Life with restrictions

This is not yet another story about the conflict. It is a story about people that are still in my mind and in my heart. These are people who want a normal life.

The city of Hebron is a divided city, following the 1995 Oslo Agreement and subsequent 1997 Hebron Agreement, Palestinian cities were placed under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, with the exception of Hebron, which was split into two sectors: H1 controlled by the Palestinian Authority and H2 controlled by Israel. Around 160,000 Palestinians live in H1, while around 40,000 Palestinians along with approximately 700 Israelis remain under Israeli military control in H2.

It is said that H2 is the epicenter of the conflict. Hebron is a city of restricted movement – for both people and cars. Some roads are allowed to be used and some not. There are many checkpoints, fences and metal detectors. Yet you can still see the beauty lingering in parts of the city.

I have seen old pictures from the past. Faces, cars and smiles were visible. There was life in the streets. From a picture of an old market, shut down long ago, one can almost feel the smell of the vegetables and hear the sounds of everyday life. Today it is difficult to imagine walking the small alleys of the old city with all the closed shops and empty streets how it was before everything changed.

I lived in Hebron for almost two years. I walked up and down those streets. I can still feel it in my soul. I can still feel the smells and hear the people. The pictures taken are trying to portray the life that is still present there despite the hardship.

The photos were taken while working as an advisor for an international observer mission 2016-2018.

Photo Essay by: Sofia Zitouni


Sofia has lived and worked in Palestine, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Bosnia - Mainly with development aid. While residing in Sweden since 2018, she still travels a lot in line of duty. She is also an international election observer. More about Sofia on her member page.

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