The calls of Fares Sawalmeh, the well-known clothes vendor in Martyrs Square in Nablus catch the attention of passersby who are drawn to his wares and convinced to buy from him. The voices of other vendors pierce the autumn sky amid firecrackers set off by eager children.
In spite of the rumors that spread like wildfire through Nablus about several Israeli army vehicles raiding the city, thousands of people flocked to the market until the break of dawn in a scene that has rarely occurred over the past five years of the Intifada.
Sawalmeh says the selling season is ‘acceptable’ this year, adding that the huge markets that sell imported and inexpensive goods from China and Turkey, have attracted many customers who are eager to buy ‘more for less.’
He added that the continuation of the siege and the military checkpoints around the city have prevented thousands of shoppers from nearby villages and cities from coming to the city’s markets.
Only people from Nablus and its refugee camps or villages directly adjacent to it have been able to come.
Merchant Adnan Radwan who owns a children’s clothes shop says he closed his store at 2:30 in the morning and opted for sleeping in the shop so he wouldn’t have to rearrange his goods just hours later the next morning.
Many of the children carried armfuls of toys alongside their parents. According to merchant Mohammed Khuwayra, most of the children, especially the boys, headed straight for combat toys including guns and swords.
According to economic statistics, the ongoing Israeli measures have had tremendous negative impacts on the economic conditions in the Palestinian territories.
Unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories arrived to 31 percent while 64 percent of families live under poverty line.
A survey which aimed to examine the economic conditions in the first quarter of this year revealed that 61.5 percent of the Palestinian families have lost their source of income while 72 percent said they are in need of assistance even though most of them receive some sort of support from their relatives.