The Old City of Hebron is a highly disputed territory at the heart of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. International aid has focused on critical conflict intervention as well as medical and nutritional assistance. The children of the Old City, particularly the boys, are exposed to disruptive checkpoints, detentions, toxic tear gas, extended curfews, and physical searches. These affronts erode bodily sovereignty, both mentally and physically, which is vital to the development of healthy self-esteem. Israeli settlers and The Israeli Defense Force deny the boys of Hebron education, medical care and gainful employment. These conditions make them easy recruits for violent militias, which often condemn the boys to imprisonment, torture, and even death. This situation robs Palestinian society of productive citizens, and reinforces negative stereotypes of young Arab men. Roads are systematically destroyed and blockaded for the development of segregated roads and settlements that have been declared illegal by international law. This isolation has led to resentment and hopelessness in Hebron.
We promote the concepts of social cohesion and non-violent conflict resolution among the youth of Hebron in a secure and stable environment. This will be achieved through positive peer-oriented exercises such as self-expressive art projects, critical thinking training, as well as soccer scrimmages designed to promote teamwork. The program will also guide the youth through developing their own Internet sites on mypeacespace.org with the use of donated laptop computers and simple phone lines to counteract the effects of their isolation. We will create a peer-written theater production that illustrates how non-violent conflict resolutiona can be implimented in daily life. The program will be documented for the film Article 15, which i began shooting last summer in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nablus.