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“The kids are all depressed.” Life in the West Bank gets more difficult by the day

Every time Noor Barakat goes shopping for food, the prices are higher. Last week on Tuesday, there was no bread. Now it’s the fuel and water that is becoming a problem. Fruit and vegetables that are normally brought in from the north haven’t been coming.

The 22-year old English teacher lives in the Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, an area that has been mostly cut off from the rest of the West Bank. Its residents are not allowed to leave and anyone visiting has to cross the checkpoint at its entrance on foot, leaving vehicles on the other side of the barricade.

“People have real difficulties going to work. Most people here work in Israel, so they cannot go to their jobs,” she told CNN.

The restrictions on movements have been imposed by the Israeli military after Hamas unleashed a terror attack on Israel from Gaza on October 7, killing 1,400 people and kidnapping scores of others.

Checkpoints have been shut and new roadblocks set up at various entry and exit points to the occupied West Bank.

Dheisheh is among the areas in the West Bank that are under Palestinian control, but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) regularly conduct incursions and raids there.

“The Israeli military came in (yesterday) and children couldn’t go to school, they had to wait for them to leave and start later,” Barakat told CNN.

The worry here is that Israel’s reaction to the Hamas attack will have devastating consequences for civilians in the West Bank.

“We are scared and spend all of our time watching the news and waiting to see what will happen. We are praying,” Barkat said.

The camp was first established in 1949 when 3,000 Palestinians settled there after being expelled or fleeing from villages west of Jerusalem. The camp’s population has since grown to more than 18,500 people who are still living in a built-up area of one-third of a square kilometer, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

“The kids are all depressed. They are not getting enough sleep, the news is on all the time. I tell [the children] we have to be patient and have to pray for, but the life has to go on. I say we can’t stop everything and just think about this,” she said.

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