If you are interested on getting accurate knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I invite you to visit the city of Hebron. I beg there’s no other place in which this conflict is more alive and present than in the city of Hebron. Hebron is a city in the West Bank, which 80% it’s controlled by the Palestinian Authority (also called H1 part) and the 20% by the Israelis (called H2 part).
WHICH IS THE RELEVANCE OF THE CITY OF HEBRON?
In order to get a better understanding of what is going on in the city of Hebron, I’d firstly recommend you to read about the conflict. Books like: Politics and Government in Israel, will get you into deep understanding of the historical roots of the conflicts as well as the historical relationships between the State of Israel and Palestine.
Secondly and as a quick introduction, I’d like to tell you that the city of Hebron is considered by the Jewish people, as the second most holy place according to the Jewish religion (being the first Jerusalem), as it is where the Cave of Patriarchs is. The jewish people defend the argument that they were in that city historically before the palestinians and that is why palestinian people should leave (under their point of view) that territory.
Meanwhile, for the palestinian population the city has the Ibrahimi Mosque, a relevant holy site for the muslim religion. What palestinian people defend, is that they were living in Hebron since ever, and therefore it is their right to stay in the territory. As you could notice there’s a huge discrepancy between the two sides of the conflict, which turns out very difficult to solve it.
Nowadays, Israel continues exercising its military power on the area in order and aims to take control every time over more parts of the territory of the city, in spite of the resistance of the majority of palestinian people.
HOW TO GET TO THE CITY OF HEBRON?
First of all, you can go to Hebron for a day trip or stay for the night as well. I've spent total of 2 nights there. 2 nights and 3 days that felt the most intense ever. 2nights and 3 days that changed my life for ever.
From Tel Aviv:
If you are traveling to the city of Hebron from Tel-Aviv you can take the bus 405 to Tel-Aviv central bus station direction Jerusalem. The bus only costs 17 shekels – around 4€, and takes around 50 mins journey. Once you get into the Jerusalem bus station, you’ll need to take the bus number 381. The bus departs every 30-40 mins towards Hebron city and that costs just 8 shekels (2€).
The journey takes one hour more, and it’s just 30km, but the bus just stops in many places around the West Bank. The total journey from Tel-Aviv will take you around 2h- 2.30h and costs you 6€.
The bus from Jerusalem will leave you in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs (one of the most holy sites of the city, which is in H2 -Jewish part of Hebron) and from where you can start the tour.So as you can see, it is not going to be an expensive trip, at least in terms of transport. I can already tell you that the city of Hebron is pretty cheap as well, as it is all the West Bank, where prices are 4 times lower than in Israel.
TOURS & PLACES TO SLEEP
Places to sleep:
If you plan to stay in Hebron at least for one night, I recommend you to stay at H2 Hostel ( which is actually placed in H1 – palestinian part of the city).
Whether you are staying at the hostel whether you’re only spending the day there, I recommend you to book a tour with Ghassan (he is the owner of the hostel).He really gives amazing tours and he explains the conflict from his perspective as a local who was born and raised in the city. The tour costs 100 shekels (25€) and takes around 2.30h.
It is a very complete tour as he will take you inside of the Ibrahimi Mosque, placed in the palestinian part, where the Abraham and Sarah tombs are. He also takes you around all the Old City, the markets, gets you inside local people houses… The tour in his cozy hostel.
The price of the night in the hostel is 50 shekels for a dorm, which is around 12€. But his hostel it’s actually more than a hostel, you will feel like home. Ghassan really treats his guests like if they were part of his family. That means, he will be doing anything he can in order to make you feel happy and comfy.
When I was there, he offered me and other guests dinner, he prepared shesha so we could all get the taste of the arabic culture, he prepared us coffee for the breakfast… Also, the best thing he will be offering to you it’s his time to talk about any aspect you want to know about the situation and life in Hebron. He will answer you to all the questions you might have about the conflict and also explaining it according to his experience. Very nice and recommendable
There’s also other tours you can book in Hebron, but you will be having a non-local tour guide and not contributing to the Hebron economy, which needs a push. If you think about it, the number of tourists that go there is very low due the unstable political and social situation. That makes the place not an attractive touristic destination. In Hebron, you can actually feel the tension between the two sides of the conflict (the israelis from one side, and the palestinian from the other).
They sometimes throw each other tear gas during the protests that normally took place on Fridays (but it can also happen during other days of the week as when I go there it was Sunday to Tuesday and the situation was pretty bad anyway). There’s sometimes shootings going on in these protests, the city itself it’s packed with checkpoints and military settlements.. So yes, if you want to help to the people who live in Hebron I recommend you to take a local tour guide. But in any case, the other options would be to take an Abraham tour which includes both visions: the Palestinian and the jewish and costs around 330 shekels, 75€.
SAFETY IN THE CITY OF HEBRON:
If you decide visiting Hebron, you have to bear in mind that you’re not traveling to the safest place on Earth. Below I write you some advices in order to avoid safety problems:
1) You will have to be sure you are not wearing anything that speaks about Israel, any sign referring to the country or to the jewish religion. Jewish people have restricted the entrance to the West Bank territories, risking their lives if doing so. If they see you are wearing anything related with the Jewish culture you might have a problem.
2) Try not to talk about Israel with any palestinian unless she/he is a very open minded person and it’s okay for her/him to talk about it.
3) If you are a women, wear discret. Especially if you are visiting a palestinian territory during the summer. In the arabic culture, women can not show their arms or legs. I recommend you to wear as much covered as you can. That way, you’ll avoid being incomodated by men.
4)If you plan visiting Hebron, avoid doing it on Fridays. Why? Because is the day where most protests take place and unfortunately some of them doesn’t end good. Also, when there’s protests the environment of the city gets more tense than it already is. And if you are a sensitive person you might not want to experience that.
EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT VISITING HEBRON ON A FRIDAY, keep in mind that still violent protests and some tragic events can happen. For example, I went there from Sunday to Tuesday. The conference in Bahrain was taking place in the following days. It was in this conference, where Donald Trump was proposing a “peace” agreement for the “Israel-Palestinian” conflict. But because of the distrust of that intention, and the “Annexation” p Israeli plans of “occupying all the West Bank”, protests took place. Palestinians went to the streets to protest and there was tear gas, fire, shootings and confusing moments.
If you are wondering where to eat while in Hebron, you’ll find many good kebab places. If you’re looking for typical arabic restaurants,I recommend you to check with the owner of the hostel. As he knows few nice places. But that is all. I don’t think you will be going to Hebron to eat. The tension of the place might take away your hunger. The most important thing you can do while in Hebron is to absorb the history of the conflict. See the israeli settlements, talk with locals, and learn as much as possible about the conflict.
Also check the Market from the Old city to the Modern part, they have good food with cheap prices as well.
And that will be all for now, so guys if you enjoyed the post and you think it was useful, I invite you to follow me on social media! 😃