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Reference : V-P-IL-E-03383
Date : 16/07/2020
Caption : Jerusalem. This young inhabitant and owner of a souvenir store in the old city, Walid Ghneim, opens his store only to ventilate it, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photographer : JABR, Atta
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website, photo gallery, 06.10.2020
Hope and fear fill the West Bank’s silent markets

As a second wave of COVID-19 ravages the West Bank, the bustling old markets of its largest cities have fallen silent. In Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and the Old City of Jerusalem, worried shopkeepers keep their empty stores open, clinched in a merciless double-bind: only by staying open do they stand a chance of rebuilding business, yet every day they open their doors they hemorrhage money.
The story is the same in Jerusalem’s Old City. Walid Ghneim, the young owner of a souvenir shop, says he “no longer remembers” what the market was like before the pandemic. “I open the shop only to ventilate it, because the movement is very little in general, and the tourist movement is non-existent,” he says. He hopes desperately that the situation will not extend beyond the end of the year.
A return to some kind of normalcy will depend on Palestinian authorities getting the virus under control. According to an International Committee of the Red Cross survey of Palestinians, compliance with prevention measures in the West Bank is significantly lower than in Gaza and East Jerusalem. In June, 28% reported that they still weren’t wearing masks, 22% said they weren’t avoiding crowded places and 21% weren’t staying home when feeling sick.
Clearly, there is work to be done—before the markets of the West Bank return to the hustle and bustle that used to characterize them, and small businesspeople can sleep easy once again.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 6720x4480
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour