Tag Archives: west bank

Images of the West Bank – A SmugMug Journal

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A photo journal of images of the West Bank

I have selected a variety of photos from the West Bank and put them into a album to illustrate the diversity and similarities of the West Bank.  I did not visit the entire West Bank, and thus have no photos from the north, in places like Nablus, but these photos capture Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah,  Jericho, and the roads in between.  Many of the photos were taken from inside the buses I was riding in.  Some are of higher quality than others, but all in all, this provides a nice perspective on the differing landscapes.   Click on  any of the photos to enter the gallery.


 

Dueling narratives. Competing victim stories. The cognitive dissonance that is Hebron.

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Dueling narratives. Competing victim stories.   Cognitive dissonance. Surreal.   These are the words that capture a day spent in the second oldest city in the world, one of the most contested places in Israel/Palestine, and truly, a key home for monotheistic religion. Hebron.   A city of 350,000 in the southern West Bank, Hebron is home to the Avriham Mosque, the Abrihim Synagogue, and the “Tombs of the Patriarchs,” all in the same building – a mosque / synagogue built in the days of Herod, and a 1/10 scale re-creation of the second temple.   The caves underneath it are believed to house the tombs of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Isaac, Ruth, Leah – the patriarchs of Judaism and Islam. In Judaism, Hebron is the second most holy site after the Western Wall. In Islam, it is the fourth most important religious site. It is also a city that includes 11 Jewish settlements, including Avraham Arivu, which is right in the middle of the city.   Its mosque/synagogue is divided into a Muslim part, and a Jewish part. Neither have access to the other side, and according to the Hebron Wye River Accords of 1997, Jews have full access to the building 10 days of the year, and Muslims, for another 10 days.   It is the ONLY religious site I have ever visited (mosque/synagogue/church), in which there are armed checkpoints to enter, as well as armed soldiers throughout the facility.

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Hebron has several thousand Jewish settlers, dating back to the very first west bank settlement, Kiryat Arba, which began in 1968. The city had a small Jewish population during the British Mandate period, and as the resting place of Abraham and Sarah, has always been an important part of Judea. Until the 1920s, there was relative coexistence, but it all un-raveled in 1929, when 67 Jews were massacred by Arabs, and the Britsh drove the remaining Jews from the city. The city was the site of a brutal murder, in 1994, when 14 Muslims were killed INSIDE the mosque by an Israeli soldier. The 1997 peace accords divided the city into two zones, H1, and H2. H1 is entirely Palestinian, and under Palestinian control. H2 is Jewish, but has a 20% Palestinian population, is entirely under Israeli control.   The history is complex, and I do it a dis-service.

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The West Bank – Day 1

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In many ways, my trip to Israel is a fact-finding mission, and effort to meet with as many different people with different views, and to observe the various nuances of the “conflict.”   So far, I have spent time with Israeli-Arabs, with secular Jews, with Peace Organizations, I have toured a kibbutz, have chatted with students at a Yeshiva at the Western Wall. Today I shifted towards two days focused on the West Bank. Today’s trip was a 10 hour journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, Jericho, and Ramallah.

We began at the Abraham Hostel and left around 8:10am.   There were about 15 of us in total on the tour, and we drove south on the Hebron Road towards Bethlehem, and when we crossed into the West Bank, our tour guide met us on the side of the road. He is not an Israeli citizen, and thus, can not travel into Jerusalem. He began in jest by saying welcome to the “terrorist state.” I am not sure people thought it was funny. I didn’t. And then he quickly went to work, talking about his life, and talking about the places we were seeing.

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