The Hebron Story

Entering the H2 area of Hebron one sees Israeli soldiers in teams, Palestinians working or walking in the streets, and once in a while a group of sneering settlers. This area of Hebron is known as one of the most violent areas in the West Bank because there are Jewish settlements within feet of Palestinian homes. After the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, Hebron came under Jordanian rule, which lasted until the Six-Day War in 1967. On the second day of the war, Hebron was taken over by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) without a single shot being fired. The first Jewish settlement, Qiryat-Arba, was established in 1968. This settlement with a current population of about 7,500, is considered the most militant settlement in the West Bank. In 1994, a radical settler Baruch Goldstein, opened fire on praying Muslims in the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpela, killing 29 and injuring about 133 Palestinians. In February 1997, The Hebron Agreement (part of the Oslo Peace Process) divided Hebron into two areas: H1, with 120,000 Palestinians to be regulated by the Palestinian Authority; and H2, originally inhabited by 30,000 Palestinians, was to be under Israeli military control. There were initially about 500 settlers in the old city in H2. The mandate of the Israeli military is to provide security to the several hundred settlers who live in H2. According to a B'tselem report on H2 and H1:

"Restrictions on Palestinian movement in H2 are among the harshest in the Occupied Territories. The Israeli army imposes curfews on Palestinians in H2, in response to violence by Palestinians and violence by settlers. Reports indicate routine daily aggression by security forces, including beatings, hurling of stun grenades, and theft of money and goods".

The UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) measured 102 obstructions to movements in H2. As a result of these conditions, many families have left; those remaining are Palestinians who have lived there for generations who don't want to leave their homes.  


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts