The old town of Hebron is the heart and vibrant part of the city. It has always been a terminal of tourists and a commercial and religious destination. The city has endured a series of Jewish attacks meant to displace its people and blur its Islamic religious character. After the 1994 agreement that divided Hebron into H1 and H2 areas, the Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry came to realize that it is incumbent upon it to maintain the Arab character of the old town. Thus, it began to develop programs and participate in projects, in association with other Palestinian institutions, tailored to maintaining the old town population and motivate them to stand firm in the face of Israeli systematic displacement policies. The most prominent programs HCCI implemented are:
• Organizing shopping festivals in the old town.
• Observing specialized days where services are provided for free, such as the barbers day.
• Organizing events for free medical services.
• Encouraging foreign visiting delegations to visit Prophet Abraham Holy Mosque and the old town and do shopping there.
• Supporting the people of the old town on various occasions, as part of the social responsibility.
• Subsidizing the old town shops financially in order to encourage them to keep their doors open seven days a week.
• Opening an HCCI representative office in the old town, which operated for several consecutive years.
In the July 2011 elections, a new Board of Directors came to office with old city concerns that it had to take on. It followed the footsteps of its predecessor. To realize its vision of the old town (making it a vibrant shopping center), the Board of Directors first hired an employee for the old town, and then it started contacting industrial companies in the governorate- urging them to open branches within the old town and sell their products at discounted prices. A number of these companies responded positively.
The Board of Directors then concluded an agreement with a Palestinian telecommunications company for the benefit of the people of the old town. The Board members accompanied foreign and Arab delegations in their frequent visits to the heart of the old town. HCCI is considering ways and preparing plans to revive the old town which fights for its life. To this end, the Board developed a proposal and drafted a letter addressed to the Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad to the effect that the old town should be converted into an attractive shopping area. The proposal is still pending before the prime minister for ratification.