Maysoon Zayid: Fighting injustice with a smile on her face

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Al-Araby

In a world that is continuously growing and expanding, the disabled community is still underrepresented and misrepresented. But Maysoon Zayid did not wait for anyone to stand up for her community, she decided to be the leader she was waiting for. A writer, public speaker, comedian, actress, and advocate who was born with cerebral palsy, Maysoon Zayid brims with great determination and even greater talent. With willpower that could fuel our entire planet, the Palestinian-American artist has risen above endless obstacles. Refusing to see disability as an impediment, Maysoon continues to advocate… Continue reading “Maysoon Zayid: Fighting injustice with a smile on her face”

Israeli settlers are a cog in Israel’s genocidal machine

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Al-Araby

“This recognition is an initial step in the right direction, but it is not enough.” This was a statement by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malaki in support of Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev who spoke of the need to tackle West Bank’s settler violence against Palestinians. Bar-Lev’sstatement was prompted by the spree of settler attacks on Palestinian villages across the occupied West Bank, following the killing of a settler by Palestinian gunmen near an illegal settlement outpost in the area. Earlier in the week, Bar-Lev’s position drew rebukes from the pro-settlement rig… Continue reading “Israeli settlers are a cog in Israel’s genocidal machine”

Culture Minister says registration of Palestinian embroidery on the UNESCO list is recognition of sole ownership

Minister of Culture Atef Abu Seif said today that the inclusion of the Palestinian embroidery in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a recognition of the Palestinian peoples’ sole ownership of their embroidery and everything that has to do with it, and is an affirmation that the occupying power, Israel, has no right to steal the heritage of the Palestinian people.

“This decision resonates the fact that the world does not believe everything related to this occupation, which not only wants to steal the land but also our narrative and existence,” Abu Seif told the official Palestine TV.

“The Palestinian ‘thobe’ (traditional Palestinian dress) is a landmark and an identity of heritage that expresses the presence of the Palestinian human being in his space and time, and his rejuvenation and harmony,” he said. “Every Palestinian ‘stitch’ has a story in the history and components of the Palestinian ‘thobe’ that goes back to ancient religious mythologies that preceded the three monotheistic religions.”

Abu Seif pointed out that the Palestinian “thobe”, hand-stitched with colorful Palestinian embroidery, is a painting that expresses the presence of the Palestinian people. “No matter how much thieves try to steal this Palestinian reality, they will not be able to convince anyone that they have anything in this country because they seek to Judaize and steal everything in vain,” he said.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Israeli settlers stage ‘violent’ march into Sheikh Jarrah

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Several Palestinians were injured by Israeli police during a settler march into the Palestinian neighbourhood off Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem on Wednesday, including four attacked by pepper spray, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent society in Jerusalem. Israeli police dispersed Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah’s main street Wednesday afternoon, to secure a march by Israeli settlers on the neighbourhood, local residents told The New Arab. According to Nabil al-Kurd, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah in his sixties, dozens of Israeli settlers came to the neighbourhood around 5 pm and marched … Continue reading “Israeli settlers stage ‘violent’ march into Sheikh Jarrah”

Indian Cultural Week in Palestine

As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, 25 years of India-Palestine Relations and Bethlehem of Capital of Arab Culture, Representative Office of India and Ministry of Culture, Government of Palestine in association with Indian Council for Cultural Relations-ICCR are organizing “Indian Culture Week in Palestine” from 24th to 29th November 2021.

The Cultural week includes photo exhibitions on Indian freedom fighters, workshops, yoga sessions, and dance performances by the renowned Indian Dance Troupe Anveshana with their performances that create images through movement arising from introspection. The aesthetic vision of members has given the company a unique personality characterized by fluency, physicality, and poetry contained in each one of their works.

The Indian Cultural Week events will be organized in the cities of Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus and Ramallah, said a press release issued by the Representative Office of India.

Indo-Palestinian relations are historic and deep-rooted. In addition to the India’s strong and unwavering political support to Palestine, India continues to support Palestine in various fields including fields of education and culture. Under the Government of India Programs of ITEC and ICCR, hundreds of Palestinians have received their education and short-term training in various Indian academic establishments. Due to diversity of Indian culture, arts, yoga, dance, music, and cinema, enjoy immense popularity in Palestine.

As we celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence, and as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahostav, several cultural activities, including film screenings and photo exhibitions have been organized by the Representative Office of India in various Palestinian cities and received immense popular support and participation.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Palestinian, international musicians call for a boycott of Israel’s ‘oud festival’ in occupied Jerusalem

A group of Palestinian and international musicians called in a statement for a total boycott of Israel’s now annual ‘oud festival’ in occupied Jerusalem and stand against normalization with a regime aiming to colonize Palestine’s capital in its entirety.

The oud, as the quintessential stringed instrument of Palestinian and Arab world music culture, is being appropriated by a Zionist state whose history is based on the erasure and theft of indigenous livelihoods, said the boycott statement.

As the Israeli ‘Jerusalem Municipality’ re-launches its musical PR projects with the easing of certain coronavirus restrictions, Palestinians in Jerusalem are fighting tooth and nail against the accelerating land-grab of Sheikh Jarrah and swathes of the land east of their city. Palestinian performing artists are attacked or imprisoned, while broader communities of the displaced face the terror of aerial destruction of their cultural centers and systematic underdevelopment of their means of production, it said.

The ‘oud festival’ signifies the culture-washing of the crimes of Israeli colonization. As such we stand against all Palestinian and international participation. With very few exceptions, the festival organizers have failed abjectly in recruiting Palestinian and Arab musicians to collude in a humiliating display of Israeli-dictated ‘coexistence.’ This reflects the grassroots opposition of Palestine’s rejectionist artists, distinct from the elite displays of treachery seen at Dubai Expo and other platforms of Zionist and Arab capitalist collaboration. We must build on the revolutionary potential of Palestinian musicians’ anti-normalization commitment and expose to the world the Zionist political roots of these cultural phenomena, added the statement.

“Live events at the festival are convened by Haim Gouri Zionist Confederation House, founded upon Jerusalem’s colonial conquest and named after a former member of the Palmach, which carried out 1948 massacres including at Sa’sa’ and al-Dawamiya. Since its foundation, the festival has been sponsored by Zionist mayors, who play a particular role in boosting its presence. Current rightist mayor Moshe Lion claimed in 2019 that the festival was a way of ‘establishing dialogue,’ while simultaneously supporting the US Trump administration’s moving of its embassy to Jerusalem as ‘the only fitting location for embassies in the state of Israel.’ In May 2021 he described the Zionist colonization of Sheikh Jarrah as a ‘property dispute’ and blamed Palestinians for ‘igniting violence.’ As we write this statement, Israeli courts are attempting to force Sheikh Jarrah families into accepting ‘temporary ownership’ of their homes by a Zionist settler organization.”

“Israel’s seemingly impulsive massacres upon Palestinians in Gaza and its operations across historic Palestine carry the constant threat of cultural obliteration, like the May 2021 destruction of Mashariq studio in Ansar or the August 2018 bombing of the Said al-Mashal theatre. In occupied Jerusalem, Sabreen studios and the Hakawati theatre face existential threats due to Zionisation of the city. Performers like orchestral bassist Mariam Afifi and al-Funoun choreographer Atta Khattab have faced the prison cells of the Zionist attack squads.”

In the face of these crimes, and in the hands of those who struggle, the oud becomes a tool of anti-racist, anti-colonial liberation. Revolutionary protest singers from Jerusalemite Palestinian Mustafa al-Kurd to Egypt’s Sheikh Imam have resounded their oud for Palestine. Calling for a boycott of the Zionist ‘oud festival’ means a defense of indigenous expression, a stand against normalization, and intensifying the boycott and isolation of the Zionist state, said the statement.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

A tourist documentary trip to Palmyra

Homs, The participants in the Syrian Association for Exploration and Documentation (I am the Syrian) have organized a tourist documentary trip to the historic city of Palmyra.

During the trip, the participants were briefed on the most outstanding monuments of the city and its ancient civilization, which had been destroyed at the hands of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists ahead of their defeat in the region.

The 130 volunteer participants from most of the Syrian provinces, toured the National Museum of Palmyra, the famous Temple of Bel, the Great Arch of Triumph, the ancient Theater of Palmyra, the Great Colonnade and the Tetrapylon, in addition to the historic Afqa spring, which was the reason for the human settlement and the secret of life in this region.

“The purpose of the trip is to document the history of the city, especially the sabotaged sites, in addition to conveying a realistic image professionally and drawing attention to the city to take the best measures to improve the city’s reality,” Khaled Nuwilati, a formation chief at the association told SANA reporter.

A number of participants noted that their trip aims at inspecting the landmarks of the city which is considered the pearl of the orient, in addition to taking notes about the damaged historical sites to contribute to reconstructing them.

Source: Syrian Arab News Agency

Minister Almarar visits Syria’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai, UAE delegation headed by Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation visited on Sunday the Syrian pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai in the framework of international interest in the Syrian participation and the desire to increase trade and industrial cooperation between the two countries.

The Emirati minister, accompanied by the Syrian Ambassador to the UAE, Dr. Ghassan Abbas, and a number of Syrian and Emirati businessmen, toured the pavilion and reviewed its exhibits and contents, which include the first alphabet and wooden panels collected from 1,500 Syrian artists and the “I am the Syrian” exhibition.

He also toured the Trade Partners section, which hosts a group of Syrian companies, and he reviewed the economic and trade opportunities these companies offer for cooperation between the two countries.

“The participation in Expo 2020 Dubai gave us the opportunity to introduce more about the history and civilization of our country and discover the deep-rootedness of the past, in addition to being an opportunity for us and all participants to seek to create a positive impact on the future of humanity,” Ambassador Abbas said.

He highly appreciated the UAE delegation’s visit to the Syrian pavilion.

Source: Syrian Arab News Agency

Ministry of Culture mourns deceased poet Majed Dajani

The Palestinian Ministry of Culture has mourned Palestinian poet Majed Dajani who died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 71, saying his passing constitutes a loss for the Palestinian poetic scene.

“Today, we bid farewell to one of the most important Palestinian poets who enriched the poetic and cultural scene and one of the effective icons in various walks of life, leaving behind a cultural legacy full of creativity and giving,” the ministry said in a statement mourning Dajani.

Dajani’s most prominent collections of poetry include “Signatures on Children’s Notebooks”, “I Love You Until the Last Hour” and “A Moon on Our Window”.

Dajani also produced dozens of poems about Jerusalem. In 2018, he was honored by the Jerusalem Intellectuals Forum with the award for the best poetry collection, Murals on the Wall of Jerusalem.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Netflix launches Palestinian Stories of award-winning films by Palestinian filmmakers

The American TV and film production company, Netflix, launched on Thursday the Palestinian Stories collection, showcasing a lineup of award-winning films by Palestinian filmmakers or about Palestinian Stories. The collection is set to launch with 32 films with more to be added over the next few weeks, said a Netflix press release.

Featuring the works of prolific and critically-acclaimed directors like Annemarie Jacir, Mai Masri, Mahdi Fleifel, Susan Youssef, May Odeh, Farah Nabulsi and many more, “the collection is a tribute to the creativity and passion of the Arab film industry as Netflix continues to invest in stories from the Arab world.,” it said.

“I’m glad to finally have alternative Palestinian films accessible to wide audiences through Netflix. We all in the Palestinian film industry have been eager to share our narrative with the world through our authentic creative productions as an alternative to news reporting.” said May Odeh, Director of ‘The Crossing’.

Spanning multiple genres and styles, the collection will showcase the depth and diversity of the Palestinian experience, exploring people’s lives, dreams, families, friendships, and love, said Netflix.

Nuha El Tayeb, Director, Content Acquisitions, MENAT at Netflix said, “The diversification of our content sits close to my heart as Netflix works to become the home of Arabic Cinema, a place where anyone in the world can access great Arab stories. We believe that great stories travel beyond their place of origin, are told in different languages and enjoyed by people from all walks of life and, with the Palestinian Stories collection, we hope to amplify these beautiful stories to a global audience. While these stories are distinctly and authentically Arab, the themes are quintessentially human, and will resonate with audiences across the world. That is the true beauty of storytelling.”

The collection showcases a number of award-nominated and award-winning films. Annemarie Jacir’s ‘Like 20 Impossibles’ was the first short film from the Arab world to premiere in Cannes and went on to become a National Finalist for the Academy Awards as well as winning Best Film at Palm Springs, Chicago, IFP/New York, Nantucket, and Mannheim-Heidelberg film festivals. Elia Suleiman’s ‘Divine Intervention’ secured two wins and a nomination at Cannes while ‘3000 Nights’ by Mai Masri won the Jury Prize at the 2016 International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights.

Some of the films, such as ‘Present’, ‘Pomegranate and Myrrh’ and ‘It Must be Heaven’ are already on the service and will now live under the Palestinian Stories collection, making it easier for members to find outstanding content from the Arab world. The majority of the titles will stream globally, and all the films will include subtitles relevant to those countries where they are streaming in Arabic.

Prolific Director of films such as ‘A Drowning Man’, ‘Xenos’ and ‘A World Not Ours’, Mahdi Fleifel is excited for his body of work to sit under The Palestinian Stories Collection and reach global audiences.

“Finally! A larger audience can have this exceptional opportunity to avoid all social obligations and binge watch my films in one sitting! Thank you for this great privilege, Netflix. I’m thrilled!”

The Palestinian Stories Collection can be accessed via Netflix.com/PalestinianStories and by searching “Palestinian Stories” on Netflix.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Syria present at “Expo Dubai 2020”

Dubai, Syria will participate in Dubai EXPO 2020, which starts on Friday. The Syrian pavilion provides a comprehensive view of the Syrian history, culture, arts and economy.

The exhibition, which will last until March 31 of next year, aims to build bridges of fruitful cooperation with the participant and visiting sides to this international exhibition.

The Syrian pavilion will have the motto “Together … the future is ours” as a window displaying the rich and ancient Syrian civilization.

Source: Syrian Arab News Agency

Tourism sector in Palestine continues to decline due to COVID-19, with Bethlehem hardest hit – report

The performance of the tourism sector in Palestine continues to decline due to COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Bethlehem Governorate, which annually receives more than 60% of the total number of hotel guests and visitors coming to the West Bank, today said the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MOTA).

They said in their joint report marking World Tourism Day that the estimated losses of the inbound tourism sector during 2020 reached over $1 billion after the decrease in the expenditure of inbound tourism to Palestine by 68% compared to 2019.

The number of hotel guests during the first half of 2021 in the West Bank reached 58,765, of whom more than 77% were Palestinians from inside Israel, 22.5% were local residents/visitors, and only 0.3% were visitors from outside Palestine.

There were not any hotel guest accommodations recorded in Bethlehem during this period, making it the most affected nationwide, said the report.

On the other hand, Jericho witnessed a record increase in the reception of hotel guests, to record 72% of the total guests in the West Bank during 2021, where its share during previous years did not exceed 7% of the total hotel guests to the West Bank.

The number of inbound visits (same day visitors) to tourist sites in the West Bank reached 314,800 during the first half of 2021, (99.3% of whom were Palestinians from Inside Israel). In comparison with previous years, the number declined even further reaching 52% compared to the same period in 2020, and decreased to about 82% compared to the same period in 2019.

The number of inbound visits during the first half of the current year was distributed by governorate as follows: 46% in Jericho, 24% in Nablus, 14% in Jenin, and 16% of visits were to the rest of the West Bank governorates.

During the first half of 2021, the tourist sites in the West Bank witnessed a slight improvement in the movement of local visitors, which reached 880,000 visits to the various tourist sites, gardens and parks. Compared to the same period in 2020, the number of domestic visits increased by 48%, while when compared to the same period in 2019, the percentage decreased by 52%.

Local visits were concentrated in Nablus Governorate with 29%, followed by Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate with a percentage of 20%, and Jenin and Qalqilya Governorates with a percentage of 16% and 14%, respectively.

The number of employees working in activities related to the tourism sector reached 42,400 employees during the second quarter of the year 2021, a 4% of the total workers in Palestine. Accordingly, the number of employees working in tourism activities increased by 18% compared to the same period of 2020. In 2019, the number of employees working in the tourism sector was still low, at 2%.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency