Sumoud and Challenge Center
The Somoud and Challenge center is located in Tel Rumeida and dates back to the Roman Empire. Until today,the location and monuments bear witness of this history. The over 2000 year old Olive Trees planted by the Romans are known for their quality and their roots are a living testimony of the past.The center overlooks Shuhada Street, the Ibrahimi Mosque, the Old City of Hebron and provides visitors with an unobstructed view on a beautiful landscape.
The center previously belonged to a Palestinian family. They were forced to move out due to pressure from the occupation forces, claiming that the family needed a Jerusalem ID in order to remain in their home. When the occupation forces threatened to withdraw their IDs the family saw no other way than to leave their home. The house is only a few meters away from the settlement of Tel Al-Rumeida and the occupation forces’ base.
Occupation forces occupied the house in 2000 and used it to detain and torture citizens. We discovered that several settlers spent time with the soldiers, planning to take over the occupied house from the army for strategic reasons; The home is in proximity to the settlement, and they wanted to expand the settlement of Ramat Yishai in order to connect it with another settlement nearby, known as Beit Hadassah.
The Struggle to Restore the House
In addition to the danger posed by the army’s and settler’s presence in the house, the Palestinian home was rented by settlers in 2004. As a result, protests took repeatedly place in front of the occupied house. Several foreign delegations, human rights groups, Palestinians, activists as well as Israeli supporters participated in these protests. In late 2006, Palestinians and activists could successfully remove the army and liberate the house.
After the Liberation of the House
Our work began with the protection of the house we had just liberated. The settlers were furious that we had managed to remove the army and regain the house and reacted with physical and verbal aggression. They organized visits in large groups in order to provoke us, claiming that this home did belong to them and not to the Palestinians. These endless harassment and attacks only increased our determination to keep the house. For three months, we guarded it all around the clock until we could finally start to restore it.
We initiated a series of programs and training courses, designed to revive the area after the Israeli occupation forces had successfully humiliated and displaced the Palestinians. The occupation’s drastic measures had led to the isolation of Shuhada Street and seriously restricted the movement of the local population. However, we succeeded in breaking the psychological barrier. We organized social, educational and recreational activities in the center and encouraged local Palestinians to participate. Thus life slowly returned to the area. Today the center has become a “shrine”, visited by numerous groups and individuals from all around the world including journalists, artists and many others.
1. Photography courses for all ages
2. English language courses for all ages
3. Hebrew language courses for adults
4. Film, editing and production courses
5. Drawing courses
6. Organizing entertainment for children