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The Boeing 707 in the West Bank that has been converted into a restaurant

Twin brothers from the busy West Bank have turned an old Boeing 707 into a coffee shop and restaurant.

The territory has no civilian airport and those who can afford a plane ticket must take their flights in neighboring Jordan, so few Palestinians get to board a plane.

But on the outskirts of the northern city of Nablus, Khamis al-Sairafi and his brother Ata are offering people the best.

Twin brothers in the busy West Bank have turned an old Boeing 707, pictured, into a cafe and restaurant.

Twin brothers in the busy West Bank have turned an old Boeing 707, pictured, into a cafe and restaurant.

Ninety-nine percent of Palestinians have never used an airplane. They are only used by our ambassadors, diplomats, ministers and mayors. Now they see a plane and it is something for them, ”said Khamis al-Sairafi.

After a quarter century of effort, the brothers opened the restaurant and cafeteria of the Jordanian-Palestinian airline al-Sairafi on July 21.

Families, friends and couples came to have a drink in the cafe located under the body of the plane.

Many others came to take photos inside at a price of five shekels (about £ 1.10) per person.

The restaurant, called the Palestinian-Jordanian airline al-Sairafi restaurant and cafe, opened on July 21.

The restaurant, called the Palestinian-Jordanian airline al-Sairafi restaurant and cafe, opened on July 21.

The restaurant, called the Palestinian-Jordanian airline al-Sairafi restaurant and cafe, opened on July 21.

Customers said they were motivated to visit after seeing photos of the refurbished plane circulating online.

‘For a long time, I have wanted to see this place. I wish I had seen this place before it became a cafe, ” said customer Majdi Khalid.

For years, the airliner sat on the side of a major highway in the northern West Bank, providing a never-ending topic of conversation for passersby bewildered by its outsized presence.

The plane has been transformed into a restaurant by twin brothers Khamis al-Sairafi and Brother Ata.

The plane has been transformed into a restaurant by twin brothers Khamis al-Sairafi and Brother Ata.

The plane has been transformed into a restaurant by twin brothers Khamis al-Sairafi and Brother Ata.

The identically dressed 60-year-old twins’ dream of transforming the plane into a cafe and restaurant was born in the late 1990s when Khamis spotted the abandoned Boeing plane near the northern Israeli city of Safed.

At that time, the plane already had an illustrious history.

The plane was used by the Israeli government from 1961 to 1993 and then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin flew to the United States in 1978 to sign Israel’s historic peace agreement with Egypt, according to Channel 12 TV.

It was later bought by three Israeli business partners who dreamed of turning it into a restaurant, but the project was abandoned after disagreements with local authorities, the station said.

After locating one of the owners, the brothers agreed to buy it for $ 100,000 (£ 72,000) in 1999.

They spent an additional $ 50,000 (£ 36,000) on licenses, permits and to transport it to the West Bank.

Khamis said then-Nablus mayor Ghassan Shakaa quickly approved the plane’s transport and renovation.

Moving the plane to Nablus was a 13-hour operation, which required the dismantling of the wings and the temporary closure of roads in Israel and the West Bank.

The interior is freshly painted, equipped with electricity and nine tables, and the doors are connected to two old walkways that allow customers to board safely.

The interior is freshly painted, equipped with electricity and nine tables, and the doors are connected to two old walkways that allow customers to board safely.

The interior is freshly painted, equipped with electricity and nine tables, and the doors are connected to two old walkways that allow customers to board safely.

At the time, Israel and the Palestinians were involved in peace talks and moving back and forth was relatively easy.

The al-Sairafi brothers were successful traders and scrap metal dealers.

They regularly traveled to and from Israel buying metal parts that they then sold and smelted in the West Bank.

The brothers also owned a successful debris removal business and used their profits to build an amusement park, which included a swimming pool and a concert hall, on the same land where the plane was placed.

But they said their project was put on hold after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in late 2000.

An Israeli military checkpoint was built nearby, they said, preventing customers from the nearby town of Nablus from reaching the site.

The checkpoint remained for three years and the Israeli army seized the place.

The project collapsed.

“They even built tents under the wings of the plane,” Ata al-Sairafi said.

The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment.

For almost 20 years, the plane and the site were abandoned.

The brothers' dream of transforming the plane into a cafeteria and restaurant was born in the late 1990s when Khamis saw the abandoned Boeing plane near the northern Israeli city of Safed.

The brothers' dream of transforming the plane into a cafeteria and restaurant was born in the late 1990s when Khamis saw the abandoned Boeing plane near the northern Israeli city of Safed.

The brothers’ dream of transforming the plane into a cafeteria and restaurant was born in the late 1990s when Khamis saw the abandoned Boeing plane near the northern Israeli city of Safed.

After the uprising faded in the mid-2000s, the brothers survived with their waste disposal business and the small amusement park in Nablus that they opened in 2007.

After more than a decade of savings, they decided in 2020 to start rebuilding what was lost, this time starting with the renovation of the plane.

The coronavirus crisis, which included multiple lockdowns, hit the Palestinian economy hard and led to further delays.

The aircraft, shown here in 2009 awaiting conversion, was used by the Israeli government from 1961 to 1993 and then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin flew to the United States in 1978 to sign Israel's historic peace agreement with Egypt, according to Channel 12 TV.

The aircraft, shown here in 2009 awaiting conversion, was used by the Israeli government from 1961 to 1993 and then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin flew to the United States in 1978 to sign Israel's historic peace agreement with Egypt, according to Channel 12 TV.

The aircraft, shown here in 2009 awaiting conversion, was used by the Israeli government from 1961 to 1993 and then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin flew to the United States in 1978 to sign Israel’s historic peace agreement with Egypt, according to Channel 12 TV.

After months of work, the aircraft is almost ready for full service.

The interior is freshly painted, equipped with electricity and nine tables, and the doors are connected to two old walkways that allow customers to board safely.

The nose of the plane has been painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag and the tail in Jordanian colors.

The plane / cafe is located just outside the northern city of Nablus, pictured.

The plane / cafe is located just outside the northern city of Nablus, pictured.

The plane / cafe is located just outside the northern city of Nablus, pictured.

The cafe is now open and the brothers hope to open the restaurant next month.

They plan to install a galley under the body of the plane to serve food to customers on board.

However, his long-term goal of rebuilding the amusement park and pool is still a long way off.

The couple said they were disappointed that they had not received financial support from the municipality and are looking for investors.

“God willing, I hope the project works and becomes the best it can be,” Ata al-Sairafi said.

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