Israeli soldiers patrol a Palestinian open market

Searching for Normal in Hebron

IT’S NOON ON A BLISTERING BRIGHT August day in the northern part of the West Bank city of Hebron. I’ve joined a crowd of some 200 Palestinians crammed into the lobby of a renovated two-story building on Ain Khairadeen Street for the grand opening of the Plaza Shopping Center. There are silver, blue and yellow balloons, a host of local dignitaries and gift bags with digital clocks for each guest. There’s a clown and a man in a brown animal suit of indeterminate species and dozens of smiling children in baseball caps and T-shirts, none of whom would look out of place at the Mall of America. First there’s a guided tour of the Bravo Supermarket—wide aisles, spodess floors, fruit and vegetable displays, bakery and butcher counters, and plastic shopping bags in Arabic and English pledging...

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