Video: Palestinians in the West Bank live under the shadow of the Gaza war

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians live under the shadow of the ongoing war in Gaza. For them, it means increased raids and arrests, tightening security restrictions, settler violence and economic turmoil. We spoke to two Palestinians whose lives and livelihoods have been changed by the war and who worry that some of these changes may be long-lasting. Lais Almouti, a 29-year-old taxi driver and tour guide, now waits all day at one of the Israeli-controlled checkpoints in Bethlehem. But these days, few tourists pass through. Thirteen miles away, in the Tell Rumeida area of ​​Hebron, life has also come to a standstill for Vijdan Ziadeh. The area is an Israeli settlement, and Palestinians say their movements were restricted before the war, and since October 7, they have felt even more restricted. Security control in Hebron is divided into two areas. H1 is governed by the Palestinian Authority, and H2, where Ziadeh lives, is governed by the Israeli military. The Israeli military told The Times that security measures in the West Bank have been stepped up in response to terrorists, including Hamas, and that their troops are stationed in Tell Rumeida to help ensure the safety of all residents. But Ziad lives in fear of scenes of settler aggression, like this one captured by a nearby Palestinian resident. Ziad says her settler neighbors have become more aggressive toward her and her two sons since the war. Settler violence against Palestinians surged across the West Bank after Oct. 7, with the U.N. documenting nearly 950 attacks as of June 2024, according to the United Nations. Palestinians in the area say Israeli forces are there to protect settlers and that settler violence against Palestinians has gone largely unpunished, a pattern that has spanned decades as detailed in a recent Times investigation. Back in Bethlehem, Rice also worries about the future. Sights he used to visit with tourists, like the Church of the Nativity, now stand empty. Muti and Ziad say they don’t know what will happen to them and others in the West Bank next.

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