While he never lived there himself, Maraka explained that being so close – and yet, so far – from his family’s ancestral home motivates him to maintain Palestinians’ presence in the largest, and one of the most tense and volatile, cities in the West Bank.
I like the old city. It’s our culture. Our goal is to rehabilitate houses in the old city and bring people back to abandoned houses. We want to improve the quality of life,” explained Maraka, a member of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC).
Maraka told IPS that in 15 years of work, HRC has refurbished approximately 900 houses in the old city of Hebron. This rehabilitation, he said, has allowed some 10,000 Palestinians to return to the area.
“After the Second Intifada, most people left their houses. They were afraid to go back because of the Israeli settlers and the Israeli military. They can’t live easily in the old city, but we’re trying to bring them back. We can’t leave this area because the settlers would come to take the houses,” Maraka said.
For more on this story, visit: Renovating an Embattled City — Global Issues.