The roving Highsnobiety Travel series has taken us far and wide to destinations around the world, shining a light on underappreciated gems and offering fresh takes on well-worn paths. We’ve taken road trips across Spain, bought fake designer gear in Tbilisi, Georgia, and explored the polarization of life in North and South Korea.
Now, thanks to photographer Adlan Mansri, we can see what it’s really like to visit the West Bank. The area is fraught with political tension and violence — more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded since protests started in Gaza and the West Bank in March — but that doesn’t mean that all aspects of life are put on hold.
Mansri spent three months across the three areas that make up the West Bank: Area A, controlled by the Palestinian Authority; Area B, controlled by Palestine in coordination with Israel; and Area C, controlled by Israel. He traveled to the cities of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem, Jenin, Hebron, and Nablus, as well as numerous smaller villages.
“During my stay, I met a lot of Palestinians, either in the cities or the villages,” says Mansri. “People that live in the three different areas have a different level of struggle, but at the end of the day, the resilience is the same. Palestinians love on a different level because their emotions are pushed into the depths of fear. They are exposed to the extremes of their own emotions from the youngest age.”
The West Bank is littered with military checkpoints and reminders of struggle and despair, but Mansri attempts to capture another side of the landscape. “People should visit Palestine because it’s much more than war,” he says. “The West Bank is beautiful. The roads between every city are spectacular, with olive trees and blossoming landscapes. Feelings of compassion, love, and solidarity are everywhere.”
Mansri does, however, acknowledge that he didn’t see everything: “In these pictures, I tried to show the reality as I saw it. I admit I lived a privileged life during my stay and I’m aware that I wasn’t really confronted with the real horror that many in the West Bank face. I tried simply to show another, more human side that you don’t often see.”
Check out the images Mansri captured from across the region above. You can follow him on Instagram here.
Next up, this fascinating photo set explores the changing face of Shanghai.