Qalqilya is a memorable city for many reasons, but there is surely no other city in the world as completely cut off from its suburbs. The Israeli division wall strangles this large and lively city, hemming it in on three sides. But it is still an attractive place once inside, and very green comparatively. There are palm trees and small orchards in abundance. The only zoo in the West Bank is to be found in Qalqilya, serving as its main attraction. But the market – much smaller than that of Nablus and Jerusalem – is a quirky and interesting place to stroll, where friendly vendors will welcome a foreigner with open arms.
Qalqilya could also be on the verge of fame for another reason. There is a feature-length documentary in production (as of 2015) about a skater who is determined to build a club for his misfit gang, the x-games. According to the producers: “Living in a conservative city surrounded by a wall and struggling to bring his community out of the margins, Sajed realises he may have to risk everything in order to keep his dream alive.”
In all, this is a city that hums with life, against all the odds.
Population: 91,217 (2007)