Jaideep Mukerji

Culture for All

Sitting perched on a hill in the suburb of Al-Masyoon, the Ramallah Cultural Palace has an almost conspicuous air of tranquillity to it. Just down the road lie the mangled remains of half a dozen cars destroyed by Israeli tanks as out in the distance one can see the first signs that the separation wall is finally beginning to encroach on the city. The gleaming new building, however, almost seems to rise above these troubling reminders of the enduring Israeli occupation, offering instead a sense of hope and renewal. The grand opening of the West Bank’s first and only Palestinian cultural centre of its kind is generating a great deal of buzz in the occupied territories. From Ramallah, Jaideep Mukerji looks at what the centre means for the Palestinians’ sense of identity.