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Palestine
DannyWhatmough.com
10th November, 2012

Set in a valley nestled between the hills, Nablus is a sprawling city that, despite the economic woes currently ravaging the West Bank, is home to a whole load of new construction work.

Nablus

But the hidden gem of this city is the old quarter – only a 5 minute walk from the Project Hope house.

Here, the wide streets suddenly shrink into a maze of winding alleys and a buzzing patchwork of little markets and shops.

It really is a feast for all the senses. The sounds of market sellers touting their wares, the cramped chickens squawking at the egg stalls, the children running around while their mothers buy them new clothes.

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continue reading: The sights and sounds of Nablus old city...

9th November, 2012

Sitting in a small cave on a hill a few kilometres outside Bethlehem, Amal Nassar explains the ethos of the Tent of Nations – “when the settlers destroy a few of our olive trees, we get out there the next day and plant twice as many”.

The Nassars see this as their unique form of peaceful protest.

The Tent of Nations is both a farm and a social project. As well as growing olives and grapes, it runs camps for local children from Bethlehem and the surrounding areas, bringing artists and educationalists from across the world.

Tent of Nations

Settlements

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continue reading: The Tent of Nations...

8th November, 2012

“They came with dogs and guns, every Saturday at night. They beat men in front of their children. One Saturday they said they didn’t want to see anyone here next Saturday, and that we should move to Aqraba. The whole village left that week.” – Rashid Murrar, Mayor of Yanoun

Before 1996, the little Palestinian farming village of Yanoun lived in relative peace. Sixteen years later and it has become a symbol of all that is rotten in the West Bank. A visit here illustrates the harsh realities of living with settlers.

Yanoun lies about 15 kilometres south east of Nablus. It also lies 12 kilometres away from one of the biggest Israeli settlements in this area.

Yanoun

Upper Yanoun

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continue reading: Yanoun and the settlers...

7th November, 2012

How to tell the story of Hebron?

Meet Ayesha. She’s eight and lives in Hebron – the largest city in the West Bank.

Hebron

Ayesha

This is the view from Ayesha’s front door in the centre of Hebron. It looks innocent enough, but what you don’t know is that the people living in the houses that sit just a few metres away are Israeli settlers.

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continue reading: Hebron through Ayesha’s eyes...

6th November, 2012

Could Jerusalem be one of the most overtly cosmopolitan cities in the world?

As with Bethlehem, Jerusalem is a city uncannily familiar to anyone that has attended Sunday School or read an illustrated bible. It’s also seen as the epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So I was unsure as to what to expect.

We crossed into Jerusalem through the ‘Bethlehem 300’ checkpoint on foot – experiencing firsthand the challenge that Palestinians looking to reach Jerusalem face: a 30 minute wait with no explanation and a tense passport/ID check.

On exiting the checkpoint we were greeted by a welcome party of Israeli IDF soldiers. These soldiers – many still teenagers can be seen throughout Jerusalem. Compulsory military service means you quickly have to get used to seeing young people carrying rifles. The most startling example of this was when I walked into a toilet at the Central Bus Station only to find four IDF soldiers with rifles around their necks at the urinal. Never has such a simple task felt so tense.

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continue reading: The peace of Jerusalem?...