Occupation is not an inevitability

History is around every corner in al Khalil/Hebron, reminding us that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is temporary—and will be overcome.
abandoned shops on Shuhada street where the Israeli occupation has turned downtown Hebron into a ghost town

Al Khalil/Hebron is a city of history. Although not as well-known as Jerusalem, Hebron is the traditional birthplace of all Abrahamic faiths. Tradition holds that it was the site of Abraham’s first purchase of land after he had left Mesopotamia and that the Cave of the Patriarchs in the heart of the Old City lies on the burial cave of Abraham and his family. Even today, ancient history plays a key role in the city’s present circumstances. Caught between different narratives of the past, Hebron is an embattled city. Ideas of Hebron’s ancient and distant past shape how the Israeli occupation and settler-colonial project continue to be carried out and intensified in the city. However, there is more to Hebron’s history than the far-off past of Father Abraham and King David. 

I have never been to a city where the memories of the more recent past are as apparent and palpable as in Hebron. The memories of Hebron before the 1967 war are everywhere. The Old City’s souks are dripping with history and memory. The busy workshops making glass and ceramics preserve cultural practices, and the family homes write memoirs of ten generations. The sacred mosques and the olive presses, the cobbled streets and old vegetable markets. Even the buildings no longer owned by Palestinians, behind barbed wire and barricades in the Old City, tell a story of what was. Every elder has stories of what life was like in Hebron before the occupation. Before the settlements, the barbed wire, the restricted streets, and the soldiers.

Memory is an invaluable thing. It reminds one of what has been. It shows us that what currently is, is not what must be. The memories of Hebron that are alive in the bricks and streets and in the people of the city show us that occupation is not the natural state of Hebron. Occupation is not an inevitability. Hebron existed long before the occupation, and the city and its people will outlast it.

Let us pray for the people of Hebron to never forget their history. Let us pray that the memories of Hebron before the occupation are kept alive. Let us pray for the work of historical preservation in the Old City and for the work that organizations, academics, and journalists do in recording the stories of Hebron’s elderly. The past reveals that apartheid and oppression are not how Hebron has always been and shows us that it need not be in the present or future. Let us pray that the flickers of the past will be a guiding light to the city’s future and for all of Palestine. 

Read More Prayers

Trainees at the CPT and Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery training act out a position of power.

Peacemakers train to accompany Oak Flat

Members of the Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery are training to accompany Apache Stronghold in prayer and action to protect Oak Flat (Chi’chil Biłdagoteel), a sacred site, from destruction by Resolution Copper.

Septermber Supper Fundraiser

Will you host a dinner party for CPT?

CPT really needs your support in raising $10k in September. Unfortunately, we are behind our financial targets and need your help. We want to dedicate the month of September to bringing people together around the dinner table. You can choose the date, who you invite and what you cook (though our teams have some great recipes prepared!) We’d love to hear if you’d be interested. 

There’s no commitment needed at this stage.

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