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Palestinians See Little Hope in Rice Visit

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DEBORAH AMOS, Host:

NPR's Eric Westervelt reports.

ERIC WESTERVELT: Zahzeed Hader, the editor of the weekly Hamas newspaper Reform Forum, walks through broken glass and debris in his office after it was ransacked Sunday night by a mob of masked men. This is what's left of our national unity, Hader says.

(SOUNDBITE OF WALKING THROUGH BROKEN GLASS)

ZAHZEED HADER: (Foreign language spoken)

WESTERVELT: Twenty-one-year-old Safa Jeborin(ph) works in a clothing store and is a student at a local university.

SAFA JEBORIN: (Through translator) It will escalate. It will get really bad and it is really embarrassing.

WESTERVELT: With Western aid cut off, Palestinian government workers have gone without full salaries since last February. Poverty, joblessness and civil unrest have all increased in Gaza and parts of the West Bank. In downtown Ramallah, residents finish last-minute food shopping before breaking the daily Ramadan fast. Jeborin says a visit today by America' secretary of state will do nothing to improve life for Palestinians.

JEBORIN: (Through translator) It is meaningless. Her visit is meaningless. Nothing will change. She will do nothing for us.

WESTERVELT: Fifty-two-year-old Thiev Humdan(ph) is a construction and masonry contractor.

THIEV HUMDAN: (Through translator) America has never been an honest broker, and her actions will never bring any good for this area.

WESTERVELT: Eric Westervelt, NPR News, Ramallah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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