Art, Music & Culture

Israeli Army stops West Bank mural project, citing Gaza disengagement

31 August 2005

A Palestinian family from the town of Mas’ha, recently collaborated with US, Palestinian, International and Israeli artists and activists to paint a mural of hope and resilience on the 280 feet long by 24 feet high Occupation Wall that faces their front door. On 22 August 2005, the Israeli commander of the Salfit region threatened to take away the key that lets the family out of their home if the US, Palestinian and Israeli artists did not cease painting immediately and vacate the premises. He considered the mural of trees, flowers and birds a “provocation” to the Gaza settlers being relocated to the West Bank.

Freedom for Palestine: Ticket-holders only?

Maureen Clare Murphy
31 August 2005

Invitations clutched in their hands, last week the audience members of the East West Diwan Orchestra squeezed past uniformed, armed guards and headed into the Ramallah Cultural Palace auditorium. The concert, performed by both Israeli and Palestinian musicians and conducted by world-renowned Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim, was definitely one of the more newsworthy cultural events in Palestine this year. Yet it was unadvertised, and only at the last minute were local photographers allowed to document the event for Palestinian papers.

Video: Balata Youth Drama and Dance Group Tours the UK

Jeff Handmaker
26 August 2005

The first international tour of the Balata Youth Drama and Dance Group travelled to the United Kingdom in August 2005. The Group are a project of the Yafa Cultural Centre (YCC), which is based in Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus. This was Balata’s ‘A’edoon tour - “we will return”. The tour got off to a difficult start. One child in the Group, 16-year old Mohamed, was arrested by the Israeli Occupying Force on the 25th of July as the group crossed the border from Palestine into Jordan. One-month later, Mohamed continued to be held in administrative detention, being interrogated without charge and without access to a legal representative or his family. Jeff Handmaker reports.

Palestinian woman is first Arab woman to climb Europe's highest peak

19 August 2005

Well-known Palestinian female mountain climber, Suzanne Al-Houby, said on Sunday that she is to arrange a charity program for Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Al Houby, who is originally from Yaffa, is proud to be the first Palestinian woman to climb Mt. Elbrus (5642m.), the highest point of Europe in August 1, 2005, Kilimanjaro (2002), the highest peak in Africa, Mont Blanc in France (2004), Everest Base Camp in Nepal (2003).

Breathing life into Nablus

Maureen Clare Murphy and
Zachary Wales
8 August 2005

Nablusi architect Naseer Arafat’s current project, “a ten year dream,” as he calls it, is the restoration of an estate that was once owned by an influential sheikh and housed a residence, soap factory and reception hall. The compound, which Arafat describes as having a “unique composition,” is nestled in Nablus’ Old City, home to 20,000 Palestinians and some 2,560 historic buildings, mostly constructed during the Ottoman period, as well as some from the Mameluke, Crusader, Byzantine and Roman eras.

Film review: "Private"

Arjan El Fassed
26 July 2005

Winner of a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival (Best Film) and Bronze Leopord (for Mohammad Bakri’s performance), “Private” is a thought provoking, psychological drama, based on real events. Mohammad, played by famous Palestinian actor Mohammad Bakri is a Palestinian teacher and active pacifist. He lives with his family in a home located in an area between a Palestinian village and Israeli settlements. His wife Samia (Areen Omari) feels unsafe in these surroundings and would like to move, but Mohammad’s pride does not allow him and his middle class family to be labeled with the status of refugee. He decides to stay.

Film review: "The Syrian Bride" makes for a difficult marriage

Jonathan Cook
21 July 2005

”Maybe I should learn to be less sensitive but when director Eran Riklis arrived in Nazareth last month for the screening of his much-garlanded film ‘The Syrian Bride’, he got off on the wrong footing the moment he walked through the door,” writes EI contributor Jonathan Cook. The film, produced with Israeli, Palestinian and Syrian actors is set in a tiny Druze community in the Golan Heights, part of Syria occupied by Israel since 1967. The only contact the Israeli and Syrian authorities allow is the occasional passage of brides across the ceasefire line. While the film tries to break boundaries, Cook says, it also reveals others that the director failed to see.

Two new Israeli documentaries explore the moral failure of Zionism

Maureen Clare Murphy
19 July 2005

Two new Israeli films that premiered at this month’s Jerusalem Film Festival explore the moral failure that is inherent in Zionism. In the biographical documentary The Diaries of Yossef Nachmany, the Zionist leader largely responsible for the Judaization of the Galilee in the years leading up to the State of Israel is portrayed as conflicted by the ultimate consequence of Zionism — the expulsion and suffering of the indigenous Palestinian population. And in the important documentary Dear Father, Quiet, We’re Shooting … , we see that the Zionist enterprise is spiralling so far out of control that Israeli citizens are being made to collectively pay for the ideology of the extreme minority.

Book review: "The One-State Solution"

Iqbal Jassat
16 July 2005

As Israel’s apartheid wall colonizes 30-40 percent more of the 22 percent of Palestine that remains, an increasing number of analysts, activists, and academics have begun to challenge the two-state solution designed to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With Palestinians eventually ending up with only 12-15 percent of their land, made up of disjointed ghettoes over which they will have no sovereignty- a single, secular polity that would encompass both Israel and the Occupied Territories is looking increasingly attractive. The One-State Solution written by Virginia Tilley, associate professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, lucidly demonstrates why the two-state model “is an idea whose time has passed”.

Where There's the Ghetto, There's Hip Hop

Evert-Jan Grit
5 July 2005

Lid, an industrial pauperized city, not far from Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. Not a likely place for vistors and tourists to pass by. Lid faces the same problems as most metropoles and cities all over this world: drugs, pollution, unemployment, gangs, racism and violence. This is the dark side of Israel, the “only democracy in the Middle East,” with its own black minority: the Palestinians who stayed after the Nakba in 1948. Lid is the home base of Israel’s first and best Palestinian Hip Hop band DAM (“Da Arabic Microphone Controllers”). DAM started to perform in 1998 and steadily built a reputation in Israel and abroad. They played in Europe and released a song with the French Algerian group MBS.


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