the spatial center of holiness in the world” and that Hebron and the rest of the West Bank is considered Jewish by divine right.
For this reason they agreed that the sanctity of the land must prevent the receding of the territory conquered during the 1967 war. They fully believe in the importance of their role to colonize and live in the occupied land. They are united in their objective of restoring the Jewish life and expanding the Jewish community in Hebron.
Nowadays the most radical settlers live in Hebron’s Old City illegally, contributing to the transformation of the Old city into ghost town.
The settlemets are considered illegal in according to the Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population in the territory it occupies.”