I last visited al-Khalil (Hebron) with my family when I was a child in the mid 1970s. I only have vague recollections of that visit, except for the place where Ibrahim (Abraham) was to sacrifice his son. For some reason, and maybe because as a child I was unable to comprehend why a father would be asked to sacrifice his son, that visit remained ingrained in my memory for years to come.
While studying in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, I always visited Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Birzeit, especially for solidarity student visits during the first Palestinian Intifada. I have been living in the United States since 1993, yet despite my repeated visits back home for research and to see my family in Nazareth, al-Khalil was never on my agenda. It was not until I agreed to be a discussant for the film This is My Country Hebron—which at the time was to be screened in January 2012 as part of the annual Human Rights Film Festival at Denison University—that I went back to al-Khalil to see with my own eyes what was happening on the ground. I went again for another visit in early May of that year, and by now it seems that al-Khalil will be part of every future visit I make.