Shocking Life Inside the Most Tense City of Palestine S06 EP.69 | MIDDLE EAST MOTORCYCLE TOUR
Assalam Alekum My goodness.... Is that the right way? That wall you see marks the beginning of Israel. Looks like we have come all the way to the end.
Apparently this is the last house here. This place is known to have been purchased by Prophet Abraham (AS). You can see once again that there is a check post here. Assalam Alekum Everyone and Welcome Back to the Channel from Bethlehem Palestine Right now I'm standing in front of the Church of Nativity.
The one that I showed you in our last vlog. Today, I'm going to Hebron. Some people were staring at me in a way that made me think if I said something wrong. But they are gone now.
This is not an uncommon phenomenon in touristic places like these. People would start staring at you. Often times, it does make you uncomfortable. Anyways... Hebron is almost 40-45 minutes ride from here. It may take up to an hour to get there... depending upon the situation of traffic. The Arabic name of Hebron, as used by Palestinians, is Al-Khalil.
The famous Ibrahimi mosque is there. That is divided between Jews and Muslims; both getting their own sections. Today I'll try to show you the town and life of Hebron or Al Khalil. I'm staying with a Palestinian family there. Will visit the mosque if we get the permission.
I hope there won't be any problem with that because it's a famous place among tourists. So, let's start our ride from Bethlehem to Al Khalil. Bismillah... In the name of Allah... *Prayer for the journey* We pray to Allah for a safe and memorable ride. This is the old town of Bethlehem. It's small, beautiful and very touristic.
Not exactly the town... but the church is touristic for sure. Going through the streets of the old town to get to the highway. We are at a considerable altitude. That's why it's not too hot here. Must be somewhere between 35 - 38 degrees right now. But the air is a bit cold.
And that makes traveling here pleasant. However, traveling in the low altitude area near Dead Sea, is almost an impossible task. We are taking a different route from the one that we took while coming here. We may not need to cross any check post now.
Because Bethlehem is in Palestinian territory. And so is Hebron. So we may stay on a Palestinian road throughout this ride.
That is, we may not need to take any Israeli road at all. That's how I feel it's going to be. This is the Hebron and Jerusalem road. But this is a Palestinian road. Well Well... I can still see an Israeli flag here. Honestly, I'm not sure which area I'm traveling through right now.
I've been riding here for almost 12 days now. I can't say I was ever certain about my location while going through check posts and borders. Except for the time when I went through the main check post to go to Jerusalem. As for right now, I thought I was in Palestinian territory.
But I'm sure there must be some settlements over here as well. There's the settlement... along with its associated check post. There were army personnel at the check post. When you see army personnel at a check post and there's a bus stop nearby...
These are some of the signs of a Jewish settlement... from what I saw during my stay here. We are re-entering the Palestinian territory now. I can identify a Palestinian territory from these boards. The road to settlement was on the left side. I waved at them... I don't know if they would mind that.
They were looking at me with keen eyes. I have experienced another thing here. As soon as you enter the Palestinian territory, the condition of the roads get worse. The road up till this point was fine. But now, we can see more and more broken sections on the road. I mean it still works for the people.
But the difference is too prominent to ignore. Lets see... Well... that looks like.... a thorough check point. Assalam Alekum I'm a tourist.
I think there must be some problem here. We have reached Al Khalil now. Or it may be the periphery area outside the city.
The navigation suggests that we still need to go another 8 km to reach the city center. That's where I've booked an apartment. 8 km seems too much for a small city like this. That's why I think we are still in the periphery. The main population starts here...
This whole area is controlled by Palestinian authorities. Or in other words... Category A. Because in the categories B and C, you mostly see the Israeli police on duty. But here we saw the Palestinian police. Here, you will mostly see Palestinians people and very few tourists. Because the holy site of Ibrahimi mosque is important only for Jews and Muslims.
And Jews don't come to these areas. They travel by their own roads from their territory. And there aren't too many Muslim tourists here. That's what I felt. That may be the reason for so few tourists here. Here we have grape vines.
So full of fruit. I can hardly see anything due to direct sunlight. But these vines are so full of grapes. We are now riding through the streets of the old town.
This road goes to the Ibrahimi mosque. I remember walking down this road to go to the city. My goodness... Narrow escape The guy just opened his car door without noticing a fast approaching motorcycle. This is Al Khalil old town. Take a look at these houses.
Some of them are newly constructed. While others are old constructions... I saw a board about the visitors center.
Trying to stay on the right track. Good Lord That has to be the right way. Doesn't look like that. We have to get back from here.
That's not the right way.... undoubtedly. Even the navigation is lost now. We should have gone southwards. That's the correct way.
This is in fact pedestrians' way. We better get out of here if we don't wanna get stuck. We need to get to the main road.
Let's see how we can get there. I think we are back on track. This is the old town market...
Apparently closed right now. No shop is open. I have a feeling that we are lost again... We are not too far from our destination but... This hotel? Yes.
This side. Ok you understand? Yes. That's Palestine? Or Israel? This is Palestine. This ride is turning out to be an adventure. Let's see where it takes us now. Martyrs' Street.
Where is it..??? That's Israel. It's beyond my comprehension. That's Israeli area.
An Israeli soldier can be seen on duty. I think this is the Martyr's street. That's where I have my booking. Lets park here and try to get in touch with them.
We are going through the bazaar. Pakistan. Iran. Iraq. Kuwait. Saudi Arabia. Jordan. Really? Yes. Must be quite an adventure. This right here is more like an adventure to me. Better clear the path for the car.
You need to go that way. That wall in front of us marks the beginning of Israel. We have come all the way to the end. I think that last house is the one. The second last one. Wall This street is for the Muslims.
OK. Thank you. You are welcome. If you need any information, you need to go to the information center.
That's where we met you. Okay. Thank you very much. Abrar Hassan. You are welcome. I'm Ramy. Nice meeting you Ramy. Assalam Alekum How are you? I'm good. Alhamdulillah. Praise be to Allah.
This is where I'm staying in Hebron. A Palestinian family has built a small room on their rooftop. You can see that it's not for some luxury vacation.
Rather it's for the experience. In order to have an idea about the lives of these people in the middle of settlements. That's precisely why I chose this. The family is really nice and they are taking good care of me. I have requested them to share their story with me.
If they do, I'll definitely share it with you... in this vlog or the next one. I paid 30 dollars for a night here. It's a small room with 4-5 beds.
So, there may be more people living here. But for today, I was the only one here. Let's get down there. And explore the old town of Hebron. Then we'll go to the Ibrahimi mosque.
I'll also try to get some recording from the settlement area on the other side. I'm in the old town of Hebron at the moment. I haven't seen a more... An almost dying place... Most of the shops are closed.
That's because nobody comes to this side due to the check post. Locals from this side only go as far as the mosque. So, most of the people stay in the city. You'll hardly see locals in the old town.
Tourists come here only rarely. I'm sitting here with Abu Noor in his shop. He lives directly across the settlement.
You can feel a tension in the air. Must be on my face as well. Tamim asked me why I wasn't smiling.
My mind is focused about the video and the situation around me. A settlement is right in front of us. All the shops down there are closed.
Hardly any tourist to be seen. While we are sitting here, they have ordered this for me. That's falafel. Lets try this falafel and then we'll see this shop. I'd like to buy something ... to be a little helpful. If you get a chance to be here... Do visit Hebron and its old town.
And try and support as much as you can. This is the Ibrahimi mosque; a very holy site for Muslims and Jews. This place is known to be purchased by Prophet Abraham (AS) so that he and his family members may be buried here after their deaths.
That's why, here you will see the graves of Prophet Abraham (AS) and his wife Sarah (AS), Prophet Isaac (AS) and his wife Rebekah (AS), Prophet Jacob (AS) and his wife Leah (AS). Other than that, Prophet Joseph (AS) is also believed to be buried here. And there are many other similar spots here. These spots appear like graves but actually they are empty.
There isn't any grave. There is also a cave here that is called Cave of Patriarchs. There are small holes there, through which you can see the cave. You can see light in the cave. The light is coming from small olive oil lamps. It is believed that the actual graves are down that cave.
And the grave spots in the mosque are just empty. The grave of Prophet Abraham (AS) and his wife is divided between Jews and Muslims. Before 1967, this mosque was totally under Muslim control.
But later on, it was divided and now both Muslims and Jews have their own halves. Non-Muslim tourists can visit both sides. But Muslims can only visit the Muslim side.
I'm not allowed to visit the other side. I think Jews can't visit this side either. There are 10 days in the year when Muslims have complete control over the mosque. Similarly, Jews have their 10 days as well.
Those 10 days in a year include 4 Fridays of Ramadan... Shab e Meraj and Shab e Barat... Two days of Eid and first day of Islamic calendar.
That accounts for the 10 Muslim days. That's when the Muslims can visit the whole area. The mosque has witnessed a bloody massacre in 1994. A Jewish settler from the US, who was a physician and worked in the Israeli Army...
Killed 29 Muslims in this mosque with his machine gun, during the month of Ramadan. Many more people sustained injuries. Subsequently, he was captured and then killed by the people. Following that, a lot of protests erupted. Another 25 Muslims were martyred during those protests.
Furthermore, the mosque was closed for Muslims for almost 8 months. Even today, this is considered to be a very sensitive area. I will also give you a view from the outside. As for the interior of the mosque, it's very simple. You can still see a thousand year old pulpit from Saladin. Lets sit here for some time and offer prayers.
Then I'll share the outside area with you. I've come to the settlers side now. The place looks very deserted at the moment. This part of the settlement is right next to the Martyrs street. This used to be the main street here.
The old market used to be here. However, today 99% of these shops are closed. This area got deserted when the Palestinians were expelled from here. And people were forbidden to come here. You have to go through a thorough checking before you can come here. You are asked if you are a Muslim or a non-Muslim.
And if you are a Muslim, you are not allowed to visit the mosque from this side. But you can visit the other areas. Here you can see around 500 settlers in the city. Outside the city, there's a very large settlement by the name of Qarya Aaba'a.
It was the first settlement in this area. In order to protect and secure the 400-500 settlers in the city... almost 2000 army personnel have been deputed here.
You can see a check post here after every few meters. This place has very tense vibes. I mean there are so many cameras here and you have to answer a lot of questions... Personally I feel really uncomfortable. Right across from here, on the other side of Martyrs street... you will see a Palestinian cemetery.
The whole area at the back is Palestinian. It's very saddening to see this area and these closed shops. The old town is a deserted place.
I've been walking and now I've reached the end of the Martyrs street. And once again, you can see a check post here. Right next to it, there are some houses, from where I could hear people speaking Arabic.
That means they must be Palestinians. I also saw some ladies... and the doors of their houses open in this street. That means whenever they have to go out of their house or come back to their house, they have to pass through the check post each time. It's very difficult for me to imagine having to pass through a check post to go to my own house. Even if you go out to shop for 5 minutes...
you'll have to pass through the check post. The forces can go through your grocery items... And they can refuse to let you take anything inside if they don't want to. The last time I was here, the army personnel on duty were quite nice.
They allowed me to go to the other area as well. However, this time they refused me straight away because of my religion. You can imagine the life of a common Palestinian in this city. Just think about their experience of passing through these check posts for everyday routine matters. Last time, I was here, I saw some Palestinian houses in this square.
There was a building here where a Palestinian family lived downstairs while an Israeli family lived upstairs. But this time, I can't seem to find that house. It is quite possible that it was demolished. Or the whole building could now be with Israeli settlers. Another thing to note is that there is no law and order security for the Palestinians living in this area.
There is neither any Palestinian nor any Jewish authority to take care of them. So if they happen to be in any incident or accident, there's nowhere they can go. Because there are not under anyone's jurisdiction.
That's what I came to know through the locals. Imagine having no authority to go to in case of any problem.