Hebron was historically named after the prophet Abraham, who lived in in the city 6000 years ago. Since then, consecutive civilizations – Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Hyksos – inhabited the city until the Canaanite Arabs came and built most of its historical landscapes. The city has had many names over history, including City of Vineyards.
The city’s is located on the biggest mountain chain in Palestine, extending from Hebron to the Palestinian cost in the north, and from Beit Ummar to Al-Dhahiriyah in the south. The city’s mountainous landscape varies from heights of 300m in western areas to 1000m in the center of the governorate.
The governorate has a moderate Mediterranean climate. Average temperatures vary between 21 C in summer to 7 C in winter. Average annual rainfall reaches 589mm3. Hebron’s history extends back 7000 years. It is a holy city for the three monotheistic religions. It has monuments and shrines for a number of prophets and companions of Prophet Mohammad. It is home to the historic and religious, Ibrahimi mosque, where the shrines of prophets Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph lie next to the shrines of Sarah (Abraham’s wife) and Rifka (Isaac’s wife).
Timeline of Israeli Colonization of Hebron
1968 – Israeli citizens rent a hotel room in Hebron for 48 hours before declaring that they don’t intend to leave.
March 1970 – The Knesset approves the establishment of the Qiryat Arba settlement situated close to Hebron. This is the first settlement in the Hebron area.
1980 – Settlers from Qiryat Arba takeover homes in the city center that had previously been owned by Jews. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin does not remove the settlers.
1984 – Establishment of the first settlement point in Tel Rumeida.
1994 – Baruch Goldstein massacre – 29 Muslim worshippers are killed and more than 100 injured in the Ibrahimi mosque. Shuhada street is closed to Palestinian vehicles; Palestinian shops on Shuhada street are forbidden to open.
1997 – Hebron protocol divides the city into H1 (under control of the Palestinian Authority) and H2 (under control of the Israeli military). Shuhada Street is re-opened.
1998 – Shuhada Street is again closed to Palestinian vehicles following the killing of Rabbi Raaman in Tel Rumeida.
September 2000 – Second Intifada erupts.
2001 – Shuhada Street is closed to Palestinian vehicles and pedestrians.
April 2002 – Israeli Army invades and establishes positions in H1.
2006 – The Israeli army legal advisor stated that Shuhada Street should not have been closed to Palestinian pedestrian traffic. However Palestinian pedestrian access remains very restricted.
2015 – The Israeli military declares H2 a closed military area; only registered Palestinian inhabitants are allowed to enter the area. Israeli settlers and soldiers continues to move freely.
2016 – The Israeli military partly reopens the closed military area in H2.