22 June, 2021

A Rough Road To Hebron

A dusty old town with a history of bitter conflict threatens to hold the West Asia peace process to ransom

A Rough Road To Hebron

AS one looks down on the dusty West Bank town of Hebron from the elevated Abu Sneineh observation point, it is difficult to believe that it has inflamed passions and put the brakes on the historic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. With its clusters of faded limestone buildings that blend into the surrounding Judean hills and narrow, dirt paths, Hebron is not a particularly impressive sight.

But the minaret of the Al-Ibrahimi mosque rising in the distance is a potent reminder of why Hebron is such an obstacle. A stone's throw away from this mosque is the Jewish quarter—the only one located in the heart of a Palestinian city. Israeli troops were supposed to have pulled out from 80 per cent of the area under control in Hebron eight months ago. And even though Israeli troops will continue to control 20 per cent of the town, the presence of a small Jewish population of 300 surrounded by 120,000 Palestinians has complicated the situation in no small measure. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing for various...

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