Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 4 Camp Day 10 -Hebron.

The campers arrived early morning at 7:00 am at the Ramallah Friends School for our journey to Hebron (Al Khaleel). On the way, we learned a lot about the surrounding settlements around Hebron, as well as the land confiscations. 

We visited the only Palestinian Koffiyeh (Palestinian scarf) in Palestine. We witnessed the production, took awesome pictures, and purchased original gifts from the factory. We met Mr. Hisham Sharabati from the Hebron Defense Committee, and he toured us through a Palestinian area surrounded by Kiryat Arba settlement and by the Israeli military/civil base in Hebron. We learned this settlement and the military base were built on Palestinian land. 

Later we went to Hebron Rehabilitation Committee center and we were given a presentation titled “Hebron Till when a Ghost City.” The presentation gave us an overview about the history of the city and about the effects of the occupation and illegal settlements in Hebron. The campers engaged in a productive conversation.

Then we went on a tour around the old city of Hebron and we witnessed the negative effects and the damage that the settlement/settlers cause on the Old City. We walked to visit the Ibrahimi Mosque were we faced some difficulties from the Israelis. The Israeli soldiers gave us a hard time and refused to let us enter  the mosque due to our Go Palestine camp t-shirts. They demanded that we either change the t-shirt or made sure that the word Palestine was covered before entering the mosque. After much discussion, we were able to cover up our camp t-shirts and entered the beautiful mosque. Some campers prayed, and we learned the history of the Ibrahimi mosque including the 1994 massacre. We then took a walk to "Shuhada Street," also known as "Apartheid Street," where Palestinians are forced to walk on one side of the street and Israeli settlers on another. We witnessed first hand the inequality, making it a very surreal experience. 

We then enjoyed some lunch at the Hebron
Rehabilitation Committee. After lunch, the campers enjoyed some free time to do some shopping in the old city. Then we went to a village called Tal Rnebeh, where we witnessed how settlers live with Palestinians and how the IDF soldiers protect the settlers. We later enjoyed some time playing with the children. After some fun time, we met with a Hebron resident who hosted us and briefed us on the village of Tal Rnebeh and about the general situation in Hebron, giving advice about how they could support and advocate for their issues while living abroad. 

Our last stop was the Hebron Glass factory, where the campers had a tour and bought some beautiful gifts for their loved ones. On our way back to Ramallah, we made a pit stop in the holy city of Bethlehem where we enjoyed delicious falafel sandwiches at the famous restaurant Aftimos. Yum! 

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