Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Souk Images

Bab al Sawee, shortly before the souk (Souk: commercial quarter in the old city).

The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee is trying to reconstruct the old city, to safe the heritage old buildings and create jobs.
One project is the horse carriages, supposed to take tourists around town.

Grid screens are protecting the pedestrians from stones and garbage, which are often thrown down to the souk from the settlements above.

Many shops in the souk are closed due to security reasons since before the first intifada.
After the massacre in the Ibrahimi Mosque 1994, when 64 Palestinian believers got assasinated, the old vegetable market, Shuhada Street and most of the shops in the old souk were closed down by the Israeli Army.

Sentinels on the rooftops are always part of the picture.

The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee is restoring this square in the old city, founded by the Swedish Development Bank.

Never leave a construction site unattended...

Soldiers returning from patrol. There is a casern at the square, also occupying part of the souk and with an exit to Shuhada street on the other side.

One of the souk´s dead ends - serving as football ground. The part of Shuhada Street where no Palestinian citizen is allowed to move on - not per foot, not per vehicle - is right on the other side of the wired fence.

View from the Al Uwewe family´s roof.

We got called to the Al Uwewe´s as settlers (coming from the white building opposite) were trying to throw the family´s water tanks off the roof. The buildings are so close together, it only takes a few steps to cross.

Since the settlers were gone by the time we reached, I tried to speak to the soldier on the roof across, inquiring whether he had seen or done anything.
His reply before he went into the cabin to not return as long as we were around, was: " I am not authorized to speak to you".

The Uwewe´s are a family which has lost several sons in clashes with settlers and soldiers. The attic room which I remember visiting in 2008 with Abu Hassan on one of his political tours, had been burned down by the settlers some month ago.

Burned reminders...

...and one happy little girl showing me around. I don´t know how she manages to stay a curious, vivid child in these surroundings.

Settlers and soldiers are never far from each other. There is a military camp on the roof of this settlement building. It´s hard to get better shots, as of course we´re not getting more popular for taking pictures of military facilities.

This is the view from the Quenebe family´s house in the souk:
Soldiers on one side,

the settlement on the other side.

The building on the left is a settlement and the settlers throw their garbage down on the souk, water and urin through their neighbours windows. I tried to take a picture through one of the settlements kitchen windows, but didn´t get a satisfying result. My aim was to show the western style equipped home, which is a strong contrast to the living conditions of the Palestinian families living in the souk.

At the end of the souk there is another checkpoint, which is the first of three to pass when attempting to enter the muslim side of the Ibrahimi Mosque.

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