Throughout Palestine, one can find three religions intertwined. Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Hebron however, is virtually only Muslim. Muslims pray five times a day. Before dawn, midday, afternoon, just after sunset and at night. Shaban who I have been with the last few days stops and goes to the nearest mosque. Today however when I was with Muhammad and Omar, they washed their hands, face and feet as is required; faced Mecca and prayed. After I did some research, it turns out that as such Muslims only have to go to a mosque Friday for the noon prayer as Friday is the holy day.
As Muhammad and I spent more time with each other, I decided to continue asking him about the tensions between Israel and Palestine. I started off by asking him whether or not he felt safe. He hesitantly answered yes, but added that he only felt very safe in Hebron itself. What worried him was the concept that the Israeli army could march into Hebron whenever they liked and cause havoc. The scary idea of this scenario is the fact that legally Palestine as such can't do anything about it, as they are on Israeli land.
What struck me was that he said: "well that's life". To me and the majority of people in this world living in a place scared of war isn't just 'oh well, shit happens'. I was shocked by this statement, and it stuck with me. The reality of things is that his generation and especially my father's generation lived right through it. In 1994 an American-Israeli terrorist committed the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre killing 29 people and injuring a total of 125 wounded. Shaban, Muhammad's uncle was wounded, and Shaban's brother was killed. This illustrates just how real the fear is, for the Palestinians. This attack was only 22 years ago, and since then many more have been killed and injured. Both Shaban and Muhammad told me on separate occasions that they truly believe that the Israelis don't want peace; because if they did the problem would be solved because all they want is peace.
Throughout the last 6 days, what I have noticed is that the Palestinians are incredibly hard working. The majority of people work 7 days a week, and long days at that. I also questioned Muhammad about this. He explained that Palestinians can't go to many places over the weekend as their travel is very limited. Thereby they often continue working, as they are strong believers that hard work and dedication brings success; and throughout the entire culture one really can tell how deeply they believe in this idea.
Muhammad says that he is happy here, and sees a future here; however, I just struggle to understand how much one must believe in the country and their rights to continue to live in such a tense situation.