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Palestinians in East Jerusalem cherish horses as family

By Reuters - Jan 10,2018 - Last updated at Jan 10,2018

A Palestinian man pets a horse in the living room of horse trader Fares Salem in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Atur on November 11, 2017 (Reuters photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Palestinian Fares Salem treats the horses he looks after at stables overlooking Jerusalem's walled Old City as though they were members of his own family.

The Salems have been tending horses for more than 30 years at their home in Arab East Jerusalem, and Fares and his friends prepare them for riding at weekends in the hills and open spaces near the city and in the adjacent Israeli-occupied West Bank. 

"I was raised with horses around me and I started to ride them when I was three or four years old. We once had a pony that grew up alongside me and this created a bond that has made me want to devote my life to horses," said 21-year-old Fares.

Mahmoud Montasir, a Jerusalem teenager who has his own horse, said he had achieved his childhood dream of turning horse-riding into a pastime.

"It is a great privilege to work with horses. A horse is a very clever animal and understands its human friend and his feelings. A horse also always shares its own feelings with its human friend but you need to understand it," Montasir said.

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