If you open up your Snapchat app today, you’ll see an unlikely live story — the West Bank. Snapchat announced yesterday that it will be featuring the story today, which comes days after they made the insensitive mistake of featuring Tel Aviv on the anniversary of Israel’s massacre in Gaza last summer. The @snapchatsupport Twitter account was bombarded with hundreds of tweets pointing out the offensiveness of the story, which featured affluent Israeli youth enjoying the sun and showing off their beautiful beach, only miles away from exiled Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal military occupation. Tweets demanded that Snapchat show the Palestine story — and today we get a chance to see it live from the West Bank.
Though the live story doesn’t include the irreconcilable ruins that are Gaza and the lively families and children that are forced to live among them, the West Bank story still offers a glimpse into life under occupation. We see the overwhelming lines at the Bethlehem military checkpoint that Palestinians are subject to during the heat while fasting for Ramadan, the atrocious apartheid wall driving a separation barrier through the land to contain the Palestinians, and even the illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land that young Palestinians can identify from their windows. And, in the midst of it all, we see the unbreakable and beautiful spirit of Palestinians, all of whom have smiles on their faces as they show us their delicious Ramadan foods, cultural Palestinian clothes, and unmatched dance skills to folk music.
This type of mainstream visibility for Palestinians in youth culture — especially within one of the world’s most popular and accessible apps — is unprecedented. The fact that it came after public pressure only sends a strong signal that Palestine is on the map, and we refuse to let the world forget it. Check out some highlights below.
The warm Palestinian welcome.
The lively outdoor market!
The abundant farmlands and “trademark” olive trees.
Palestine’s incredible architecture and historic churches.
THE AMAZING FOOD OMG.
This guy’s totally relatable Ramadan frustration of not being able to eat his katayef because it’s not sundown yet.
The illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and apartheid wall that you didn’t see in the Tel Aviv story.
Lessons on Palestinian cultural fashion from these two beauties.
The world’s one and only Krusty Krab restaurant.
The resistance art that decorates the streets.
How Palestinians are spending their leisurely time during Ramadan.
The resilient, unbreakable, uncontainable Palestinian spirit.