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A look at Ramallah and its young tech scene (pictures)

The seat of power for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is developing its own startup scene, emulating the globally recognized tech center of Tel Aviv nearby.

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Ben Fox Rubin
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1 of 16 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Warning signs

During my Road Trip visit to Israel, I spent a day in Ramallah, in the West Bank, to learn about the small but growing tech scene there.

An entrance to the territory -- the Qalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem -- includes a series of these red signs warning Israelis to stay out.

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Past the Qalandia checkpoint

After going through the checkpoint, the scene is busy, dusty and filled with concrete walls Israel built for security.

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Graffiti walls

Israel constructed a concrete barrier more than a decade ago to prevent terrorism from the West Bank. Palestinians have since drawn graffiti on many parts of the wall.

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In Ramallah

Down the road, I found Ramallah, a modern city filled with towers of glass and limestone.

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PinchPoint's Spermania

Khaled Abu Al Kheir is co-founder and CEO of PinchPoint, a Palestinian mobile gaming company. His firm got a lot of notice last year with the debut of its first title, Spermania, a racing game about a cartoon sperm.

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Hard at work making games

Mousa Hamad, an intern at PinchPoint.

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Developing the next gaming hit

Yasmin Eid, a PinchPoint artist, is busy drawing a cartoon chicken.

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My guide for the day

My guide in Ramallah, Nuha Musleh, serves up lunch at her art gallery on the outskirts of the central district.

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Staying hungry

Faris Zaher, CEO of hotel-booking startup Yamsafer, says his company outlasted many competitors from Jordan and Dubai because "We're hungrier."

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Yamsafer's call center

Inside the company's call center, where Yamsafer employees field travelers' requests and questions.

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Hanging out above Ramallah

Here, a handful of Yamsafer workers take a break while looking out at Ramallah from their company's 11th-floor offices.

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Looking to grow Palestinian tech

The leaders of Mashvisor, a real-estate analytics company founded late last year, want to help build up the Palestinian tech scene.

"It's still a young ecosystem, it's small," CEO Peter Abualzolof said, "but companies like Yamsafer are definitely leading the way."

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At the central market

Ramallah's central market is hectic, filled with people, storefronts and noise.

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A call for protesters

Here, a man on a megaphone calls for people to attend a protest that night.

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Selling drinks on the street

A handful of men wearing bright-red outfits sell sweet drinks to drivers.

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Central market fruit stand

Here's one of a handful of fruit stands lining the sideways in the market.

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