This morning I landed at Tel Aviv airport at 03:00 am Israeli time after flying from London Heathrow the previous evening. Great start to the tour being surrounded by a plane full of Israeli Jews. These people are some of the most ignorant people that I have ever met. They treated the flight crew like they were lower than something you scrap off your shoe.
It seemed a very long flight being made to feel like the scum of the earth for 4hrs and for the 2 hours in the airport.
I finally got to Jerusalem and found which bus to take to get to Bethlehem Crossing 300. At this check point the guards were surprisingly helpful, they just opened a gate so I could get through with my suitcase. They did not even look at my documents just said have a good day sir.
Finally arrived in Hebron after being on the road for almost 24 hours and met my friend Tamer Khaib, who is a Hebron tour guide and is kindly allowing me to stay at his home for the duration of my stay.
So what have I done today?
Well for someone who thinks he is fit I started off strongly but as the day progressed I started to suffer. I honestly believe that I have walked up every hill in Hebron. Between walking and not sleeping much on the flight it gradually took its toll and I ended up lagging behind and finally admitting defeat and cutting the day short.
Before I got to that stage I was taken for a tour of Hebron and have seen the true brutality of the Israeli Occupation Forces, not through violence but through how they are oppressing the people of Hebron.
I saw armed forces, who didn’t look old enough to be out by themselves, who basically intimidate the people by there presence. I have sent streets gated off by the Israeli so that the can turn areas into settlements. I was taken down a street where all the shop doors had been welded shut by the Israeli Occupation Forces. At the end of this small road was a Israeli settlement guarded by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Tamer told me that he could not go past a certain point in the street without fear of being shot because he is Muslim. He told me that I would be alright to walk past the settlement because I am British.
When we walked back up the street t the opposite end was a check point which we had to exit separately because the exit scanned you for weapons. There are numerous blockades and checkpoints through out Hebron and around every checkpoint the buildings are empty and becoming rotten because people were removed from them so that no one could use the buildings for terrorism against the Israeli Occupation Forces.
We walked alot of the way around Hebron and the stories and facts that Tamer was telling me highlighted the plight of the Palestinians. The injustices that I have heard about are nothing short of criminal but go on with out true justice being handed out in fact to where the Israeli Authorities actually praise their forces for killing, maiming and arresting Muslims what ever their age or gender.
Today has been a real eye opener for me, as someone who is safe 99% of the time in the United Kingdom, the way that this part of the West Bank has been reduced to nearly a third world country. The impact it is having on the people, the commercial industries and the day to day life of Hebron is disgusting and demoralising.
Seeing these things for real are a vast contrast to what you see on YouTube. Yes the place has its dark side like everywhere else but the people are being so suppressed that the Israeli Occupation is taking its toll on every walk of life.
Tomorrow is the demonstration for the 24th Anniversary of the Hebron massacre back in 1994. So I will be reporting on that and getting some video and stills from it and I will upload it tomorrow night.
I hope you have all enjoyed this article and hope you are along for the ride for the next week.