Hebron – Area H2 makes up 2% of Hebron city, and its streets are empty of the area's approximately 20,35 Palestinian residents, with some 700 Israelis in illegal settlements in the area under full control by the Israeli military.

Besieged Palestinian families describe the conditions in which they are under attack, deprived of vital supplies and services, and cut off their livelihoods, as occupation soldiers and armed settlers in uniform patrol the streets.

Bassam Abu Eisheh, 61, vice president of the local drivers' union and former head of the Tel Rumeida People's Committee, said: "There has never been such a complete closure before, even during the second intifada. At that time we had the freedom to go shopping and be on the street. But now no one can do that," and several residents who spoke to Al Jazeera complained about the same situation, saying, "It's like we're in a prison."

Following the Al-Aqsa Flood operation launched by the Palestinian resistance on October 7, Israeli occupation soldiers raided Palestinian shops in Hebron and ordered their owners and workers at gunpoint to close the shops and stay in their homes.

Palestinians in the area were unable to leave their homes at all for the first four days following the operation, surviving on their supplies. Now, they can only leave their homes and cross checkpoints at a specific hour in the morning and one hour in the evening on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Threats and attacks

Residents describe the wave of attacks and threats that began immediately after the seventh of last month, as soldiers and settlers in military uniform arrested local activist Issa Amr, 43, who explained that he was transferred to the military base in Tel Rumeida, and said that he was beaten and spat for hours, and the settlers were insulting him, and after 10 hours they released him.

Amr noted that uniformed settlers attacked his house and stole his keys in the following days, and on October 20 soldiers forced him out of his house declaring it a "closed military zone," insisting that the decision was made to "protect" him.

Amr, who now lives with friends in H1, the Hebron-controlled area of the Palestinian Authority, has been unable to return home and is still recovering from injuries to his back, legs and hands.

Palestinian residents say soldiers point their guns at anyone who climbs onto the roof of their house or even looks through their window, shouting to stay inside. When they leave within the specified time, residents face the risk of attacks and threats from uniformed settlers.

"The settlers are trying to touch our women and daughters. They beat us, they say all kinds of horrible words in order to provoke a reaction so that they have an excuse to kill us." In one street clash, the "reserve soldier," a local settler and paramedic whom Abu Aysha had met before, aimed his rifle as if he were shooting at "Abu Aysha," and a video recorded by a neighbor shows the man trying to put a bullet into the gun before it falls to the ground.

While the military recently began allowing students to walk outside and cross checkpoints for an hour in the morning and another hour in the afternoon during the school week, parents are not allowed to accompany their children. As a result, a large number of children were unable to attend school, due to movement restrictions and because their parents feared attacks by armed settlers.

A woman from the Jabari family, who lives in Wadi al-Hussein, an area between the Israeli settlements of Givat Havot and Kiryat Arba, where far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir lives, said the family's 11 children wished they could go to school or at least shop to buy sweets. She added that while some families tried to follow online classes, the internet connection was too weak to take classes.

Jabari's family says they have been targeted by settlers for years, and Palestinians believe settlers see their home as key to the eventual dismantling of the Palestinian neighborhood and linking the two neighboring settlements.

Residents reported confiscation of their phones as soldiers and settlers routinely deleted photos and videos of incidents. A neighbor was detained for several days for recording the soldiers' activities, Abu Eisheh said.

Denial of basic services

Burdensome restrictions on movement mean that residents cannot access basic services or medical treatment, even when they need them most.

In the Jaber neighbourhood, a Palestinian woman who was five years pregnant woke up one morning in pain. According to the woman's mother and a family friend, soldiers stationed outside their home refused to let her leave for several hours. At around 11 a.m., they managed to leave by private car, and upon arrival at the hospital the doctors discovered internal bleeding and that the child was dead.

In another case, a woman needed an injection at a clinic just 20 metres from her home. Despite previous coordination attempts, weapons were pointed at her when she tried to leave her home. Even with the insistence of doctors, a soldier at the scene decided that the injection could wait until the next day. "Action on what is medically urgent or non-urgent is being taken by poorly trained military reservists. It's completely surreal."

But what may be most urgent for these families is their dwindling cash reserves, and even in other areas of Hebron, which are suffering due to congestion of movement in and out of the city, as well as by the closure of businesses, Palestinians have reported huge income losses that have increased the families' crises.

Families have not been able to harvest olives during this season, meaning this year will be economically disastrous for them (Reuters)

Imad Hamdan, executive director of the Hebron Reconstruction Committee, a Palestinian NGO based in the Old City of Hebron, said, "Most families in these areas are ordinary workers, if they don't work, they have no income. How can they cover expenses if they can't go to work?"

"Families are helping each other at this time," said a member of the Jabari family, explaining how neighbours sneak between their homes in her area, which has about 100 families, to share food and supplies. But with little or no income, neighbors can't help each other for long.

"We are better off (financially) than some of our neighbours, but we don't even know how we can sustain ourselves for more than a few weeks," Abu Aysha said in Tel Rumeida.

Residents say some families who had nowhere else to live have left. Residents and humanitarian organizations reported that settlers were taking advantage of the situation to occupy evacuated properties in the Tel Rumeida area. Abu Aysha posted a video showing Israeli settlers picking olives from trees owned by Palestinian families in the area. Families have not been able to harvest olives during the all-important harvest, which lasts until mid-November, meaning this year will be economically disastrous for some families.

"Like all Palestinians, we hope for a better reality than the one we live in," said one Jabari family member, but what happens at home and on television keeps them awake all night. "We can't live normally, eating, drinking and going about our daily lives is difficult because all we can do is sit in front of the TV and watch these horrific images from Gaza," said Abu Eisheh, a father of nine.

"The settlers can come to our house and kill everyone, and no one will be able to do anything about it," said Abu Eisha, a member of the Jabari family, "It's a reflection of what's happening in Gaza. We are deprived of fundamental freedoms. They deprive us of life."