Hebron: Living a Stones Throw Away From God

â??They want my house because it is next door to them and from here they can control more of the market. But this house has been in my family since at least 1870, and they can offer me money from the ground to the sky: I won’t take it.â?

This was one story that had me hooked. Hebron is going to be the next “big” thing after Gaza now, the only difference is that the Israel settelers there are a bit extremist. Here are a few interesting excerpts from the article:

Nidal Awaimeh’s house could fetch a lot of money if the 35-year-old Hebron municipal worker is to be believed.

â??I was once offered $1 million,â? said Awaimeh yesterday, sitting in his living room at the top of this three-storey building. â??But I refused. There is no way I will sell this house.â?

Location, they say, is everything. And while Awaimeh’s house has its charm, it is its location that is teasing up the price. The house is right next to the Jewish settlement of Avraham Avinu, one of a cluster of small Jewish settlements in the heart of Hebron’s Old City that are home to some 450 Jewish settlers living among 130,000 Palestinians. And it is settlers that are keen on Awaimeh’s house.

On Sunday, said Awaimeh, masked young settlers climbed a roof between the two buildings, in full sight of an Israeli army post with soldiers â??who did nothing,â? and took over his top floor for a day.

…â??Hebron belongs to the Jewish nation,â? said Miriam Grabowski, 25. â??This land was promised us by God.â?

The mother of three and her husband converted one of the shops into a home four-and-a-half years ago. (â??It’s very comfortable. We have two rooms a bathroom and a kitchenâ?). She says she feels angry that the Israeli government is now trying to move her out.

â??I feel they are weak and that they forgot what we fought for in 1967 and 1948. This land belongs to no one person, it belongs to the Jewish people. They have forgotten this, but we still have the strength that comes from that understanding.â?

â??They [Palestinians] throw stones at us too. This is not their natural place. This land was promised to us. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a Palestinian nation. They have plenty of countries they can live in, all around us.â?

Awaimeh is not going anywhere. A father of eight, his wife is expecting again. He said he has lost two children, both babies, indirectly because of his neighbours. One died in 1998, when an ambulance was not allowed to come to his house by the Israeli army. The other died in 2001, when his wife, eight months pregnant, miscarried after inhaling tear gas. [full article]

Your Two Piasters: