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Reference : V-P-IL-E-03388
Date : 16/07/2020
Caption : Nablus. The Al-Manna’ bakery in the old city is owned by five brothers who support their families with the income. They are baking a fraction of what they usually bake, 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.
To stop trading is to give up, but when business is not closed, it is down. At the Haj Abu Osama Manna bakery in Nablus, they used to bake about five bags of flour per day. Now they don’t bake more than half or two-thirds of a bag. Five families depend on the bakery to survive.
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