Rajhad is looking out of the fence that protects her small school in central Hebron. The building is now built like a fortress following severe assaults by Zionist settlers in 2006, 2008 and 2009. In one instance, settlers set fire to the building while classes were taking place.
Like most children in the school, Rajhad has suffered heavy injuries from settler violence. The assailants are usually the children of nearby Zionist settlers, who throw stones at Palestinian children on their way to and from school. This usually happens under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers, who are ready to arrest Palestinian children but allow the settlers to operate with impunity.
With bitter irony, Rajhad says: ‘I want to beat a settler, so that they can be arrested like we are when settlers beat us.’
A pupil at the aforementioned school in Hebron that has suffered multiple arson attacks from Israeli settlers. She is showing her work: a picture of her ideal house.
Yunis, in his back garden where he was assaulted by Zionist settlers. His leg and arms were broken during a vicious assault on the family home. The ancient olive trees around the house were cut, and the building sprayed and vandalised. Yunis was three years old at the time.
His father, Hashem Al’azza, is a local leader of the nonviolent resistance to the settler movement. Few Arab families remain in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron due to settler violence and administrative action by the Israeli occupation. Hashem’s family is one of the last, and they are neighbours with a leader of the far-right Jewish Defence League.
Graffiti by the far-right ‘Jewish Defence League’ in Hebron reads ‘GAS THE ARABS’. The graffiti is located in the section of the city controlled by the Israeli military, where local Palestinians live under permanent martial law. No efforts have been made by the Israeli forces to remove these offensive words.
The violent racism of this message is symbolic of the actions of the settler movement in Hebron and other parts of Palestine. Palestinian children in Hebron are frequently attacked by Jewish settlers, to such an extent that an international mission has been set up to help walk children to and from school every day.
The failure of the military to remove this graffiti is likewise representative of the occupying army’s belligerence in the colonising mission. In many cases, soldiers have stood by an watched while settlers pelt school-children with stones. In other cases, soldiers inflict the violence upon the locals themselves. While many Palestinians have left the area, a number still hold on to their land and refuse to leave despite the ongoing violence and intimidation.
Shuhadah Street, Hebron. Once the centre of a bustling Palestinian commercial area, all the buildings on this street have been closed by Israeli occupation forces. The steel doors have all been welded shut, and Zionist settlers have graffitied the Star of David on many of the shopfronts. Here, a dog passes the time lying by a chair where a shopkeeper once would have sat.
A lone shoe hangs from exposed concrete in a part of Hebron city centre closed by the Israeli military.