Snow Sweeps Across Jerusalem and the West Bank Thursday


Heavy winds and snow swept across Jerusalem and the West Bank on Thursday (December 12), hours ahead of an expected visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry is due to return to the region to discuss the latest developments in peace talks but the weather could hamper his schedule of meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Traffic authorities advised against travel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem due to accumulating snow.

In Jerusalem residents at the ultra orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim were happy to welcome the snow.

"We never have to get this, to get this is wonderful. There's no school. We can make snowmen. We can have some fun. We can rest. It's amazing out here," Martin Leftwoods, a resident of Jerusalem said.

Joel Talb, another resident of Jerusalem said this snow was a blessing from God.

"Jerusalem is beautiful as is but with this nice snow coming down on this early morning, it's really really nice," Talb said.

There were festive scenes in Bethlehem, as snow fell outside the Church of Nativity alongside a large Christmas tree.

Snow ploughs worked their way through the streets of Hebron where several inches of snow were on the ground, providing ample ammunition for children taking part in snowball fights with friends.

In Ramallah, where Kerry is expected to meet Abbas later on Thursday, residents gathered in the snowy, slushy streets surrounding a Christmas tree in the town centre.

Several schools were closed across Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.

Stormy winter weather has also hit Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with a drop in temperatures and further predictions of snowfall.

Winter weather arrives in the Middle East, ahead of visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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