On Saturday afternoon, Israeli settlers from illegal settlements in Hebron, in the southern West Bank, entered the old city of Hebron accompanied by a large number of Israeli soldiers. The group of settlers and armed soldiers walked through the streets of the old city, creating fear and frustration for the Palestinian residents living there.
The streets of the old city of Hebron are normally home to lively neighborhoods and bustling market-places.
But on Saturdays, the Israeli settlers carry out their weekly after Sabbath tour in the city. During this hour long intrusion into the Palestinian neighborhoods, the settlers are accompanied by Israeli soldiers for what are said to be security reasons.
The normal sounds of children playing and old men conversing over a cup of tea or a game of backgammon were replaced by the soldiers shouting orders, and the loud barking of the dog the soldiers brought with them.
Around five in the afternoon the settlers and the soldiers entered the old city through the gates of H2, the Israeli controlled area of the old city. The group then started walking around the Palestinian neighborhoods, led by a male settler who guided them to what he described as important Jewish sites.
The group stood close to shops and houses, often causing the people working there to leave temporarily.
As the group proceeded through the streets, the Palestinian inhabitants had to get out of the way by taking alternative routes. Two boys were instructed to pull their lemonade stand away from the settlers. Women carrying their groceries hesitated at the sight of the group blocking their way, with some veering immediately to take a longer way home.
In the city of Hebron, less than 500 settlers guarded by more than 1000 soldiers, established settlements on Palestinian land in the middle of a city of 150,000 Palestinians. The Israeli settlers frequently engage in provocations and violence against the Palestinian residents, including throwing stones, glass, and bleach on the Palestinian inhabitants. Palestinian residents also note their concern about the constant presence of Israeli soldiers at the numerous check-points within Hebron.