In the middle of Hebron, volunteers and activists built a kindergarten. Even a kindergarten, an attempt to bring a small piece of normalcy to the area, has turned into a target for the army, police and settlers.
Text and photos by Dana Direktor / ‘The Hottest Place in Hell’
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The State of Israel offers compulsory education from the age of three. But for the residents of the H2 area of Hebron, under Israeli control, there are no educational institutions. Period. Thus, a Palestinian child has two options: pass a few checkpoints on the way to school, or stay at home. The farce which surrounded the long-overdue establishment of a kindergarten in H2 can teach us about the situation in Hebron in a time of relative calm.
Hebron could serve as a museum for the occupation. It is the only city in the occupied territories in which Jews began settling from 1968, with the consent of every Israeli government. The place is so messed up that settlers live in an IDF base in the heart of the city (which is made up of approximately 750 Jews and 175,000 Palestinians). Several tens of thousands of Palestinians live in H2, which is under direct Israeli control. It has become a ghost town, a city of enclosure, an island of insanity. The residents must find creative solutions, such as climbing on roofs, in order to get home – even the elderly among them. Even the children – the same ones who are supposed to be in kindergarten.
Those who are trying to look out for the children is an organization by the name of “Youth Against Settlements,” which was established by a group of Palestinian residents of Hebron who oppose violence and work for the betterment of H2′s Palestinian residents, to enable them to live as much of a normal life as possible. There are no municipal services, and to a great degree, the organization’s volunteers make sure to fill that gap. They remove trash and paint and fix homes. According to Issa Amro, a resident of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood and activist in Youth Against Settlements, the organization found a home that was abandoned by a Palestinian family that moved to H1 in March 2013. With the...Read More