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Reference : V-P-IL-E-03393
Date : 16/07/2020
Caption : Bethlehem. An old man runs this kiosk selling miscellaneous items near the Church of Nativity. He sells nothing, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but keeps it open out of hope.
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.
Close by, an old man sells miscellaneous items near the Church of Nativity. Every day, he sets up his kiosk but sells nothing. "This kiosk is the only hope I have left that the future has better days in store for me,” he says.
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.
Resolution : 5760x3840
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour