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Library restores Palestinian history one manuscript at a time

Librarian Khader Salameh with a gilded copy of the Koran from the 16th century
— Jerusalem (AFP)

A library in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem offers a rare glimpse into Palestinian history with its treasure trove of manuscripts dating back hundreds of years before the creation of Israel.

At the Khalidi Library in the walled Old City, Rami Salameh expertly inspects a damaged manuscript as part of the effort to restore and digitise historical Palestinian documents.

"The manuscripts range from jurisprudence to astronomy, the Prophet's (Mohammed) biography and the Koran," says the Italian-trained restorer as he carefully manoeuvres a dry brush over a fragile text on Arabic grammar.

From his small workshop, he lets out a sigh of relief, concluding that it won't be necessary to treat the 200-year-old document for discolouration as a result of oxidation.

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