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Post on 2019-3-15 13:02:55 | All posts |Read mode
by Fatima AbdulKarim

NABLUS , West Bank, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- During the first decade of the 21st century, the West Bank witnessed an economic boost, followed by a blow from which it is still recovering.

The reason for that was the outbreak of the popular uprising in September 2000, and the once vitalized commercial and business center of the West Bank , Nablus, was strongly hit.

The second largest city in the West Bank was subject to 4,804 hours of curfew between April 2002 and September 2004 according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, and an Israeli military system of checkpoints hit the nerve of the city, controlling the limited movement to and from the city.

The old town of Nablus suffered the most with a 90 percent drop in its economy , according to the Municipality of Nablus.

Within the 1.5 sq km old town, a surprisingly magnificent architecture that was built during the Mamluk-Ayubid era unravels a history of survival.

According to the UNESCO, the old Canaanite city has been extensively damaged by earthquakes.

The city's elegance came from its special traditional buildings and architectural styles that show a unique urban pattern, mirrored in old Damascus of Syria.

Its elegance was tarnished after the outbreak of the popular uprising (intifada) of 2000. The city walls were filled with graffiti and posters, for a while.

Mayor of Nablus Adli Ya'ish told Xinhua that what makes this city strong is that its urban and social fabrics have remained alive.

"It is an ancient historical city , but not a touristic destination," he said. "It is a living city that combines commercial activity, industry and residence, therefore any renovation project would renovate all three components. It would preserve the heritage, the Palestinian identity and develop the national economy because renovated areas will be visited more frequently and industries would prosper."

Today , a tour into the old city would reveal once again a picturesque that people feared would be forgotten.

The newly renovated parts of the city reminded visitors once again of the historical old Damascus, its markets and integrated authentic social fabric that empowered the people who continuously inhabited the city and protected it from erasure.

Ibtisam Al-Ratrout said she always dreamed of renovating "her castle" inside the old city and now has more sources of happiness to see her home renovated besides the revival of the entire "hoash," which is a collective of homes sharing the same enclosed open space.

She explained the process to visitors who came to her home, saying it was a long one, but worthy of all efforts. All past renovations were partial or incomplete , she said, but today, she considers the current status as "all that is needed to live a good life and protect the heritage."

She described the renovation as "a protection for the people and their resilience that made us hold on to our homes instead of turning them to an unhealthy environment or a dumpster seen by outsiders as abandoned houses."

Mayor Ya'ish highlighted that "the old town has a number of factories and a commercial center which is now visited by tourists and shoppers who enjoy the special taste of shopping in the old city. All this shakes up the economic and commercial aspects."

However, this comprehensive renovation was not an easy process, and is not yet completed. It was launched ten years ago by a Palestinian non-governmental organization in order to overcome the aftermath of the tragedy of 1948 war , known by Palestinians as Al-Nakba (Catastrophe).

The Welfare Association board member and native of Nablus Sa'ad AbdulHadi, said that the foundations for this project were launched to help it rise from the serious damage after the Israeli incursions and destruction of the city in the years 2000-2005.

The enthusiast native of Nablus old city added "the most significant landmark in Nablus is its old city," explaining that it could be "a very important touristic destination and also a residential destination."

The UNESCO approves of this statement by saying that the evidence of authenticity of the city shows that it "presents an image of an old town which is still living, and most of its elements still function very well. This gives the city the ability to survive and preserve its character in spite of many alterations in the fabric of the city."

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VILNIUS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Court of Appeal of Lithuania decided to extradite to the United States Lithuanian suspect Evaldas Rimasauskas , who allegedly conned more than 100 million U.S. dollars out of Facebook and Google by sending fake emails, the court announced on Friday.

"Assumption that the damage was done to the companies registered in the United States became the ground for the extradition of Rimasauskas," the court said in a press release. The decision on Friday is final.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York accused Rimasauskas of wire transfer fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, news agency Elta reported.

It is alleged that Rimasauskas took part in the scam using e-mail correspondence and posed as an Asian computer hardware manufacturer to persuade Google and Facebook to accept fraudulent invoices and transfer funds to the company established under the same name in Latvia. The funds were transferred to the latter comp

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