NABLUS, West Bank (AP) – One gun has fallen silent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the century-old cannon that used to signal the end of the day’s fast during Ramadan.
Since the Muslim holy month got under way last week, the gun’s thunderous boom has been silenced by the fire chief of this Palestinian city because he doesn’t want to spook already jittery residents, and he can’t get gunpowder anyway.
Across the West Bank, Ramadan is a somber affair this year, with Israeli military curfews keeping many residents confined to their homes, unable to visit relatives for large, festive evening meals at the end of the daytime fast.
“I lost my feeling for Ramadan,” said Dalal Sobieh. “I just feel hungry.”
Sobieh filled her small kitchen with the smells of spices and sweets, but no one came; her family is from a village separated from Nablus by dangerous roads and military checkpoints.
Her husband and two little girls, 8-month-old Waad and Shahad, 10, sat around a small table spread with soup, rice, salad and bread on a yellow plastic tablecloth.
Without the cannon, the call to break the fast comes over crackling radios in an old man’s voice: “God is great.”