- Title: Chafing under lockdown, Palestinians long for Eid celebrations
- Date: 21st May 2020
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (MAY 19, 2020) (REUTERS) VEHICLES AND PEOPLE AT STREET SIGN READING IN (English, Arabic): 'BETHLEHEM' VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT MARKET VARIOUS OF WOMAN BUYING PEACH (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT OF BEIT JALA, YASSER JAWARIESH, SAYING: "Bethlehem used to be overcrowded at these days. People would come from Hebron, Abu Dis, Al-Eizariya and Jericho. You couldn't walk in this street in normal days. But today you can see in Bethlehem there isn't a lot of people the shops are open but no buyers, the economic situation for the people has collapsed and destroyed." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT MARKET (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BETHLEHEM RESIDENT KHALED ABDEL-MOATI, SAYING: "People want to celebrate and meet despite corona, despite the existing situation, and despite the suffering." JERUSALEM (MAY 19, 2020) (REUTERS) PEOPLE AT JERUSALEM'S OLD CITY VARIOUS OF MAN SELLING FACE MASKS HAIRDRESSER IN JERUSALEM OLD CITY, RAMZI ABU GHAZALA, CLEANING HIS SHOP ABU GHAZALA CLEANING SCISSORS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HAIRDRESSER IN JERUSALEM OLD CITY, RAMZI ABU GHAZALA, SAYING: "This year is different than all the past years, coronavirus disease had a big impact on the old town, people are afraid to visit the old city, people are afraid to go to the markets. Coronavirus impacted all commercial interests, people stopped coming to Al-Aqsa therefore, it affected our business." EMPTY SQUARE AT DAMASCUS GATE MAN DISPLAYING CLOTHES, PEOPLE WALKING PEOPLE AT MARKET HAIRDRESSER SHAVING FOR CLIENT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT OF JERUSALEM, KHALIL HIJAZI, SAYING: "There is no cheer for the Eid as you can see the market is empty, there is no one. In the past it used to be overcrowded but now there is no one. We used to not be able to move because of the booths but now we are moving freely. I thought I would find 20 people waiting in line. I arrived and there was no one here." GAZA CITY, GAZA (MAY 16, 2020) (REUTERS) PEOPLE AND VEHICLES AT STREET TRAFFIC POLICE AT SCENE PEOPLE AT MARKET PEOPLE INSIDE SHOES SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GAZA SHOE SELLER YOUNIS ALMOGHRABI, SAYING: "We should change the atmosphere. We are in a prison anyway, why to have another prison? No, I will go out and will enjoy whether there is corona or not, we want to celebrate Eid, enjoy and work." KHAN YOUNIS, GAZA (MAY 17, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WOMEN PREPARING PASTE SWEETS VARIOUS OF WOMEN MAKING SWEETS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT OF GAZA, JIHAN ABU ANZA, SAYING: "Despite of the current situation and the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic we would like to make the treats and distribute it for children." VARIOUS OF WOMEN BAKING SWEETS
- Embargoed: 4th June 2020 13:09
- Keywords: Eid Gaza Health Jerusalem Palestinians Ramadan West Bank coronavirus
- Location: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK / JERUSALEM / GAZA CITY AND KHAN YOUNIS, GAZA
- City: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK / JERUSALEM / GAZA CITY AND KHAN YOUNIS, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001CEVISLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Bethlehem is struggling back to life just in time for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, nearly three months after it became the first town in the West Bank to be sealed off because of a coronavirus outbreak.
Although the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, remains shut, shops are displaying new clothes and sweets to lure customers after 75 days of closures.
The city livened up after the Palestinian Authority on Saturday eased curbs in several cities, including Bethlehem, in preparation for Eid El-Fitr, which is due on Saturday or Sunday and marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Shops, businesses and banks were allowed to restart briefly in cities not heavily affected by the infection.
But to try to limit the mass gatherings normally seen during holidays, the PA said that during the three days of the festival itself a blanket lockdown would be re-imposed on the West Bank.
The announcement confused many residents who had only just begun to enjoy a first taste of greater freedom. Closures will prevent people from celebrating in the usual ways, by holding family feasts, wear new clothes and visit parks.
The PA has recorded two deaths and 388 infections. But some believe it over-reacted, causing economic problems.
In Gaza, where there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases outside quarantine centres, Hamas officials said a full lockdown was not yet needed. People flocked into markets and shops by the thousand, only a few wearing masks.
Gaza religious officials have announced the gradual re-opening of mosques on May 22, two months after they closed.
(Production: Mohammad Abu Ganeyeh, Sinan Abu Mayzer, Abed Shana, Bassam Masoud, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
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