Monday, January 16, 2006

The Hotbed of Hebron

If you want to experience true political tension, Hebron is clearly the place to go.

The West Bank city is the final resting place of no lesser authority than the prophet Abraham. But it is also a city where Palestinian and Jewish ambitions and fundamentalists claims meet more clearly than in many others.

The city's Jewish settlements - including one heavily guarded right in the city center - has attracted an unusually fundamentalist population, wih few if any pretentions of wishing to live in peace with their neighbours.

The last few days have seen tensions escalating between these fundamentalist settlers and the Israeli soldiers there to guard them.

An officer is saying that "we are facing Jews who are conducting pogroms against Arab property." And that is something the Israel Defence Force will prevent as being illegal.

The Hebron tension illustrate the increasing tensions between a fundamentalist minority in Israel bent on confrontation at any cost, and a majority that is ready for a more realistic political course in the years ahead.

And on the Palestinian side there are the same divisions. Tensions have made Hebron a hotbed also for the Hamas political forces.

A place to watch.
Haaretz - Israel News - IDF, police gird for 1000s of Jews coming to Hebron