Winter Storm Alexa in Al-Khalil

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The largest winter storm in decades blanketed much of Palestine and Israel in snow from 11-13 December, 2013. Sixty to 120 cm (about two to four feet) fell in Hebron and the surrounding area. Heavy rain fell on Wednesday, 11 December causing schools to close and the few students who showed up to return home. By early afternoon, water was knee deep in the souq. Snow began falling that evening, and continued overnight. Thursday, most of the Old City was shut down. That afternoon the snow began again, and by morning there was another thirty-forty cm on the ground. The wet snow made transit next to impossible. All shops in the Old City remained closed; only a few businesses near Bab iZeweyya opened.

Damage on Old Shalala Street was extensive. Part of the front of one building fell off, leaving inner rooms exposed. The mesh fencing protecting the market area from settlers dropping heavy objects fell under the weight of the snow. The metal girders bent. The roof of a shoe store fell in, ruining the building and merchandise.

By Thursday, 19 December people had cleared away much of the wreckage. Bab il-Baledeyya became the repository for damaged awnings from the souq, and much of the snow was plowed away. Shalala Street resembled a river in areas, as melting snow made its way to drains. Vegetable carts lined the street once again, and shopkeepers began displaying their wares.

Schools remained closed for the entire week. On Saturday, 21 December, CPT team members joined with EAPPI, Hamed Qawasmeh , and local volunteers to clear the snow away from the Samidoun Kindergarten and Qurtuba School so that children could return to school on Sunday.

Even though some snow remained in certain areas, especially around checkpoints, on Old Shalala Street life returned to normal by Saturday. All the shops were opened, and merchandise filled the street. The only reminder of the snowfall was the absence of the mesh fencing protecting the street from the settlers above.

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About Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine

CPT Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, non-violent grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation.
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