Travel to West Bank: Hebron 2: the New City
Most Hebronites live outside the "arches," or old city. The new city is big but unattractive. Wedged into it from the north is Kiryat Arba, an Israeli settlement that is a thorn in the side of every peacemaker.
The city's expansion has been going on for a century. Here the camera is back at Ein el Askar, at the western end of the old city. Now, however, it looks away from the qussebah toward the oldest part of 20th century Hebron. The triangular building used to be a hotel, but now it's a shoe factory. Things are tense, because there are major Israeli construction projects nearby and the constant presence of Israeli security forces.
Money is in short supply, but prices are high and families grow inexorably. Additions are built without benefit of architect.
It's hard to talk about the niceties of design in a place where concrete blocks like these are stacked up to separate areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Palestinians themselves don't do their cities many favors, however. One company has the rights to erect pole signs at the entrances to all the major West Bank cities. On the approach to Hebron, the Marlboro Man in his own carcinogenic way helps fight population growth.
The pole is a two-facer. Here the view is north, towards Hebron's outskirts and the town of Halhul.
Meanwhile there is Kiryat Arba. Shortly after the 1967 war, Israeli fundamentalists nudged and pushed the government of Israel into allowing them to establish this settlement, now a town of some 6,500 people. It is for them, plus the couple of hundred who actually live in the Old City, that the Israelis have refused to return control of the Old City to the Palestinian Authority.
Few Hebronites enter Kiryat Arba, although some work in it. It's probably a good thing, for the sight of lawns like these would be almost an incitement in itself. Kiryat Arba, in short, has piped water, while the people in Hebron often do not.
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