Hebron, November 2015.
Since October 2015 Hebron (or Al Khalil in Arabic) was at the centre of a new wave of violence. In this city of southern West Bank settlers and Palestinians live in close proximity in the area around the Ibrahimi mosque, or the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site revered by both religions. Over the following months stabbing attacks and confrontations at Israeli army checkpoints occurred on a daily basis.
On November 1st, 2015 part of the Old town was declared closed military zone and since then only residents are allowed inside. I spent the month of November documenting how the on-going tensions are affecting the life of residents.
The recent unrest in the West Bank was triggered by disputes over the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem and resulted until now in over 140 Palestinians and 25 Israeli casualties. But Hebron has been for years the theatre of tensions between Palestinians and settlers. In 1997 the city has been divided into H1 area under Palestinian control and H2 under Israeli control. H2 is home to approximately 30,000 Palestinians and 500 Israeli settlers and around 2000 members of Israeli security forces.
Following 1994 massacre of 29 Muslims praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque by Israeli-American doctor Baruch Goldstein, part of H2 have been closed to Palestinian vehicles and non-resident, and the holy site partitioned into Muslim and Jewish areas. The heavy militarization led to the large-scale abandonment of the area by Palestinian residents and to the paralysis of commercial life. Over 40 per cent of the area's Palestinian homes had been abandoned and three-quarters of commercial establishments had been shut down.