The West Bank, part of the Palestinian territory, has no civilian airport, but it now boasts a Boeing 707 that has become a trendy new café and will soon become a restaurant.
A New Boeing 707 Restaurant And Café In The West Bank
Ata and Khamis al-Sairafi, twin brothers, have converted an old 707 into a restaurant and café. That is particularly significant in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, where no civilian airport exists and most citizens have never been on an airplane. The restaurant is located in Nablus, about 30 miles north of Jerusalem.
“99% of Palestinians have never used an airplane. Only our ambassadors, diplomats, ministers and mayors use them. Now they see an airplane and it is something for them.”
This particular 707 has an interesting history. It was used by Israeli government between 1961 and 1993, including to fly Prime Minister Menachem Begin to the USA in 1978 to sign a historic peace deal with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
Three Israeli businessmen later bought the aircraft and hoped to turn it into a restaurant in the city of Safed, but instead it sat in disrepair. In 1999, the brother purchased it for $100,000, then spent another $50,000 to obtain the transport and licenses to take it to the West Bank.
However, the project was placed on hold after the Second Intifada began in late 2000 after the failure of the 2000 Camp David Summit to reach final agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
During the uprising, the Israeli military set up a checkpoint around the plane, essentially blocking it from Nabulus. Even when the military left, the plane sat rusting in a small amusement park the brothers built.
But in 2020, the brothers resumed work on the 707 and successfully cleaned the interior, added electricity, carpeting, and tables, painted on a new livery, and opened the café. Now the brothers are installing a kitchen below the aircraft and hope to open the restaurant portion soon.
The restaurant is called The Palestinian-Jordanian Airline Restaurant and Coffee Shop al-Sairafi and opened in July.
Those who just want a picture inside the aircraft can board for 5NIS (about $1.50).
There’s no civilian airport in the West Bank, but it has the next best thing for citizens who never get to board a plane – a Boeing 707 that’s been turned into a RESTAURANT https://t.co/WepHj1GoSX #boeing #westbank #palestine #travel #israel
— MailOnline Travel (@travelmail) October 14, 2021
It is great to see this entrepreneurship in the West Bank, where strict controls over the import of material make such projects much harder than in other places. I look forward to visiting this 707 restaurant next time I visit the Holy Land.