The battle for hope in Hebron: the dual narrative tour

A loud bang permeates the air, reverberating through the empty spaces in the crowded desert city.

Hebron 2 in Hebron

We jump, but not too much.

A few hours earlier, our group of 13 had been warned in the afternoons that Palestinian protestors often take to the streets, and, in response, the Israeli army will fire something which emits a loud noise (our guide calls it a “sound grenade”) to back┬áthem off.

When the noise pierces the air, it doesn’t phase us; but it does phase our tour guide, Lena, who is Palestinian.

“OK, now I am scared, so we are going to leave and get you back over to the other side,” she says, hurrying us out of the heart of Hebron, one of the holiest cities in Middle East, through a gate, and back into the deserted Al-Shuhada Street.

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Behind the wall of Bethlehem

behind the wall of bethlehem and the israel palestine conflict

We see it before we even “arrive” to Bethlehem, a massive, concrete wall spanning as far as the eye can see, rolling up and down hills and into the horizon. On top of the wall rest lookout towers, barbed wire and remote-controlled machine guns.

As I pull the rental car I am driving up to the turn-off for the checkpoint, I am told I can’t drive into the town, I have to leave my car here. On this side of the barrier between two worlds.

So, I do.

Cody, Giselle and I leave the car, and when we cross through the metal detectors and a maze of walkways leading from freedom to another, reality hits me. Hard.

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