Ma'an News Agency
November 18, 2010 - 1:00am

QALQILIYA (Ma’an) – The parks, zoo and playgrounds of northern West Bank cities Qalqiliya, Jenin and Tulkarem were overwhelmed with visitors from the Palestinian cities and towns in Israel over the Eid Al-Adha holiday, giving a boost to the local economy.

The Qalqiliya Zoo reported a record 2,000 visitors on Wednesday, with visitors from Haifa, Kufr Kanna and other cities in the north of Israel, while Nazarenes, Jerusalemites and residents of Haifa filled the restaurants of Bethlehem and Ramallah in the central West Bank.

In Jenin, the Hadad resort was full of visitors locally known as "48 Palestinians," with Israeli residency or citizenship, prompting locals to wonder why. "When all we want is to be able to reach the shores of Lake Tiberias or the beach at Haifa, like we used to do on holidays, why are so many coming here?" one local visitor at the resort asked.

Yousef Imwasi, a father of five from Nazareth, said the lower cost of a vacation in Jenin was what first attracted him to the idea. "Here I will pay 500 shekels ($136) for the whole day. In Israel, it would be triple the price, so here, I can have fun with my family and not worry about the price.

"The food is great too," he added. "Then, there is also the issue of the level of service. Here we are treated well and with a great level of respect, so that also factors into the decision."

In Tulkarem at the MegaLand amusement park, Samiha Abu Ras from Haifa said she prefers to holiday in the West Bank. "As a veiled woman, I feel people in Israel discriminate against me and give me strange looks, it makes me feel strange and so I prefer to come here, to Tulkarem."


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