Issue No. 155, March Palestine: A Land of World Heritage Sites

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1 Issue No. 155, March 2011 Palestine: A Land of World Heritage Sites

2 Our Gift to Eternity: Securing Protection... 4 World Heritage in Palestine: from Inventory to Nomination... 6 Battir Cultural Landscape Palestinian Cave Culture Palestine: A Future for Its Heritage? Palestinian Atmospheres (in other words, only use the first two words in the table of contents) Outdoor Adventures with a Dash of Heritage Towards a Green Tourism in the Land of Olives and Vines Our Heritage, Our Children Gaza: A Historic Centre of the World The Politics of Heritage in Palestine Saving the Old City of Hebron Know Thy Heritage: Visit and Live Palestine! Public Access: You Tell Us A Pilgrimage to Bethlehem Unidentified Flying Objects Target Jerusalem The Future is Now In the Limelight Reviews Events Listings Maps The Last Word Picturesque Palestine Telefax: + 970/ Printed by Studio Alpha, Al-Ram, Jerusalem Binding by Al-Asdika, Al-Ram, Jerusalem Maps: Courtesy of PalMap - GSE Distributed by Theme: Palestine: A Land of World Heritage Sites Cover: Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Photo by Alessio Romenzi/CCHP What a month that was! A political tsunami is sweeping over the Arab world and it seems it is not over yet. It all started in Tunisia, and the ripple effects of the people s revolt are being felt in most Arab countries. Some regimes, in an effort to pre-empt the approaching uprising, scrambled to appease their citizens by introducing minor reforms, lowering the prices of commodities, and extending liberties that were hitherto forbidden. Others, unfortunately, have remained adamant in the face of popular demand and have used force to quell the revolt, which has resulted in high loss of life. Egypt s rebellion has not seen the number of casualties that the tiny country of Bahrain has witnessed so far (the revolt is still ongoing as of this writing). One thing is certain, though. People are no longer willing to remain silent in the face of dictatorship, corruption, and injustice. They are willing to sacrifice their lives if need be to bring about long-overdue change. Enough is enough is the order of the day. It is true that if things are not handled correctly the situation may get out of hand and bring about total chaos, with all kinds of political groups and factions jumping on the bandwagon each for its own interests such that in the final analysis that country may not end up in a situation that is better than the one it fought to rid itself of. But this does not mean that injustice has to go on forever. This issue is focused on placing Palestine on the list of World Heritage Sites. Palestine has many historic and archaeological sites that warrant this distinction. Some are universally recognised as such while others, as you will read in the articles herein, are being promoted as worthy of this classification. And they are spread all over the country, from the north all the way to the south, including the Gaza Strip that boasts its own important sites that are, unfortunately, out of reach to tourists due to the closure imposed on the Strip. Spring will be upon us soon, although it is doubtful that the landscape will be dotted with the colourful wild flowers that normally paint the Palestinian countryside with their varied hues due to the scarcity of rainfall this year. Still, plan on taking hikes and going on picnics in the days to come. Tony A. Khoury Editor-in-chief Forthcoming Issues: Inspirational Stories from Palestine - April 2011 Al Quds: A Living History - May 2011 Colours - June 2011 Advisory Board The views presented in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Maps herein have been prepared solely for the convenience of the reader; the designations and presentation of material do not imply any expression of opinion of This Week in Palestine, its publisher, editor, or its advisory board as to the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area, or the authorities thereof, or as to the delimitation of boundaries or national affiliation. Lana Abu Hijleh Country Director CHF International, Palestine Razan Kaloti Marketing and Communications Manager British Council Issa Kassissieh Office of the President Jane Masri Director of Communications - Zoom Advertising Rev. Mitri Raheb President - Diyar Consortium 2 3

3 Our Gift to Eternity: Securing Protection for Palestine s Heritage Sites By Khouloud Daibes Throughout the millennia, Palestine has been a meeting place for civilisations and a cultural bridge between East and West; it has played an important role in the evolution of human history. Human presence in Palestine stretches back over a million years. There has been a great deal of evidence attesting to the existence of successive cultures throughout the entire territory, which dates to prehistoric periods and marks the development of agricultural and urban life. Despite its relatively small size, Palestine comprises a myriad of cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value that reflect the cultural and natural diversity of Palestine. Palestine has extraordinary geological features, namely the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth. Palestine is described as the Land of Olives and Vines where olive trees and vineyards, distinctive features of the Palestinian cultural landscape, add to this the bio-diversity of wadis and forests that stretches all over the coastal regions. The Jerusalem Wilderness is not only a unique natural landscape but also rich in cultural heritage. Critical to the history of the evolution of human cultures are prehistoric caves and traces of early development of a sophisticated social and political system revealed in Tel Jericho. The abundance of archaeological sites some of which are rare in their architectural elements which bear exceptional historical, religious, and cultural testimonies provides a complete and comprehensive picture of the historical and archaeological evolution in the region. On a global scale, the religious sites and routes, significant to the three monotheistic religions, represent a unique time in human history when God s message was sent to the world through prophets. 4 The wealth of cultural and natural heritage is an important resource for the development of Palestine; it will help sustain both the Palestinian economy and identity, and it is viewed as an integral component of human heritage worldwide. While Palestine is not yet a State Party to the World Heritage Convention, I am confident that we are able to fulfil the role and responsibilities of protecting the cultural and natural heritage sites of potential outstanding universal value in its territory. Currently, we are leading a campaign for nominating sites for inscription on the World Heritage List. We have endorsed the Inventory of Twenty Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Value that reflects the cultural and natural diversity of Palestine. The sites were selected by the Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities through a consultative process that involved Palestinian experts from various public and private institutions with the technical assistance of the UNESCO Ramallah Office. The World Heritage Committee recognised the exceptional universal value embodied in the Palestinian cultural and natural heritage as per the decision taken at its 26 th session that was held in Budapest in June This important decision, which was taken at an international level, is Bethlehem in watercolour. 5 the cornerstone of strengthening the cooperation between the Palestinian Authority, UNESCO, and the advisory bodies of the World Heritage Convention with the goal of protecting the cultural and natural heritage in Palestine. Recently, we launched a campaign to place the city of Bethlehem on the World Heritage List, seeking to protect and preserve the area s landmarks. The project, which includes a petition, was launched by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in cooperation with the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation in Bethlehem and Bethlehem Municipality under the technical supervision of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah. In parallel, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is working jointly with the Municipality of Hebron and Hebron Rehabilitation Committee on the preparation of another Nomination File for Hebron, which will be submitted to the World Heritage Center next year. It is worth mentioning that the Old City of Jerusalem and Its Walls was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 when the city was under the Jordanian mandate. I want to thank the UNESCO Ramallah Office, the World Heritage Centre, their directors and staff for their dedication as well as the technical and financial support in the production of the English and Arabic editions of the Inventory and for the preparation of the Nomination File. I also want to thank the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to UNESCO, the various Palestinian institutions that were part of the Working Group, including the Cultural Heritage Preservation Centre and Bethlehem Municipality, the ministry staff and the programme coordinator as well as the international consultant who assessed the credibility of our inventory and Nomination File that will serve as a planning tool to safeguard our common heritage. Dr. Khouloud Daibes is Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.

4 World Heritage in Palestine: From Inventory to Nomination The submission of a Nomination File for Bethlehem to the World Heritage Centre in Paris on 26 January was an important event in a long journey that started with the World Heritage Committee declaration in 2002 in Budapest. It was a faithful interpretation of the intention of the World Heritage Committee, which provided technical and financial support to the Palestinian team through UNESCO. The submission of the Nomination File followed the signature of the accession request by the Palestinian president to the 1972 convention concerning the Entrance of the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Photo by Alessio Romenzi/CCHP By Dr. Hamdan Taha protection of the world s cultural and natural heritage. But the real story of the world heritage project in Palestine began ten years ago. Following the events of April 2002 in Palestine, especially the prolonged siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the destruction of significant historical buildings in the old core of the city of Nablus during the Israeli incursions, the World Heritage Committee, at its 26 th session in Budapest (June 2002), expressed its concern over possible further destruction and damage to Palestinian heritage. On that occasion, the committee emphasised the exceptional universal value of Palestinian heritage, encouraged the relevant authorities to take appropriate measures for its protection, and decided to provide financial support for the implementation of this task. Three key actions have been identified as a priority: a. Establishing an inventory of the cultural and natural heritage b. Evaluating the state of conservation and ensuring protection measures c. Building capacity within the responsible Palestinian institutions in view of the future implementation of the World Heritage Convention In October 2002 a UNESCO mission, composed of Mr. Francesco Bandarin, Director of the World Heritage Centre (WHC), and Mr. Giovanni Boccardi, Chief of the Arab States Unit at WHC, visited Palestine to evaluate the general status of cultural heritage. The mission met with officials from the Palestinian Authority and various stakeholders from local institutions, and also visited some of the most significant heritage sites. Subsequently, a work plan was discussed, delineating possible modalities for the implementation of the World Heritage Committee s decision in Palestine, with specific focus on the preparation of the inventory of the cultural and natural heritage sites, the assessment of the state of conservation of some selected sites, and training activities to introduce Palestinian experts to the objectives and procedures of the World Heritage Convention. The whole work plan focused on familiarisation with the mechanism of the World Heritage Convention as contained in its Operational Guidelines. Since the approval of the work plan a number of activities have been implemented. Training workshops A training workshop on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention was organised at ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) in Rome in September 2003 for sixteen Palestinian experts in cultural and natural heritage. The foremost aim of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the terminologies and procedures of the World Heritage Convention, including the preparation of Tentative Lists and Nomination Files. Afterwards, most of the trainees were involved in the preparation of the Palestinian inventory of cultural and natural heritage of potential outstanding universal value and related activities. Abundant support and consultation have been offered to the trained experts by the coordinators, namely the directorgeneral of the Department of Antiquities 6 7

5 and Cultural Heritage and the UNESCO Programme Specialist for Culture at the Ramallah Office, who ensured a close coordination with the Arab States Unit at the World Heritage Centre and the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to UNESCO. A second workshop, attended by the same specialists, focusing on the preparation of nomination dossiers and site management, was organised jointly by ICCROM and UNESCO, in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, in Bethlehem in July Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine In order to establish this first inventory a series of consultative meetings took place at the national level with experts and coordinators in order to identify the short list of proposed sites. Twenty sites were chosen out of more than sixty proposed ones. The inventory identifies cultural and natural sites that meet the criteria and requirements for inscription on the World Heritage List set by the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. It also reflects the priorities outlined in 1994 by the Global Strategy for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Five missions of international consultants have been organised with the purpose of examining the state of conservation of sites included in the inventory including Bethlehem, Hebron, and Nablus reviewing the final draft of the inventory, and providing advice on management. To promote the importance of Palestinian heritage, the Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage organised seven one-day consultative workshops for awareness-raising in various Palestinian localities, mainly targeting representatives of the local governments and other relevant decision makers. The overarching aim of these workshops was to raise public awareness of the World Heritage Convention and to engage the local communities in the debate, drawing their attention to planning and protection measures required to safeguard the outstanding universal value of the selected sites. The inventory consists of twenty sites, including seventeen cultural and three natural heritage sites, which reflect the cultural and natural diversity of Palestine. The list includes the historical cities (Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus), major archaeological sites (Tell es-sultan, Qumran, Sebastia, Mount Gerzim, Anthedon, and Tell Um Amer), cultural and religious routes, natural (Wadi Gaza, Umm er-rihan) and cultural landscape sites (Palestine, Land of Olives, El-Bariyah), as well as potential trans-boundary sites (Dead Sea). It is important to mention that The Old City of Jerusalem and Its Walls was inscribed on the World Heritage List in The wealth of these exceptional archaeological, historical, and spiritual values places Palestinian culture within the core of human history. In the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre s contribution for the protection of Palestinian heritage, an international workshop was held Photo from Palestine Image Bank. Mar Saba convent. Photo courtesy of The Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage archive. 8 9

6 in Jericho in February 2005, which aimed to discuss strategies to preserve the outstanding universal value of Tell es-sultan (Ancient Jericho), the oldest known city in the world. The key recommendation of the workshop was to prepare an integrated management plan enabling Tell es-sultan to meet the requirements for future nomination to the World Heritage List. The Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage is currently preparing nomination files for some of the sites included in this list. The first English edition was published in 2005 and submitted to the World Heritage Committee in its 29 th session in Durban, South Africa, for official endorsement. In 2006, the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) published the first Arabic edition of the inventory. In 2009 a second edition of the inventory was published in Arabic and English, supported by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. In January 2011, the Palestinian government submitted its formal request for membership in UNESCO s World Heritage Committee. Bethlehem Nomination File: Bethlehem the Birthplace of Jesus, the Church of the Nativity, and the Pilgrimage Route In early 2010 work began on the preparation of the Nomination File for Bethlehem. It was prepared by a team of Palestinian experts from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, CCHP, UNESCO office in Ramallah, and other individual experts, in cooperation with Prof. Peter Fowler, a world heritage consultant. The preparation of the file was carried out in full coordination with the Greek Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church through the custody of the Holy Land, the Armenian Church, and the Presidential Committee for the Restoration of the Church of Bethlehem. Another Nomination File for Hebron was prepared and will be submitted next year. 10 The outstanding universal value of Bethlehem is unquestionable. It bears a unique testimony to a cultural tradition centred on the story of the birth of Jesus. The Church of the Nativity represents an outstanding example of a monument that illustrates a significant stage in human history. The place is directly associated with the birth of Jesus and its many related traditions over two millennia. The city of Bethlehem is acknowledged worldwide as the birthplace of Jesus Christ and is holy to Christians and Muslims. The Church of the Nativity was built by Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, to commemorate the event. The church, first dedicated in 339 AD, was built on top of the cave where Jesus was born. The Church of the Nativity is currently an endangered site and needs immediate intervention. Today, Bethlehem and many of Palestine s cultural heritage sites are under threat from the destructive effects of a prolonged military occupation. A special committee was established by the president of Palestine for the restoration of the roof of the church as a first step toward a comprehensive restoration of the church. The main objective of the committee is to preserve the human values of the sites. The Nomination File for Bethlehem was submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 26 January. The submission of the file was announced to the public in a press conference organised at the Peace Centre in Bethlehem on 7 February. The submission of the file represents a major step toward the recognition of the outstanding universal value of the site and the recognition of the cultural rights of the Palestinian people. Dr. Hamdan Taha is Director-General of the Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and Programme Coordinator of the World Heritage Project in Palestine.

7 Battir Cultural Landscape wins the Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes By Giovanni Fontana Antonelli The terrace landscape of Battir. Photo by Federico Busonero/ UNESCO Photo Archive. 12 On 31 January, an international jury chaired by Mounir Bouchenaki, Director- General of ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), bestowed a prestigious honour upon the village of Battir. The Battir Cultural Landscape File, submitted by the PRCS (Palestinian Red Crescent Society), will be awarded the Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will present the award to the Battir Village Council and the multidisciplinary team who prepared the file at a ceremony to be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in May The international recognition is awarded exaequo to Battir and to another cultural landscape in Armenia. The Battir Cultural Landscape File refers to an area of 12 square kilometres located in the central West Bank (Bethlehem Governorate), seven kilometres south west of Jerusalem. It is composed of a system of valleys (widian) and ridges that stretch from Beit Jala, approximately 900 meters above sea level, to the Green Line, approximately 500 meters above sea level. The landscape includes water springs and caves, archaeological sites and features, vernacular architectures, the historic core of Battir Village, as well as its urban expansion the sprawl town. All of these features are immersed in a dense texture of terraces that are cultivated with olives, vines, almonds, fruit trees, and, when irrigated, vegetables, Photo by Federico Busonero/ UNESCO Photo Archive. including the famous Battiri aubergine. Dry-stone terrace walls in Battir, the predominant characterising feature within the whole area, amount to approximately 554,000 metres, whereas the terraces were classified into six main categories according to their typology: a) Valley-bottom terraces b) Irrigated terraces c) Enclosed terraces d) Contour terraces e) Cross-channel terraces (khalle) f) Relic terraces The latter type refers to abandoned areas where the lack of maintenance caused the progressive collapse of masonries and subsequent renaturalisation of those portions of territory and their vegetation. This process has created interesting transitional situations. Olive groves can now be found intertwined with the pioneering species of the Eastern Mediterranean Maquis, such as oak and carob trees, aromatic shrubs (e.g., Salvia fruticosa) and wild flowers (e.g., Cistus incanus). 13 Today this beautiful landscape is threatened by a variety of factors, both endogenous and exogenous; Palestinian land management and the Israeli policies and measures unilaterally imposed within the occupied Palestinian territory. The most threatening factors affecting the integrity of this living landscape are the abandonment of cultivated land and the lack of urban management tools, networks, and services including, waste management and plans to mitigate the urban sprawl encroaching on agricultural land. Further threats include the growing presence of landfills and garbage dumps in the valleys, pollution of the water sources, intensive Israeli settlement expansion, and construction of the Separation Wall (along the by-pass road of Beit Jala-Malcha). The settlement of Har Gilo and the Wall are both growing at the time of writing. The increasing construction of housing units, infrastructures, roads, and other kinds of services for the exclusive use of settlers has resulted in the progressive enclavisation of both the territorial area and the inhabitants of Battir. This process

8 is severely threatening the integrity of Battir s landscape and the sustainability of its ecological and environmental equilibrium. It is causing progressive erosion of the traditional relationship between Battir s rural population and its traditional spaces, as well as damaging socio-economic transformations. Since 2006, the UNESCO Ramallah Office, in cooperation with local stakeholders, introduced a phased project for the safeguarding of the cultural landscape. The project is aligned with the joint Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/ UNESCO initiative of publishing its Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine (2005). The Palestinian cultural landscape, referred to as the Land of Olives and Vines, was ranked number eight in the Inventory. One year later the Ministry prepared its first report on Palestinian cultural landscapes, choosing Battir as a case study. Based on the recommendations of this report, and benefiting from a Norwayfunded project, UNESCO commissioned a comparative study on the perception of landscape within the opt in The findings of the study were published in Research and Documentation of the Tangible and Intangible Elements of Olive Cultural Landscape in the Palestinian Highlands: The Villages of Battir and Asira el-shamaliya. Within the same project framework, it was possible to establish and equip a field office in Battir for the direct surveying of the cultural landscape with the aim of documenting, monitoring, and planning for future protection of the area. Three young Palestinian architects, guided by the writer and assisted by consultants specialising in disciplines such as hydrogeology, botany, agronomy, sociology, anthropology, and landscape planning, were exposed to a tailored on-thejob training programme for over two years. The result of their work was the Battir Landscape Conservation and Management Plan, with its set of maps and guidelines. The Plan became the core of the Nomination File which was awarded the international prize. Community participation actions, in close cooperation with the local authority, were carried out with the village s children and youth: planting trees, cleaning springs and restoring retaining walls. Various groups of visitors were guided through the hiking trails in the valleys. A joint Al- Quds University Bard Honors College/ Decolonising Architecture/UNESCO summer programme titled Space, Law and Planning was also carried out from July to September 2010 and its findings published and exhibited abroad. Thanks to the serious and professional work carried out during the various phases of the project, the Battir Village Council was recently awarded a two-year commitment from the Italian Cooperation, within the framework of its Palestinian Municipalities Support Programme (PMSP). The project aims to reinforce the capacities of local authorities and stakeholders in the fields of natural and cultural landscape management. Crucial to this initiative is the development of a model of sustainable use of the territory, notably the establishment of a Landscape Eco-museum in Battir, which will include the provision of tourist infrastructures in the village and light, sparse interventions in its territory e.g., hiking trails. To conclude, the writer together with all the professionals and stakeholders who believe in the safeguarding of this landscape in order to promote sustainable use of the opt s natural resources call for internationallyrecognised protection of this area. We must not allow Battir to continue suffering from the numerous factors that may irreversibly jeopardise the product of millennia of human activity, intimately intertwined with the work of nature. Giovanni Fontana-Antonelli is the Culture Programme Specialist at UNESCO s Ramallah office. 14

9 Palestinian Cave Culture Underground Cities and Cave Dwellings in the Mountains of Hebron By Dr. Ali Qleibo Leading a life of dire poverty, hayat el-kafaf, is beyond contemporary Palestinian imagination. How did people survive in years of drought in the old days? I asked Abu Ali on our way to visit the abandoned cave dwellings in Domeh, north of Dhahirieh. It is already the second year with minimal rainwater, and I am sure that the water wells have dried up. Is this a cyclical pattern? I wondered. Even in the good old days they barely eked out a living. Bread was their daily sustenance. When a drought took place they would sell their halal (livestock), land, and even their own children to ensure their survival. Theirs was a life of.(حياة الكفاف) kafaf Domeh is a suburb of cement houses that straddles a few rolling hills. Our house was built in the fifties. At that time we moved out of the cave, explained Abu Farid. Short, stocky, with dark complexion and African features, his children are, nevertheless, white with blue eyes and blonde hair, a common genetic phenotype that becomes dominant in the isolated villages in southern Palestine. Our caves interconnected with each other. He pointed his index finger to the opposite hill. At that time, over seventy years ago, eastern Domeh was known as Itwaneh.(عطوانه) The two quarters were connected to each other through an underground tunnel. Whereas the interconnected caves of Dhahirieh, Beit Jibrin, Iraq al-manshieh, and Tarqumia are on the same strata, the maze of caves in Domeh, Tell Zev, Al-Jof, and Al-Ramadeen are multilayered, interjected Abu Ali Hantash. The role the cave dwellings play in structuring the relationship with space is invaluable to the understanding of the underpinnings of modern Palestinian villages. 16 From the highway the sprawling village looks like a modern suburb. Once one is inside, the perspective of the village changes; paths branch out, sometimes interrupted by small squares from which dead-end ways emerge, leading to specific households. The hosh (courtyard), the room, and the orientation of space in the modern village on the ground parallel the structure underground. As we walked on the rocky plateau between the cement houses, my companions pointed out deep water wells and ventilation/light shafts in the various courtyards. My father moved out of the family cave and built our first domed room in 1952 right on top of our cave, Abu Farid nostalgically told me. Even the multipurpose single-family room its orientation in space, the organisation of the areas used to stack mattresses, seat the guests, store food, keep the animals, etc. parallels the structure of the single multipurpose cave below, which must have structured the modern concept of space above. Our caves lie beneath those wells and each would have a separate entrance, Abu Ala explained as we walked to his family cave. The passages between the caves are often narrow. One would have to stoop down, crawl, and at times squeeze oneself between the small apertures connecting the caves. Only in the main underground tunnel connecting East (Itwaneh) to West Domeh could one walk standing upright. Through my subsequent visits I realised that modernity in architecture for our peasants describes the movement from a single multipurpose room to the specialised use of space in various rooms. The cave has become the space for livestock and the stone dome room serves invariably as the pantry. The Chambers were dug out of the soft rock to entice doves and pigeons to build their nests in the openings provided. Dura. various cement annexes develop specific functions; the kitchen, bathroom, living room, master bedroom that ensures marital privacy, and separate bedrooms that enforce male/female segregation. After the caves as dwellings were abandoned, the dead are now buried in formal cemeteries at a distance from home. The only exception is that of the Dababseh clan in Tarqumia, where the abandoned dwelling cave has retained its function as the burial ground. The geological calcite structure of the Hebron Mountains abounds with subterranean caverns of various dimensions. For over five millennia caves have been endowed with a great symbolic value and have become the major architectural feature of the region. We meet with caves and grottos hewn 17 in the soft calcite strata everywhere. In this region, known for its hot summers and cold winters, the caves provided comfortable housing and storage space. In summer it was much cooler in the caves than outside, and in the winter they were shielded from the cold. The volume of these cave rooms played a major role in favouring this form of architecture. The cool temperature in the hot summer provided extra storage advantage. Caves were used as shrines, dwellings, burial grounds, refuge, storage, defence, and tombs by the early Hurrite settlers and continued to be the Palestinian hearth until recently. The survival of Palestinian cave culture until the turn of the twentieth century should neither surprise nor embarrass us. But the concept of progress

10 has brainwashed us to believe that cave dwellers are primitive. It is an architectural tradition; a building style in the negative, whereby living space is made by enlarging natural caves through digging, scooping, and chiselling out rock. The Hurrites, as their name implies, were troglodytes, and were the first Palestinian cave dwellers. Later, the Edomites took over the dwellings as well as the country. The move from the single multipurpose one-room tent, typical of Semitic housing, to a single multipurpose cave was an adaptation that accompanied the move from nomadic to settled pastoral life in the new ecological niche. Harvested grains, vegetables, and the various extracts of grapes and olives could be efficiently stored. Throughout history the various peoples that settled in southern Palestine adapted the survival strategies that the early semi-pastoral Hurrites had devised within the Mount Hebron ecological niche. It is a cultural strategy dating to the early Semitic settlement of pre-biblical Palestine and whose powerful symbolism still resonates in the Judeo-Christian- Muslim tradition as is evident in the Cave of Abraham in Hebron, the Cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the cave under the exquisite Dome of the Rock, etc. To these cavernous rocks, once sacred Baalic sanctuaries, the three monotheistic religions have discursively ascribed their respective narratives. Palestinian cave architecture is not only distinguished by a one stone on the other work of construction, but also a building style of the negative, where the inside is scooped out of the calcite stone. Whereas hard edges and protrusions are removed through chiselling, the cavities where snakes or scorpions could hide would be filled in with stones, and walls would be plastered. There is a great similarity between the single multipurpose cave dwelling and the conventional peasant hearth, al-jamalone, a Palestinian word of Aramaic origin that describes the popular twentieth-century single-room stone-domed houses. Significantly both negative and positive styles of architecture are used in the Palestinian cave dwellings. Invariably the quarried stones would be used to build walls and create private space between connecting caves. More frequently stone blocks were used to build annexes at the entrance of the dwelling cave that resembles a narthex. A narthex is a vaulted tunnel extending to the right and left at the entrance of the cave, very similar to the vault in the Cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Often a big wall is built at a distance from the cave. Walls and a ceiling would be built, in jamalone style, which would link with the rock strata above to add more space to the quarried cave. Different types of caves exist that reflect the various historical styles. Some caves have mills for crushing grapes and olives as in Deir Samet. Other caves were cut as dovecotes as in Dura and Domeh. Chambers were dug out of the soft rock and niches cut in the walls. Doves and pigeons would build their nests in the openings provided. Innumerable such niches were cut. The squabs, still considered a delicacy among Palestinians, could then be caught and eaten. Herodian ceremonial caves are dispersed here and there. Time changes and rearranges; what once was a cave tomb, an olive oil mill, or a pagan shrine became a dwelling place as cultures and symbolic values changed. In modernity, post-byzantine period, irrespective of previous functions, these caves would serve exclusively as Palestinian dwellings, in which the practice of burying the dead in the hearth was common until as recently as one hundred years ago, a ritual that has been confirmed by all my informants. In Yatta, the practice of lighting candles at the windows on the Sabbath, dating to biblical times, still survives. These regional traditions are fossil survivals from ancient Semitic civilisations attesting to the heterogeneity of the Canaanite tribes in Ancient Palestine. The cohabitation with the ancestors buried in the ground in the same cave indicates that these early tribes were neither Jewish nor early Byzantine Christian but an ethnic religious population in whose context Judaism and Christianity defined their respective identities. By building large underground storage areas, water wells, and complex ventilation systems as well as by connecting passages a few kilometres long, the mass murder of the early Canaanite tribes could be prevented. As Egyptian, Hittite, Philistine, Roman, Israelite, Babylonian, Byzantine, Persian, and Crusader armies and marauding Bedouins swept the land, the underground maze of caves provided ideal refuge. These multileveled subterranean towns could be easily sealed off by blocking the few entries by the mere piling of stones at the entrance or the simple placement of millstones at others. Throughout the past five millennia, that is from the Early Bronze settlements of the Hurrites through the Chalcolithic period and the eventual formation of the early Canaanite city-state to modernity, the caves provided an ideal shelter and ensured the survival of the Palestinians. The pattern of joint life in the interconnected caves dialectically structured the Palestinian family giving prominence to al-hamuleh, the clan, as the elementary unit of kinship. Am Salamonah is a small hamlet south of Bethlehem. Its handsome stone villas strike deep roots in cave culture. The individual cave was huge. Abu Nidal assumed a sober pose as he remembered his youthful experiences. Our neighbours in the adjoining caves were my grandfather s brothers. My grandfather and his children shared one cave, his brothers the others. No strangers lived with us. He further explained: In al-khirab, the hamlets, each clan would share a group of caves. My uncles built their modern houses on top of the ancestral caves. Regarding burial customs in the cave dwellings, Abu Nidal in Am Salamonah Passages between caves are now sealed and the once dwelling cave is now used to keep livestock and chicken. Domeh. The cave dwelling resembles the familiar peasant multipurpose room. At-Tuwani. explained: The dead need not be totally interred in the ground. In some instances holes are dug in the rock for burial purposes He told me he had seen caves where the dead were laid on top of the ground with soil and rocks heaped on top. We arrived at At-Tuwani, a hamlet carved of rocks that bears no relationship to modernity; an anthropologist s dream! The distant view of the cluster of the domed rectangular jamalone rooms leading into the cave dwellings piled one on top of the other straddling the rolling mound, as the traditional homestead of the Palestinian peasant, dissolves upon close inspection into an urban pastoral fantasy. I was ushered into the cave, accompanied with idioms of hospitality, gestures, and welcoming smiles, past the constructed narthex and into the 18 19

11 In 1952 Abu Farid s father moved out of the family cave and built the first domed room right on top of their cave dwelling. Domeh. hearth. A nude yellow light bulb added dramatic shadows to the cavernous room blackened by the soot of ages from the open wood fire for cooking and heating. The cave resembled the typical peasant multipurpose room but was extremely poor. In the upper centre of the room three mattresses, arranged in a U shape, demarcated the guests area. I was led to the place of honour, sidr el beit. For the first time in Palestine I was in a house without television, without Internet, and without running water or even a refrigerator! I could establish a dialogue with neither the father nor the son; they belonged to a different world view, the encounter with which I had not been prepared for. Usually I conduct my interviews with people who had left the caves, abandoned agriculture, and had become relatively wealthy enterprisers, lawyers, and white-collar professionals whose nostalgia for the old ways has become an articulate discourse. Those who still live the traditional way have not yet disengaged from their life to reflect on it. They are not discursive. Abu Ala and the cave dwellers shared the same world view. A jolly charmer, he informed them of the name of his clan and asked about theirs. Then they engaged in clarifying a kinship chart; who do they know and what is their relationship to who s who in Yatta. My hazel-eyed, fuzzy, ash-blonde host smiled graciously as he embraced his children who huddled around him like chickens around a hen. Safe in their father s embrace they scrutinised the city man. The minutiae of their daily life were innumerable. Behind me the mattresses, pillows, and blankets were stacked one on top of the other. At the entrance to the left stood a stove on which the tea was brewing. A metal locker, bags, piles of things spread along the sides Ropes stretched across the ceiling. At one distant corner, a homemade wool pouch, the size of a prayer rug, dangled prominently in the air. It is for storing the bread. The pouch keeps it fresh. For millennia life and death, the survival of the family and all that is meaningful depended on the only staple: bread. Daily life was a life of hardship, and bread was a gift of God, His daily Grace. In their sanctuary, beyond the built-up narthex, the Lord dwelled. Bread is the token of Divine love, His compassion and His mercy. Trusting in His grace our ancestors lived out the unfolding of our human spiritual drama barely surviving from day to day with bread as their daily sustenance, kafaf yawmina. Here our Canaanite ancestors thanked their god of rain and fertility, Baal. Their supplicant words have become our daily prayer. Dr. Ali Qleibo is an anthropologist, author, and artist. A specialist in the social history of Jerusalem and Palestinian peasant culture, he is the author of Before the Mountains Disappear, Jerusalem in the Heart, and the recently published Surviving the Wall, an ethnographic chronicle of contemporary Palestinians and their roots in ancient Semitic civilisations. His filmic documentary about French cultural identity, Le Regard de L Autre was shown at the Jerusalem International Film Festival. Dr. Qleibo lectures at Al-Quds University. He can be reached at 20

12 Palestine: A Future for Its Heritage? I have been visiting Palestine since 2004, always on heritage business. These words are a reaction to that experience which came to an end on 7 February, the day on which the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities held a press conference to announce that the Palestinian National Authority had submitted a nomination to the World Heritage Committee. The submission specifies that the following be inscribed on the World Heritage List: Birthplace of Jesus: The Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem. What on earth does that jumble of words mean? Let me try to explain through a mix of personal experience and official procedures. By Peter Fowler heritage. Clearly, then, only certain sorts of heritage can be conserved by international agreements, government laws, and local authority regulations; most heritage is personal and intangible and has to find its future by other means, or disappear. Many folk songs, much folklore, and even whole languages are, for example, disappearing. analytical surveys then have to be made of such sites, whatever their nature and date, to establish their extent, nature, and condition, before decisions can be made about their future. These futures can range from demolition to complete reconstruction, from preservation by reburial in the case of an excavated archaeological site to refurbishment for modern usage in the case of an historic building. Every case is different, but there is now a well-understood, international body of theory, principles, and empirical example. There, the fabric of the Old City, now subjected to detailed survey by the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation, is recognised as having national significance. It is protected under Antiquities legislation, and a consortium of the local districts under their mayors has drawn up a splendid set of principles and practical guidelines intended to maintain and conserve existing historic fabric and steer future development in appropriate directions. Yet, within the Old City, the visitor all too readily sees ugly protrusions on the walls and roofs of What is heritage? Basically heritage is something created before today, something tangible or intangible, to which an individual, a group of people, an institution, a government or state, or an international organisation attaches some value. So the Pyramids of Giza, outside Cairo, are universally recognised as heritage by the millions of tourists who visit them, by UNESCO through its World Heritage Committee s acknowledgment that they are of outstanding universal value, and by the Egyptian government which has to bear the cost of looking after them. The pyramids are also important economically because they make a significant contribution to Egypt s tourist industry. Thank God, said my Cairo taxidriver, for putting the pyramids in Egypt. But tourism is only one facet of heritage. My heritage, like yours, is a mixture of inherited ideas and traditions, of famous places, such as five-thousand-year-old Stonehenge, and famous things, such as the eighth-century Lindisfarne Gospels. Some places and things, however, are very personal to me and absolutely not to go on any official list of England s 22 Pillars at Herodion. Photo from Palestine Image Bank. Olive grove between Nablus and Jenin. Photo from Palestine Image Bank. What is heritage work? Despite that, heritage is often first thought of in terms of natural heritage, archaeological sites, and historic buildings. Such heritage sites are not always self-evident: in my working career I have seen ugly nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture and dirty industrial sites come to be recognised as heritage, as perception of it has shifted from the aesthetic and elitist alone to a more functional, socio-economic concept of significance. Skilled and East wall of Jerusalem s Old City. Photo from Palestine Image Bank. knowledge for the well-informed heritage manager to draw on. This is now a professional field, requiring universitylevel training, academic knowledge, and experience, from which come the necessary skills and good judgment. Sadly in some ways, the days of the gifted amateur are over; yet, paradoxically, everywhere professionals recognise that the best way to safeguard a site is through the involvement of local people. Official protection of the tangible has its limits: Bethlehem is a very good 23 buildings, crumbling walls of abandoned hofs and the most inappropriate modern structures, some all too near that most holy of places, the Church of the Nativity. I found it very sad to see hundreds of tourists daily bussed to within a few yards of the church, spend most of their time in Bethlehem standing in a queue to descend to the Grotto of the Nativity, and then leave without experiencing anything of either the historic streets or the interesting people along them. Yet it is now this church and the Pilgrimage Route

13 to it mainly Star Street that the PNA has nominated as a World Heritage site. What is World Heritage? World Heritage was defined in an official document called The World Heritage Convention, adopted in 1972 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The World Heritage Committee has its executive centre based in Paris with a professional staff to carry forward what has by now become a huge and complex task (see its excellent website: That is where the Bethlehem nomination is now. Signatories of the Convention themselves nominate potential World Heritage Sites from their own territories, but there is a problem here for Palestine: it has not signed the World Heritage Convention, nor can it. So it is going to be very interesting to see how UNESCO handles this nomination, for no one can deny that the Church of the Nativity is one of the world s most significant heritage sites were it not for the political and military situation it would have been one of the very first sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. What about heritage in the rest of Palestine? Well, as in other countries, there s a lot of it, hundreds if not thousands of archaeological sites, similar numbers of historic buildings and numerous natural sites we do not know the exact numbers, and in any case their numbers change as, on the one hand, sites are destroyed and, on the other, new sites are found and also recognised, as perception of heritage changes too. In 2004, for example, I saw President Arafat s semi-fortified HQ in Ramallah change from workplace to international shrine immediately after his death. Six years ago the PNA began the process of identifying Palestine s old heritage officially by publishing an Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites... in Palestine (2005), a book which has proved so useful that it was reprinted in Arabic in 2006 and in a second edition in English and Arabic in I was privileged to help in its preparation and was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and local knowledge on which it is based and by the courtesy with which I was treated everywhere as I travelled north to Jenin and south to El Bariyah and the unforgettable setting and monastery of Mar Saba. It contains only 20 sites three natural and seventeen cultural but the Inventory was at least a start: it identified really important places, fairly obvious ones like Jericho, Hebron, and Qumran, and perhaps less obvious ones, nevertheless of outstanding interest, e.g., Mount Gerizim above Nablus and Sebastia approximately 10 km to the north west. Each site has its own character and difficulties, especially if it is envisaged as having World Heritage potential. The cable car so blatantly crossing the tel at Jericho, for example, is a big no-no in World Heritage terms; the car park and visitor centre at Qumran is far too close to the monastic ruins by modern standards; issues of access and interpretation clearly arise at Mount Gerizim and Sebastia in keeping a balance between their essential nature and increased visitor numbers. Of the 17 cultural sites, some of more than one place or structure, a few show good-quality recent conservation work but most have had little modern care and attention devoted to them, are not in very good physical condition, and require considerable resources to bring their conservation, presentation, and interpretation up to present-day standards. Palestine s cultural heritage includes more than sites and buildings. The Inventory lists four themes, represented by individual sites linked together: the ideas of trade routes through, to, and from Palestine, and of religious routes in the Holy Land; the apparently curious idea of throne villages, a cluster of seven villages in western Palestine which were local seats of political and financial power in the late Ottoman Empire, marked by distinctive architecture of the sheikh residences; and the idea of Palestine, Land of Olives and Vines, involving the identification of more than one historic landscape where terraces, watchtowers, storage sheds, trackways, steps, and all the other furniture of a long-lived agricultural landscape survive, preferably at least in part in working order. Such conditions have proved difficult to find in a land increasingly developed, militarised, and settled; but an excellent example lies just outside Bethlehem in the shape of the Battir Valley. It has been recorded in detail with the help of the local people in a survey of such excellence that it has just been awarded the Melina Mercouri Prize for Cultural Landscapes, a great honour. Sadly, the area is immediately Roman ruins of Sebastia. Photo from Palestine Image Bank. threatened by settlement expansion, an intention of such crassness as to be incomprehensible to an outsider like me. The Future? Politics is but one of several problems apparent in the management of Palestine s heritage sites and landscapes. Lack of resources is another. But, sadly, Palestine is not alone in either: many countries find difficulty in looking after their cultural heritage properly, for heritage does not come cheap and tourism does not always deliver the hoped-for income. Goodness knows the Ministry does its best, and UNESCO and other international agencies, including foreign universities, make notable contributions. Palestine is relatively well-off in its external heritage support. It also has some good people in heritage management but it needs to upgrade its own capability in this respect, quantitatively and qualitatively. It is fine now to be able to call on skilled Italian architects and conservators; it is all very well that so-called experts like me drop in from time to time; but one day Palestine will have to look after its own, and it must be ready for that, in the heritage field as in other respects. Peter Fowler, MA, PhD, FSA, is the former head of the Historical Monuments Commission in England and professor of archaeology at Newcastle University. He has been involved as a World Heritage consultant for UNESCO, ICOMOS, and numerous other organisations since Among his several books is Landscapes for the World. Conserving a Global Heritage (2004)

14 Palestinian Atmospheres: An Extraordinary Journey for the Preservation of Cultural Diversity By Giovanni Fontana Antonelli I was posted as cultural heritage expert at the UNESCO office in Ramallah in May 2003, one year after the dramatic events that hit Palestinian civilians, towns, and heritage sites in April Actually the fact that I was assigned to this duty station was the direct consequence of the siege of the Church of the Nativity and the destruction of historical buildings inflicted on the Old City of Nablus. The World Heritage Committee, convened in Budapest in June 2002, recognised the exceptional universal value of Palestinian cultural heritage and requested that UNESCO assist the Palestinian Authority in establishing an inventory of such outstanding cultural and natural heritage. My task was to evaluate the state of conservation of heritage sites and design measures for their safeguarding, as well as building capacities within the relevant Palestinian institutions in preparation for the future implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Since 2002, the annual allocation of funds from the World Heritage Committee, managed by the UNESCO Office in Ramallah in close consultation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, has contributed to the achievement of the aforementioned objectives. The culmination of eight years of PA-UNESCO joint work in this domain was the preparation and submission of the first nomination of a Palestinian cultural heritage site for inscription on the World Heritage List: the Birthplace of Jesus: The Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem, as already published in the Inventory of Palestinian Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value (2005). Almost eight years have passed since the day I took office, and I have become better acquainted with the Palestinian context the religious monuments, ancient buildings, archaeological sites, historic towns and villages, and cultural landscapes but also with the people who live in and around them. This includes both the local community and the professionals who are engaged in the preservation of these places and their identity. The World Heritage programme in the opt was not the sole area of interest, although the Inventory (with its 20 sites) has served as a strategic tool to map the most important sites for conservation and management. It has been an extraordinary journey, made up of unique, diverse experiences, all tailored to understand the complexity and distinctiveness of each site. There have been rare encounters, as well as intense struggles to promote a sense of belonging that is vanishing under the pressure of external factors, alien to the millenary culture that shaped Historic Palestine, land of conquests and immortal civilisations. A few days ago I was wandering across the stones of ruined houses in Jabaa, a village squeezed between the urban sprawl of Al Ram to the south, the huge wound of Qalandia s stone quarries to the west, and the Israeli settlements of Kochav Ya akov and Geva Binyamin to the north and east. Despite the oppressed setting, the site was still able to communicate to me the spirit of a land, the indomitable character of its people, and the slow duration of the agricultural seasons that, year after year, displayed the life of the village. On that morning, climbing on the stone rubble colonised by the spontaneous vegetation, I was reflecting on the reasons and challenges of preserving and managing cultural heritage. In Roofless cathedral of Sebastia. Photo by Giovanni Fontana Antonelli/UNESCO Photo Archive, particular what is the sense of all this? The genes of the place were whispering in my ears that the task is immense and cannot be undertaken in a few years; it requires the collective efforts of generations, once they regain their sense of belonging to the place. It is not obvious, and it is not ascertainable. However, in an extended meantime, it is imperative to pave the road for the re-appropriation of the identity of places and the significance of heritage sites. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, UNESCO has worked in close cooperation with the newborn government to promote the safeguarding of cultural heritage as a means of dialogue and understanding. Several projects and programmes were implemented and are still ongoing in the governorates of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, towards the holistic protection of sites through capacitybuilding, policy-making, pilot projects, and best practices. Ten features, eight of which are included in the Inventory, are benefiting from tailor-made projects specifically designed by UNESCO and its Palestinian partners for their conservation and promotion. The Bethlehem Area Conservation and Management Plan contributes to the safeguarding of the historical, architectural, urban, and landscape assets of Bethlehem and its surroundings. Cultural Routes: In the Footsteps of the Prophets represents a strategy for developing qualitative cultural tourism as an alternative to mass pilgrimage tourism. Integrated Planning for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape of Sebastia, addresses conservation issues for the archaeological site, historic core and the landscape within the larger scope of the MDGF joint programme for Culture and Development in the opt. Enhancement of the Archaeological Park of Hisham s Palace in Jericho, 26 27

15 Khan al Wakala. Photo by Giovanni Fontana Antonelli/UNESCO Photo Archive, with its House of the Mosaics, is being designed by world-renowned architect Peter Zumthor, while the palace s gardens are being redesigned by world-acclaimed landscape designer Gilles Clement. The newly-established Palestine Riwaya Museum in Bethlehem aims to present the public with stories and narratives associated with the history, beliefs, traditions, and customs of the people who inhabited this land. The establishment of the Archaeological Park of Tell Balata in Nablus contributes to its conservation, management, and enhancement as a visitor-friendly destination. The Rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the Khan al-wakala, a caravanserai of the eighteenth century, in Nablus, addresses capacitybuilding for young professionals in architectural conservation and the renovation and upgrading of the building as a multipurpose facility. Revival of the Earthen Architecture in the Jordan Valley, within the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, aims to improve the physical living conditions of the inhabitants of the area and restoring its historic and vernacular buildings. Emergency Conservation Measures at the Archaeological Site of Tell Umm Amer/ Saint Hilarion Monastery in Nuseirat, advocates integrated protection, conservation, and management of this archaeological resource as a priority for the cultural development of the local communities living in the Gaza Strip. Finally the Battir Landscape Conservation and Management Plan, is a pilot project designed and implemented for the protection of the open-air treasures that comprise prehistoric hilltops, rock-cut tombs, ancient irrigation systems, stone houses and watchtowers, immersed within 554 kilometers of handbuilt terraced walls. All the joint work mentioned above is the result of a great cooperation, of which I am very proud, although, quoting my senior colleague and friend Peter Fowler, one day Palestine will have to look after its own, and it must be ready for that, in the heritage field as in other respects. Giovanni Fontana-Antonelli is the culture programme specialist at UNESCO s Ramallah Office. 28

16 Outdoor Adventures with a Dash of Heritage Look, we understand that everyone s busy. We know that after a hard day s labour it seems ambitious just to change a channel or make a meal with two colours. But that doesn t mean we can t find the time to explore the world of rich natural wonders that lie beyond city limits. We at TWIP are huge fans of the wild outdoors and were alarmed to discover how little information is available to help you access Palestine s most enchanting beauty spots. We couldn t sleep at night thinking about the missed opportunities; so with the able assistance of ace photographer and hiking expert Bassam Almohor, we have conjured up five super outdoor adventures which take in some of the West Bank s finest heritage sites (and won t get you killed by wild boars). 1. Shuqba Cave and Wadi Natuf Just 15 km north of Ramallah you can retrace the footsteps of the Natufians in the world s first known inhabited area. The Natufians were a precocious huntergatherer tribe that roamed the wadi 15,000 years ago. Signs of their unique lifestyle continue to emerge. Don t be surprised should you encounter bones; it was Natufian custom to bury relatives under their homes. They also used bones for blades, jewellery, and cooking tools, practises which earned them recognition for their historic contribution to the development of new technologies. The largest and most striking cave in the area is Shuqba, a huge canyon carved out of the hillside, with inner pathways to explore. It is a convenient point from which to access Wadi Natuf and the nearby Wadi Az-Zarqa nature reserve, teeming with exotic wildlife and glorious scenery. Suggested route: Catch a servees (shared taxi) to Wadi Az-Zarqa, between Beit Ilo and Deir Nizam. It should take half a day to get to Shuqba cave. Risks: Wild boars are only dangerous if you antagonise them, so don t. An Israeli 30 By Bassam Almohor/TWIP bypass road lies close to Shuqba Cave, so there may be military patrol cars. 2. Wadi Badan and Sebastia A 20-minute bus ride from Nablus takes you to the lush forests of Wadi Badan, one of the largest and least-spoilt green spaces in the West Bank. The local village of Al-Badan has served as an important station on trade routes since 12,000 BC, and fascinating glimpses of its history are everywhere from the Ottoman water mills to Death Rock, where the British army conducted executions. Archaeologists flock to the adjacent village of Sebastia, formerly a major city of the Roman Empire with many ruins and artefacts that survive to this day, including the remains of a theatre. Sebastia has been subject to major renovation recently and now hosts a visitor information centre, restaurants, and a gorgeous guesthouse with period designs. We should add that nobody should go with the intention of looting artefacts, as such behaviour has already damaged the site. Suggested route: Servees to Wadi Badan, then a four-hour hike to Sebastia where you really should spend a night at the guesthouse. Risks: Part of the Sebastia site lies in Area C, so settlers and soldiers are often present. 3. Ras Karkar and surroundings A short drive west from Ramallah. One of the West Bank s best-preserved throne villages is a treat for history students. The village is dominated by the ancient Samhan family castle, still in pristine condition, its luxurious architecture a testament to the power enjoyed by its eighteenth-century rulers. Throne villages have been nominated for 31 UNESCO heritage status on the basis of their harmonious integration of urban architecture with rural areas, and Ras Karkar is a shining example of manmade and natural beauty combined. The view from its peaks stretches all the way to the west coast and takes in several charming villages that also merit a visit. Suggested route: Start at Ras Karkar and proceed via Deir Ammar to Wadi Az-Zarqa. Risks: The site has been increasingly plagued by nearby settlements. Talmon settlers have been responsible for recent violence and destruction of land. 4. Wadi Qelt One of the best-known and most naturally diverse areas. Full of established pathways, the valley between Ramallah and Jericho is a hiker s paradise. There are natural springs to bathe in and the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. George to admire, as well as the unique phenomenon of the pools in Ein Fawwar. These pools are filled slowly by underground canals in the mountains, the pressure causing a visible bubbling effect. Once the pool is full it drains suddenly before repeating the process. Visitors can expect to see gazelles and an exotic range of plant life among the rolling hills.

17 Suggested route: Begin at Ein Fawwar, off the road from Ramallah to Jericho, and travel on through the wadi to Jericho. Please note that this will take all day. Risks: You are occasionally required to make small jumps over cliffs, but the greatest peril is from rain. We do not recommend this route in winter as any rain can cause flash-floods which have caused several fatal accidents. 5. Wadi Daraj and the Dead Sea Also known as the Palestinian Petra, this site is home to acres of stunning soft-rock formations. Much of the area is well signposted (in English) so it s easy to avoid getting lost. At times you will be forced to walk in single file to penetrate the labyrinthine pathways, but rockclimbers will feel at home. The wadi is so large that one can easily spend a day exploring its peaks and canyons. 32 Suggested route: We recommend giving it a full weekend. Begin at the Dead Sea around the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and proceed to Nabi Musa, home to Moses Tomb and splendid amenities. Spend a night at the campsite there before moving to Wadi Daraj for a day of Petracular adventuring. Risks: Climbing in the wadi involves navigating steep cliff faces. There are ropes in places for safety but exercise caution. Bassam Almohor grew up in Al-Hafireh, Jenin, with a deep enthusiasm for hiking which was encouraged by his late brother s passion for geography. His early encounter with books started with natural geography at the age of 8, and his love of photography intensified with ownership of his first camera at 29.

18 Towards a Green Tourism in the Land of Olives and Vines By Sami Backleh Palestine Land of Olives and Vines! What could better signify a feature of a landscape that has always maintained the delicate balance between culture and nature? In 2005 a team of Palestinian experts under the supervision of the Department of Antiquities and the UNESCO office in Ramallah prepared an inventory of twenty natural and cultural heritage sites that have potential outstanding value in Palestine for future ratification and implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The inventory identifies cultural and natural sites that meet the criteria and requirements for inscription on the World Heritage List. Partridges. Photo by Sami Backleh. 34 Terraced landscapes under the theme Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines had been tentatively listed. According to the criteria which define cultural landscapes in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the Land of Olives and Vines fell under criteria ii, iv, and v, which basically symbolise the cultivated terraces in the West Bank and outline their value at the environmental level as well as their important historical role at an economic level, deriving from the productive use of the land. In Palestine, approximately 60 percent of terraces today are still being used for agricultural purposes, as they were in ancient times. These agricultural terraces cover about 57 percent of the mountainous areas. Planted mostly with olive trees, terraces are also monuments to life itself. These landscapes celebrate the traditional lifestyle of many Palestinians. They celebrate olives as an important staple and as the basis for many traditional Palestinian practices, myths, and beliefs. It is this particular regional culture s special imprint on and relationship with nature, manifested in significant aesthetic and harmonic values. Although the spread of terracedcultivated lands in the past has been questioned, there have been reports of these lands as far back as the fifth century BC, and even earlier to the Iron Age. While being sites associated with anthropogenic activities within the 35 Mediterranean ecosystem, terraced landscapes are said to be an important habitat for various flora and fauna species, some of which are reported to be of high conservation value. Their geographical locations bounded with the springs that are distributed in various areas along these landscapes have been favourable to high floral and faunal diversity within the mountainous region. Several plant species, including some that are known to be threatened and endangered, are suspected to be found there. It is worth mentioning that Palestine has been recognised as the bottleneck for bird migration, the central highlands being an integral component of migration routes in the country, offering stopover and roosting sites. Notably, the Israeli occupation in most parts in the West Bank and the pervasive presence of illegal settlements, in addition to the construction of the separation Wall, have heavily affected the landscape in the region, resulting in a significant reduction of the land available for agricultural production. In addition to the political aspect, the causes of increasing environmental disputes in Palestine include demographic change, natural resources competition, developmental pressures, and structural injustices in combination with limits to sustainable harvesting of renewable natural resources, which are often cited as the underlying cause of conflict over natural resources, both among community groups as well as between community groups and outside (public and private) organisations. As a consequence, important biodiversity elements have deteriorated and are said to be threatened and endangered either due to overexploitation or habitat fragmentation and degradation. In Palestine, generally, the impact of nature and biodiversity may appear to be of low priority when compared to the parallel human suffering caused by growing conflict. However, the impact on the ecosystem should not be set aside, as these impacts can themselves have

19 conservation of modified habitat, while expanding the knowledge about the important and beneficial elements of the Palestinian natural heritage that are worth conserving. In addition, ecotourism is a means for cultural interaction and revival. In terraced landscapes, such a programme may activate and encourage local people through enhancing traditional food and customs, which may be of interest to tourists. Native dances and ancient handicrafts could be a good means to promote the cultural riches that are worth maintaining. may also bring much revenue to the local market. The point to be made here is that ecotourism sites should not simply be developed for international tourists of the North American and European varieties. Palestinian residents will also need more recreational space as urbanisation takes its toll. And yet, in recent years, attention to adventure tourism among Palestinian youth is taking place. The concept of ecotourism is now introduced to school students through various organisations that work in the field of environmental education. The number of people who are open to hiking or Palestinian terraces. Photo by Emile Ashrawi. economic consequences, while there are also losses at the cultural level that may be irreplaceable. Therefore, the preservation of these terraced landscapes is essential, not only to protect the ecosystem including wild living organisms and their specific habitats and to prevent land degradation, but also to protect the people s roots, history, landscaping, and cultural way of life by preserving the remnants of their history within these old terraces. One of the approaches that can both conserve these landscapes and bring economic incentives to locals is ecotourism. The current interest in ecotourism is partly a realisation that it can be used as a positive conservation tool by increasing funding or awareness. In principle, ecotourism is often viewed and promoted as being consistent with conservation objectives as it is implemented on a small scale that has limited ecological impact. It is widely recognised as the most rapidly growing sector within the tourism market. In its simplest definition, ecotourism is seen as the kind of tourism that implies responsible travelling to natural and relatively undisturbed areas to admire and enjoy the scenery of biodiversity and the associated cultural heritage. Affected by cultural tourism and tourist behaviour, ecotourism is distinguished from other types of tourism because it leads to the sustainability and development of specific targeted areas. According to scientists, ecotourism is seen as a potential vehicle to provide environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural benefits at both local and national levels. Consequently, the natural and cultural resources of a specific area are considered efficient tools to achieve such benefits for nature and humans owing to the introduction of ecotourism in that society. Research indicates that 82 percent of eco-tourists are college graduates; this means that, in general, people who travel for ecotourism purposes are aware of the environmental impact on nature. Ecotourism means education for both tourists and residents of nearby communities. Thus ecotourism has the potential to increase public appreciation of the environment and to spread awareness of environmental problems when it brings people into closer contact with nature. This confrontation may heighten awareness of the value of nature and lead to environmentally conscious behaviour and activities to preserve the environment. Moreover, the ecotourist may actively assist in habitat enhancement and restoration. This could be achieved by means of donations, policing, maintenance, and other types of contributions. Therefore ecotourism provides incentive for the restoration and Palestinian-grown grapes. Photo by George Azar. In this regard, the local population may gain revenue in various ways from ecotourism to their sites. Ecotourism in such landscapes with guides from the region is considered an exciting idea for tourists and a way that local people can utilise their daily life for gaining economic revenues. Home-stay hosts and small inns in surrounding villages can also benefit from tourist visits while enhancing cultural interaction. Furthermore, the sale of cultural products and traditional food bird-watching opportunities is increasing; the desire to learn about our valuable natural and cultural heritage is growing; and, finally, the potential to develop a sector of tourism that would benefit both man and nature in Palestine is high. Sami Backleh is a conservation biologist. He works as the Middle East Program Regional Coordinator for the Quebec- Labrador Foundation (QLF). He can be reached at 36 37

20 Our Heritage, Our Children By Cairo Arafat As you look through the pages of This Week in Palestine you will see the beauty of Palestine. In each of the sites pictured, I can imagine the young Palestinian child running through the courtyards, valleys, hills, mosques, monasteries, and palaces playing, laughing, and imagining what tomorrow will bring. What we know for sure is that like these sites, generations of Palestinian children have witnessed the misfortune and tragedy of occupations that have sought to expunge their presence and existence. rays on these blossoms and give warmth to children of all faiths. The beautiful mosaics of Hisham s Palace are like puzzles for young children. You can see them on their knees touching the blue, peach, and green mosaic pieces that together make up intricate designs. Many pieces are missing. But the essence of the design and its purpose are crystal clear. These sites have weathered snowstorms and droughts. But they linger. The footprints of warring parties and occupiers are Photo by Rani Al Najjar. Yet like the stones of the Jerusalem Wall and the seven gates, our children have remained strong and steadfast in the face of the forces that seek to deny them their existence, their childhood. The flowers are beginning to bloom in the fields of Sebastia. Through the cracks of stones, the most beautiful blossoms emerge. Tender, yet stalwart. They will survive and enjoy the sun that sheds its warmth on all. The sun will continue to shed its 38 evident in the cracks, crevices, and missing pieces. But their beauty, value, and significance remain. Like these sites, our children will survive and persevere. Children are our heritage and will also create the future. Looking to the past should help us realise that developing children s cultural and national identity is a key building block that determines not only who they are, but what they can become.

21 Gaza: A Historic Centre of the World Since the Neolithic period, the important geo-strategic and fertile region of southwestern Palestine has attracted tribes to settle and create some of the earliest known impermanent and ephemeral human structures. Gaza was the terminus of ancient trade routes connecting Egypt with Canaan (Palestine), Syria, and Mesopotamia, used by the Pharaohs in their Asia campaigns, including during the reigns of Senusret ( BC) and Tuthmosis III ( BC). The port of Gaza linked the entire region with the rest of the Mediterranean. For armies, trading caravans, and later pilgrims, it was the focal point for centuries. Thus Gaza is blessed with a legacy of historic sites, villages, mosaics, and artefacts. Since its establishment in 1994, the Palestinian Department of Antiquities has been devoting its efforts to illuminate and protect sites of historic import, and to provide the academic community and general public with data on the history and archaeology of this region. It has been a great challenge. We must remind readers that the artefacts and material from the sites excavated during the British Mandate of Palestine and the Israeli occupation are still not in the possession of the Palestinian people, violating the international conventions concerned with cultural property, such as the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague Convention). We further regret that a series of sites were looted prior to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. These treasures found their way to illegal private collections and black markets, in violation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Nonetheless, efforts by the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and joint Palestinian-European missions have 40 By Moain Sadeq recently made numerous invaluable discoveries. Tell es-sakan This Early Bronze settlement was discovered accidentally in 1998 during construction activities and represents one of the most significant finds. Tell es- Sakan, bordering the town of Al-Zahra, approximately 7 km south of the old city of Gaza, is the only third-millennium BC walled settlement known in the Gaza Strip so far. It is a predecessor of the Middle and Late Bronze Age site Tell el- Ajjul. Large-scale excavation work revealed nine archaeological strata (layers of material) dating to the Early Bronze Age. The building remains in mud-bricks and many associated domestic installations (kilns, hearths), fragments of clay cylinderseals imprints, and several serekhs were uncovered. The living quarters of Tell es-sakan were built in two construction phases, indicating an advanced degree of urbanisation in the culture. The dwellings are well planned, the 41 rooms are of various sizes and furnished by inner benches built against one, two, or three walls. The floors and the walls are lime plastered. The site had been abandoned for several centuries, most likely as a result of a war, and had a thick layer of ash debris indicating that it had been burnt. Tell el- Ajjul This Middle-Late Bronze Age site was first excavated in the 1930s and contributes greatly to our understanding of the era in Palestine. Located on the northern bank of the Gaza Valley, it marks a point on Mosaic rendering in Gaza. Photo by George Azar.

22 The ruins of St. Hilarion Monastery (both pages). the Horus route, connecting Egypt with Palestine. Other major sites dated to the Bronze Age excavated during the Israeli occupation are the settlement of Taur Ikhbeineh, the Late Bronze settlement at Tel Ridan, and both the settlement and cemetery of Deir el-balah, which was a station on the way of Horus and depicted on the campaigns map of Seti I in Asia (early thirteenth century), and on the northern wall of the hypostyle hall in the temple of Amon at Karnak. Iblakhiya As one of the Gaza Department of Antiquities first major projects, the whole site of Iblakhiya is located on the Mediterranean coast and hidden under the northern part of the Shati Refugee Camp. It is an artificial mound measuring 400m in diameter. It is the most likely site of the maritime city of Anthedon. The earliest uncovered architecture at the site is a Neo Assyrian solid mud-brick rampart built in two phases and dated back either to the reign of Sargon II, who built strongholds against Egypt, to Sennacherib, Asarhaddon, or to the reign of Ashurbanipal, who built fortifications in the bordering area against Egypt. Judging from the quality of this towered rampart and its location on the north-western foot of the mound we assume that it forms the city fortifications that controlled the trade activities via both the Mediterranean Sea and the ancient route connecting Palestine with Egypt. The rampart was founded in the seventh century and partially destroyed by the Neo- Babylonians, most likely in 604 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar during one of his military campaigns to Philistia. Urban development at the site of Iblakhiya extends north beyond the mound, where massive structures were uncovered. The Hellenistic period is represented by a luxurious villa, surviving in a height exceeding two metres. Its plan, painted walls, and associated material culture reflect the economic prosperity of Gaza at that time as well as the strong relations with the Mediterranean regions as far as Tunisia. Byzantine Church of Jabalya Benefiting from its geo-strategic location on the Via Maris, the former way of Horus, Gaza was one of the major cities in Palestine during the Roman-Byzantine period. The excavations within Gaza have explored various sites dating to this period, including the Byzantine church at Jabalya, a town bordering Gaza in the north. The major discovery is a church compound in a basilica plan paved with mosaic floors. Its Greek inscriptions record foundation dates of construction phases, contributions to the church, and burial inscriptions memorialising religious persons buried at the site. A cemetery of various burial types has also been uncovered adjacent to the church across the main road. It seems to be a central one for a Byzantine village still hidden in the vicinity, most likely Asalea, which is represented on the Byzantine mosaic map of Madaba in Jordan. Monastery of St. Hilarion Another of Gaza s major sites from the Roman-Byzantine period is the Monastery of St. Hilarion. It is situated 8 km south of the old city of Gaza. The site is in the vicinity of the Roman village of Thabatha where St. Hilarion was born in 291. The entire monastery was uncovered by the Palestinian Department of Antiquities. It consists of a massive central church compound that is paved with coloured mosaic pavements with Greek inscriptions and surrounded by paved passageways. One of the major parts of the monastery infrastructure is a comprehensive steam bath and a sophisticated network of water installations built of stone, pottery, lead tubes, and canals. A vaulted and plastered grave was uncovered in a lower level under the Byzantine mosaic pavement of the church nave. It was dedicated to St. Hilarion, and a funerary Greek inscription found on the mosaic records his name. The monastery plan, art, and architecture provide a good example of developed urbanism and prosperity during the Byzantine period. The monastery compound was enlarged in various phases during the Byzantine period. The earliest inscription found at the site is engraved in a funerary white marble slab dated to 539 AD. These discoveries lay the foundations for future campaigns to thoroughly explore Gaza s ancient legacy. They tell us of our ancestors and our connections with ancient civilisations, providing answers to the open questions in our history. Yet we have merely scratched the surface to date, hindered by the ongoing occupation, invasions, and vandalism of thieves. More resources must be devoted to the protection and exploration of Gaza s historic sites so that the next generations can enjoy physical testimonies from their rich history and give these sites an active role in our future. Dr. Moain Sadeq is founder and chair of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities in Gaza. He is affiliated with the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Dr. Sadeq is a board member of the American Anthropological Association and is presently associate professor at Qatar University

23 The Politics of Heritage in Palestine A Conflict between Two Narratives By Nassar Ibrahim Political dimensions and motives occupy a great space in their relation and interaction with various heritage fields and numerous human experiences. For every society, heritage constitutes a fundamental factor in plumbing historical and cultural depths. It expresses identity and interacts with the social, political, and environmental reality. It also confronts the questions and challenges that a society encounters in the course of its development, where identities, nationalities, ethnicities, and particularities are formed. Heritage did not start as songs, dances, food, clothes, architecture, and archaeology. It began in response to a dire need to fulfil the material, social, and spiritual needs of society. After it became rooted in the society, it was transformed into collective practices that, over time, became an organic part of the collective memory and behaviour. Within this narrative, the relation between the political dimension and heritage is identified. When a society faces internal political projects or external challenges, everything that can be moved to counterbalance these challenges will be brought forth, such as history, spiritual values, and social traditions that magnify and unify the nation to point it in the direction that can best serve it. In the case of the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the relationship between politics and heritage becomes more vital and dangerous, as heritage in all its forms occupies a central position and plays a decisive and fundamental role in justifying and serving the political projects that are currently being executed at all levels. The basis of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is built upon the confrontation and contradiction between two narratives the Israeli-Zionist and the Arab- Palestinian where each attempts to use 44 the particularity of the place (Palestine), including its religious, historical, and cultural significance, to justify its own existence and continuation. The Zionist project concentrated from the very beginning on the religious Jewish narrative that sees in Palestine the Promised Land of the Jews. Hence any movement in this direction necessitated the rebuilding of the Jewish consciousness and turned it into a material and spiritual force to serve the Zionist project. The Zionist leadership thus defined its strategy and moved from the phase of awareness-raising to the phase of providing the necessary conditions for success. Within this strategy, Palestine became a playground on which the space, the sphere, and the symbols were reformulated so that Palestine fit into the Zionist narrative. In other words, a specific cultural heritage had to be constructed to harmonise with the religious narrative that tries to build legitimacy in order to justify the acquisition and control of the space with the aim of enhancing the project in the Jewish consciousness and creating an international supportive movement. Since 1948, the practical translation of this strategy has worked systematically and has been well organised in various fields and at all levels. The political and military plans coalesced to reformulate the reality and rewrite the history of Palestine in a form that responds to the aims of the Zionist project and at the same time ensures that this new narrative create a convincing historical depth for the project. This comprehensive project precipitated one of the most vicious processes of fraud, annihilation, and mutilation the world has ever known. The history and the culture of an entire population were erased and replaced by another which aimed to ensure the containment of the memory of the space and its history. Within this narrative, the implementation of Israeli policies has taken two paths. First: Destroy, mutilate, and neglect everything that confirms or is a reminder of Palestinian existence, Palestinian rights, or Palestinian history. The millennia-long history of Palestine is portrayed as though it started with the emergence of the Jewish religion when, in fact, Palestine and its people existed long before there was ever a Jewish presence. The magnitude of this policy culminated with the destruction of over 450 Palestinian villages in 1948 after their Palestinian inhabitants were expelled. The stones of these homes were stolen to be reused in the construction of Jewish homes as a sign of originality and genuineness. After the creation of Israel, the following steps were taken: the theft of the archaeological findings, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls (which were discovered during the 1940s), pottery, and coins, and the claim of their legal possession; the destruction of several historic buildings that attest to hundreds of years of Palestinian existence; the destruction of Al Kasaba Quarter in Nablus during the second Intifada; the takeover of Rachel s Tomb in Bethlehem, the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, and Joseph s Tomb in Nablus; 45 Photo by George Azar. the endless excavation beneath the Haram Al Sharif in Jerusalem, searching for Solomon s Temple in an attempt to prove the right of the Jews to the socalled Temple Mount; the Judaisation of occupied East Jerusalem by removing entire Arab neighbourhoods and the deliberate policy of expelling the Palestinian population from the city, as is happening right now in Silwan, Bustan Quarter, and Sheikh Jarrah. The policy of colonisation in the occupied territories aimed to swallow the largest areas possible; it cut the West Bank into smaller areas with no geographical continuity and isolated Jerusalem from its Palestinian surroundings. The building of the apartheid Wall is another step in this direction. The Wall has destroyed tens of archaeological sites and has facilitated the annexation of other sites to Israel. Moreover, the settlements and the separation Wall have dramatically distorted the landscape. Second: the implementation of Israeli policies has included rebuilding the symbols, names, and culture of specific places in order to confirm and prove the credibility and historicity of the Israeli narrative. To achieve this goal, the Israeli

24 authorities took over historic sites and changed their Arabic names, giving them names that match accounts from the Torah. This resulted in the renaming of hundreds of villages and archaeological sites. Examples include calling the West Bank Judea and Samaria ; replacing Al Quds with Yerushalayim; transforming French Hill into Shapira Neighborhood; and calling Al-Khaleel Hevron. In addition, settlements were given biblical names such as Kiryat Arba, Efrata, Ma aleh Adumim; and the settlement on Abu Ghneim Mountain is now called Har Homa. Architecturally distinctive Palestinian houses were taken over, as in the Talbieh neighbourhood in Jerusalem, as were dozens of other buildings spread across historical Palestine. Within the framework of this policy of piracy, the Israeli authorities created nature preserves and built a zoo for animals mentioned in the Bible that includes specimens of the various wild animals indigenous to Palestine. As a continuation of these policies, traditional Palestinian clothes have been presented in tourism books and offices and at international fairs as Photo from Palestine Image Bank. coming from the Jewish tradition. Even the Palestinian kaffiyeh, itself highly symbolic, was repackaged with the Star of David in blue. Dr. Muhammad Al-Bougi, of Al-Azhar University in Gaza, wrote in his book Resistance and Folk Culture, After the 1967 War, Israel became active in controlling folklore and bought up thousands of Palestinian dresses that had been embroidered by Palestinian women. They were then sold in Europe with the label, Made in Israel. The Israelis attribute everything to themselves: ownership of the land and its cultural and financial products is the Israeli plan on the ground. One of the well-known examples of this policy is the export of the famous Jaffa oranges as an Israeli product, and the same thing goes for Jericho dates. At the same time vast areas of olive groves a Palestinian symbol of pride and belonging to the land are destroyed. Even Dead Sea salts, used in cosmetics and health products, are being sold as Israeli products. Hummus and falafel are also marketed by Israel as traditional Israeli dishes. Photo by George Azar. Traditional songs and dances have also been appropriated by Israel. Palestinians have resisted this methodical, organised Israeli policy and defended their rights and history by reaffirming the historical and cultural ties that have bound them to the land for tens of thousands of years. Dozens of centres for the protection of Palestinian folklore have been founded and have become active through the establishment of dance and folklore music groups that focus on the Canaanite influence on Palestinian culture. These centres also aid in renovating old houses in Palestinian cities, preventing the looting of archaeological artefacts, and soliciting the intervention of UNESCO to protect archaeological ruins by resisting Israeli assaults. Civil and governmental institutions and organisations have tried to support the Palestinian tourism industry through developing folk industries and crafts such as olive wood and mother-ofpearl carving and the creation of several centres to develop Palestinian embroidery. Some of the traditional industries native to Palestine are the glassworks in Hebron and the famous soap factories of Nablus. Lastly, the same institutions have worked to start folk festivals that showcase various integral aspects of Palestinian social identity, such as olives, grapes, traditional fashion, and folkloric dance. In sum, the relationship between politics and heritage in the Palestinian case reflects the comprehensive daily conflict; in some way it is a struggle for survival between the Israeli occupation and its various projects which are designed to capture the place and to rewrite its historical, cultural, and symbolic narratives and the Palestinian people who are trying to defend their heritage and national rights, which are exposed to the most intense attempts at geographic and historical annihilation. In this context, heritage in all its dimensions has become a direct political target and has thus become a political means to reformulate consciousness and memory in order to justify the policies of the Israeli occupation and to alienate the Palestinian people at all levels. Nassar Ibrahim is a Palestinian writer and researcher who holds a master s degree in international cooperation and development. He is co-director of the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

25 Saving the Old City of Hebron Hebron (Al-Khalil) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and is sacred to Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Its outstanding universal values are symbolised by the Ibrahimi Mosque, the burial place of the prophets Abraham\ Ibrahim, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives. Numerous ancient monuments and buildings have been preserved, bearing witness to a rich and prosperous past. As well as a pilgrimage site for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Hebron serves as an economic and cultural centre at the crossroads between southern Palestine, Sinai, eastern Jordan, and the Arabian Peninsula. Its history and architecture are the legacy of these mixed cultures. The Haram al-ibrahimi, principal 48 by Khaled Osaily monument of the Old City, quickly became a focal point of the city after the first Islamic Period (Umayyad Period), similar to the Haram al-sharif in Jerusalem. Today, the historic centre is dominated by the Mamluk architectural style, with influences from the subsequent Ottoman Period. Hebron is one of the rare Islamic cities to have faithfully preserved its ancient character, which can be clearly seen by any visitor. To protect this universal value, Hebron Municipality started the preparatory work for the inscription of the Old City of Hebron on the World Heritage List. This is the first such initiative in Palestine and represents a challenge to prove the cultural significance of Hebron at international, Islamic, Arab, and local levels. This initiative has the full support of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad. Hebron Municipality has made huge efforts toward realising this goal. Our international lobbying took us to the 3rd Venice Conference of Local Authorities of Europe, which submitted a unanimous recommendation calling for Hebron to be recognised as a world heritage site. The conference established an international committee to work on inscribing Hebron on the World Heritage List and supporting efforts were made to obtain UNESCO s official approval in this regard. The recommendation was endorsed during the Conference of Local Authorities of Europe held in Istanbul in Hebron was also granted membership in the Cultural Committee of COPPEM 49 (Standing Committee for the Euro- Mediterranean Partnership of Local and Regional Authorities) at the Palermo Conference in In October 2009, Hebron Municipality, in cooperation with Belfort and Arcueil municipalities in France, announced the launch of the International Committee for the Preservation and Promotion of the Old City of Hebron. The committee, officially created in Arcueil and Paris on 21 and 22 October 2009, defends the universality of the cultural heritage of the Old City through promotional actions and supporting its candidacy for the UNESCO World Heritage List. The committee established an official website ( for the campaign, part of a worldwide appeal that aims to gather members and raise awareness among international institutions and public opinion. Boutros Boutros Ghali, former UN Secretary General, Luisa Morgantini, former Vice- President of the European Parliament, and Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former Director General of UNESCO, joined the campaign together with many intellectuals, architects, and journalists. Hebron Municipality also received support letters from Istanbul, Geneva, and many other local authorities all over the world. On 13 November 2010, the International Committee for the Preservation and Promotion of the Old City of Hebron contributed to a special event dedicated to the Old City of Hebron in Belfort, France. A documentary filmed inside the Hebron H2 zone and produced by Victor Lassalle, journalist member of the committee, was projected to show the Occupation and its consequences on Palestinian daily life and on the heritage of the Old City. Hebron Municipality continued its international activities to gather support for the project in Doha, Qatar, where the twelfth conference of the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities was held in May The main recommendations of the conference were to support the

26 initiative to inscribe the Old City of Hebron on the World Heritage List and to reaffirm the Arab/Islamic identity of Jerusalem, Hebron, and other Palestinian cities. In April 2010, the Union of Municipalities of the Marmara Region (Turkey) also pledged its support for Hebron s claim. On the technical level, Hebron Municipality prepared the Nomination File according to the format and standards defined by the World Heritage 50 Committee and under the supervision of two international experts, Dr. Jade Tabet, the former representative of Lebanon on the World Heritage Committee, and Giovanni Fontana, a heritage expert at UNESCO Palestine. Hebron Municipality submitted the Nomination File to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to begin the process. The file includes a description of the Old City, including historical documentation of its components and plans to preserve and manage the site in the future. It was prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, the three partners which form the the Hebron Cultural Heritage Preservation Council. The council is responsible for managing Hebron s Old City in the administrative, technical, and financial fields as well as for managing, planning, monitoring, and implementing preservation and development processes in cooperation with all related governmental and nongovernmental agencies. In Hebron Municipality we believe that community participation is a key component of the development process and the preservation of the heritage of the Old City of Hebron, which is essential for successful implementation of the plan. Achieving this will create an effective and enduring dialogue between the decision makers and the community in order to take better decisions. Moreover, seeking additional resources, increasing trust, and satisfying public demands will lead to more effective implementation policies. Furthermore, community participation will increase public awareness about the cultural and historical values in the 51 Old City and make everybody a partner in the preservation process. Hebron Municipality holds regular workshops and meetings with the local community. Promotional programmes are implemented to ensure active community participation in preserving the Old City and helping to achieve our shared vision: To highlight the cultural, economic, and social potential of Hebron s Old City as interactive and interrelated assets that embody traditional life. Recreating the traditional economic activities, rebuilding the social profile, enhancing the quality of life, creating new economic sources, and controlling growth according to a conservation plan will ensure the efficient use and beneficial growth of Hebron s Old City. Khaled Osaily is the mayor of Hebron, a position he has held since He is also chairman of Osaily General Trading and Contracting Company and the National Aluminum and Profile Company, vice-chairman of the Arab Palestinian Investment Company, and a director of Gaza Power Generating Company, among others. Article photos from Palestine Image Bank.

27 Know Thy Heritage: Visit and Live Palestine! One-third of Palestinians live in Palestine. Ongoing attempts to disconnect us from our homeland have resulted in a far-flung population which includes almost 3,000,000 in Jordan, 500,000 in Chile, and 70,000 in the United States. Palestinian communities have been established in dozens of new nations, making new lives abroad. Gone, but not forgotten. The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), in partnership with the Palestinian business community, is inaugurating an annual international programme for Palestinian youth in the diaspora By Saliba Sarsar, PhD history, language, music, religions, and traditions, as well as economic, political, social structures and conditions 2. To strengthen and enrich knowledge of Palestinian roots through fieldtrips, lectures, and meetings with influential people, including heads of governmental and nongovernmental organisations 3. To become a perpetual link between roots and homeland, thus preserving Palestinian heritage and culture 4. To live the faith and worship in the Holy Places of Palestine first year, this pilot will be expanded to include Palestinian youths from other parts of the world. Participants must be 18 to 25 years old, have at least one parent with Palestinian ancestry, be willing to volunteer in the future, and cover the cost of their flights. During the programme they will experience Palestine s most important towns and cities, visiting museums, cultural centres, and academic institutions. They will attend lectures by community leaders in every field, be educated on Palestine s expanding economy, and explore the land s most significant holy sites. Most crucially they will be immersed in the culture and population they have been disconnected from, gaining insights into life here, so that they can represent Palestinian heritage in their adopted homelands. The Advisory Board of Know Thy Heritage includes Hashim Hani Shawa, General Manager and Chairman of the Board, Bank of Palestine; Samer Khoury, Executive Vice President Operations, Consolidated Contractors Company; Ammar Aker, Group CEO, Paltel Foundation; Nafez Husseini MSc, CCP, Chief Technology and Telecom Officer, Consolidated Contractors Company; Zahi Khouri, Chairman of the NGO Development Center; Rateb Rabie, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation; George Salem, Esq., Law Offices of George Salem, PLLC; and Azzam A. Shawwa, General Manager, Quds Bank. A main partner is the Palestinian Investment Fund. For further information, visit us online at or contact Anthony Habash at or Photo by Emile Ashrawi. titled, Know Thy Heritage. It is designed to preserve Palestinian heritage and highlight the importance of Palestine as an integral part of the Holy Land by connecting youth of Palestinian ancestry, who live in the USA and elsewhere, with their roots in Palestine. We seek to help them discover the land of their memories and dreams, and to create closer connections with our communities abroad. The following are among the programme s basic goals: 1. To provide a better understanding of Palestinian culture, including customs, To create connections and build relationships with Palestinian brothers and sisters who reside in Palestine 6. To promote Palestine as the first destination for all Palestinians 7. To strengthen the concept of Palestine as the land of opportunity, investment, and the land of sanctity HCEF and partners will launch this pilot project in summer 2011 (13 July 3 August) by inviting 40 Palestinian-American youths, currently living in the United States, to Visit and Live Palestine for three weeks. After the 53

28 The Local, the Universal Palestinian Lieux de Mémoire i and the (re)creation of the Collective By Khaldun Bshara new dimensions it never meant to attain, that is, the political. On the list Israel is mentioned several times, especially when detailing the threats of by artist Khalil Rabah), which moves from fact to fiction and vice versa, and the Ethnographic and Art Museum at Birzeit University, along with many folkloric and The post-oslo era allowed for new expressions of the collective narrative; there were numerous attempts to make the pre-nakba era visible; this manifested itself through publications, inventories, restoration, or reconstruction of pre-nakba building styles, revival of folk traditions, and materialising the memory of the pre-nakba era by scholarly studies, novels, collections, memorialising martyrs, etc. The revival of the built cultural heritage in Palestine is, in fact, an act of making Palestinians proud of what Palestine once looked like; a part of a process to reconcile with a broken history and the construction of visual narrative. Most conservation works, inventories, restoration of built heritage projects in Palestine (Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem) were unashamedly politically driven. This may explain the ongoing, vigorous efforts of so many organisations, institutions, and individuals to restore historic centres, monuments, sacred places, etc. In recent efforts early in this new millennium, Palestinian officials and experts were engaged in the compilation of a list of twenty sites to be nominated to the World Heritage List as Palestinian sites of universal value. And according to the programme coordinator from the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, the list reflects the cultural and natural diversity in Palestine and places Palestinian culture within the setting of human history. ii However, these sites are of national value before being of universal value because they destabilise the Israeli narrative and create a new stratification of Palestine. Among these twenty sites are Wadi Natuf and Shuqba Cave that contain two major prehistoric settlement indications that date back to the Early Bronze Age. Another site is Tel es-sultan 54 which is thought to be the first agricultural settlement in the world with 23 layers of settlement, some of which date back to the 10th millennium BC. The list goes on to include cultural and natural sites such as Samaria (Sebastia), a Hellenistic and Byzantine site, Bethlehem-Christ s birthplace, trade roots, religious roots, forests and wetlands all of which reconstruct new history and geography of Palestine. And suddenly one may conclude that Palestine, before the interruption of the Iron Age (Jewish tribes), was busy with life and culture. This shakes a bit the Israeli narrative restructured around the myth that Palestine was a vacant place before its desert bloomed with the efforts of the Chosen People. By this engagement in adopting national, supra-national, and universal approaches towards built cultural heritage and landscape, the Palestinian lieux de mémoire attained the occupation to the nominated sites. On other occasions Israel is mentioned when comparing the nominated sites with other sites that acquire similar significance and that are located inside the Green Line (Israel). In so doing the Palestinians point out the fact that, on one hand, Palestine is still occupied, and, on the other, they acknowledge the fact that Akka (Acre) is no longer part of Palestine. These compiled memories found their way not only to scholarly volumes but also to exhibition places, mainly museums; after the Oslo Agreement, there were many initiatives to formulate and create museums. Good examples are an-nakba Museum (a project of the Welfare Association), which aims to make Palestinian memory visible, the Palestinian Museum for Natural History and Humankind (an ongoing art project 55 The Journey of the Soul. Photo by Jane Frere. vernacular museums that glorify the pre-occupation period (sometimes real, sometimes imagined). Nonetheless, the promotion of collecting old photographs, iii documents, iv and the symbolic annual celebration of elders handing original house keys to younger generations in diaspora refugee camps, and the building of memorials in villages, towns, and camps to commemorate martyrs, are also new ways of formulating and claiming a new collective narrative. i Spaces of Memory. ii Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine. Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, iii See, for example, the scholarly work of old Palestinian photography: Nassar, Issam. Laqatat Mughayerah, Different Close-ups: Early Local Photography in Palestine First Edition, A.M.Qattan Foundation, Beirut, iv See, for example, the Encyclopedia of Palestinian History: 100 Years of Palestinian History, a 20 th Century Chronology. PASSIA: Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem, 2001.

29 Public Access: You Tell Us We asked you: If you could nominate one site in Palestine for UNESCO heritage status, so that it would be preserved for eternity, which would you choose and why? Judging by your responses it seems that everybody has a personal paradise. These are some of our favourites. Sheikh Mountain. Some of the hills go 700 m above sea level, so it s like flying in a helicopter. Wajdi, policeman (Salfit) For me the Qana Valley, because it s such a natural place. People come from all over Salfit to hike among the trees and Diana, PR (Salfit) The top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. You step out of the crowds and the screaming in the Old City and you find this peaceful space above it. It is the best place I know for reading a book. Omar, civil servant (Beirut) The village of Surda, nestled in the tree in particular. I ve always loved trees. When I was a child I named one, with first, middle, and last names! Wessam, journalist (Gaza) The most beautiful thing in Gaza is the sea that surrounds it from the west. When it reflects on the sky it creates a beautiful blue horizon. Photo by Sharif Sarhan. Photo by Emile Ashrawi. Najuan, youth worker (Nazareth) Jifna Village is like home to me. It is the closest place to Ramallah where you can feel peaceful. I like the small, cheap restaurants that play the best music, serve the best meat, and have a beautiful view of the mountains. Fathi, head of Jordan Valley Solidarity Group (Fassayil) When it s not too hot, you can go up in the hills west of Bardala; and if there is no cloud you can see Lebanon, Syria, and 56 swim in the pools. The hills are covered with orange and lemon trees; you can just pick the fruits and eat them. I have been going there for fifteen years. Jaber, telecommunications (Bi lin) My home village! There is no dirt like in the cities. The mountains are close to our village and many families come to spend time together there. You can find natural springs and there are many wild animals, but none of them are dangerous. Bi lin is proud of its heritage, and there are many festivals of traditional food and crafts. terraced hills of Ramallah, a glorious natural landscape. It s perfect to reflect and escape among the olive groves. Mohammed, lawyer (Sinjil) The German Colony neighbourhood in Jerusalem. I go on Saturday when there is no one there. The old (Palestinian) houses and carts are still there. To me they represent tradition. Amra, teacher (Ramallah) An olive grove in Nilin; I sit under one 57 Maria, entrepreneur (Boston) Taybeh. One of the most ancient places in Palestine, dating back beyond 5,000 BC. Worthy of protected status for its 248 historic homes, beautiful church mosaics, archaeological sites (including Crusaders Castle), 30,000 olive trees, amazing fields, and gorgeous valleys. The local residents still practice love for neighbours and enemies through nonviolent action and peaceful resistance under harsh Israeli occupation.

30 A Pilgrimage to Bethlehem Birthplace of Jesus Christ The birth of Jesus Christ changed the identity of the small and humble town of Bethlehem into a main destination for Christian pilgrims. They came to the town through Jerusalem, heading south towards the town and arriving at David s Wells, known locally as Abar an-nabi Dahoud, the northern entrance of the town. The traditional route continues along Star Street to reach the Church of the Nativity through Damascus Gate or Qos az Zarara. The same journey is repeated every year during the Christmas celebrations. On 24 December, 6 January, and 18 January, patriarchs take the Pilgrimage Route to the Church of the Nativity. They are preceded by scout groups and officials to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. During the preparation of the nomination documents to inscribe Bethlehem on the World Heritage List, accounts of the traditional walk along the Pilgrimage Route to the fortresslike complex of the Church of the Nativity and its architectural ensemble were highlighted in various writings, etchings, and later photographs. The construction of the Church of the Nativity, which was built by Emperor Constantine I and his mother Helena, was completed in 339 AD; the cave that witnessed the place where Jesus Christ was born was spotted, and the chancel was laid above the cave. After its destruction by fire during the Samaritan revolt in 529, the church was rebuilt and completed in 533 AD, during the rule of Justinian. The new church followed its precedent in that its chancel lay above the Cave of the Nativity. The approach to the church via Star Street and Paul VI Street retains the street width and line fossilised by urban development since around 1800 AD. By George Al Ama and Nada Atrash This width and line, as well as defining a working street in a busy town, now formalise a commemorative route for religious ceremony. The significant historical and religious feature in the urban fabric is the traditional route followed by pilgrims to get to the church. The nineteenth- and twentieth-century buildings define the route that follows the way that pilgrims travelled to get to the Church of the Nativity. Families that resided on Star Street belonged to the Tarajmeh Clan (the translators), who were most famous for their skills in various local handicrafts, and the Herezat Clan, who were skilled in carving beads. The carving of beads, crucifixes, models of the Cave of the Nativity and the Holy Sepulchre in olive wood, mother of pearl, and bituminous limestone from the Dead Sea has, for centuries, been one of the trades of the Bethlehemites; such handicrafts were brought to the town by various missionaries in an attempt to teach their followers new professions, which were usually handed down from father to son. Another historical feature of Star Street, best appreciated on foot, are the stone stairways to left and right between the buildings: on the northern side, where they are steep and narrow, they lead to the agricultural fields, while wider and more monumental steps connect Star Street with the city centre. Prominent along the street are the Melkite Greek Catholic Church on the right and St. Joseph School close by on the left. Both are outside the main historical structure along the street, Qos Al Zarara, named in earlier lithographs as Damascus Gate. This gate is assumed to be one of the main entrances to the old core of Bethlehem as shown on lithographs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This main gate into Bethlehem is clearly of considerable architectural complexity, as is to be expected of a structure which has been standing for well over a thousand years despite being officially destroyed some 600 years ago. Two cross vaults form its arch externally, above which is a two-storey residential building. The residential complex, or hosh, is entered from inside the town, but still has a window that overlooks the road on the first floor and a double window on the second. The lintel of the window on the first level is decorated with Mamluk engravings, and the double window on the second level is supported with an arch: a typical local construction method that is constantly repeated in the historic town of Bethlehem, while a more sophisticated form, decorated with engraved stone and ornaments, occurs in the suburbs. Along Star Street, as elsewhere, modern linear residences and composite large-scale buildings were constructed around the year 1900, often with decorated doorways instead of simple openings. Star Street turns sharply right towards its east end, as if diverted at one stage around a building or buildings built across its line; here two rows of houses along its two sides exhibit fine stone carving on buildings that represented the social and economic status of the town at the time. Indeed, Bethlehemites enjoyed a good reputation in Jerusalem as well as throughout the rest of Palestine for the cutting and dressing of stone. In the late-ottoman period and under the British Mandate, some 1,000 craftsmen from the town were engaged in constructing mansions, governmental buildings, public buildings, etc., in and around Bethlehem. Inside the gate, up the hill as far as the junction with Paul VI Street, the same architectural style as outside continues, but residents inside the gate have tended to replace their modest vernacular residences with more sophisticated buildings: Dar Ghazzawi is one example, with its two shops on the ground floor housing the first post office in Bethlehem during the 1930s. Dar Mansour, facing Dar Ghazzawi, also reflects the transition in the lives of the Bethlehemites during the late-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries; it now houses the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation. Qos Az Zarara (Damascus Gate). Photo by Philip Hihi/CCHP

31 The Syriac hosh along the Pilgrimage Route. Photo by Philip Hihi/CCHP The alley to the west, next to Dar Mansour, leads to the Assyrian Quarter, one of the oldest quarters in the town. The Syriac hosh was inhabited by Assyrians; also known as Syriacs, from about 1838 onwards, but the majority arrived following the Tur Abdin massacre at the beginning of the twentieth century. On reaching the junction with Paul VI Street, the Pilgrimage Route turns left and east along Paul VI Street to Manger Square. Late nineteenth-century buildings on the north side of the street face newer buildings on the south, but the view is hardly changed from a hundred years ago: souvenir shops of the locals on both sides of the road, the (rebuilt) mosque of Omar at the end of the southern side of the street, and the fortress-like structure of the Church of the Nativity in the background. Despite the fact that the Church of the Nativity is approached through modern buildings and roads, the importance of the Pilgrimage Route along which Mary and Joseph travelled on their way to Bethlehem some two thousand years ago, 60 and later followed by thousands of pilgrims visiting the spot where Jesus was born has urged us to include it in Bethlehem s nomination documents for inscription on the World Heritage List. We hope that this would draw attention to the need to revitalise the route in order to attract tourists to walk through this part of the town to get to the Church of the Nativity. We also hope that this would motivate the local population to re-open their shops and workshops, bringing back the past glory to this route. This text is based on research conducted for the nomination documents to inscribe Bethlehem on the World Heritage List: Birthplace of Jesus Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route. George Al Ama and Nada Atrash are part of the Research and Training Unit at the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation in Bethlehem. Both George and Nada can be reached at For more information about Bethlehem Nomination Documents, visit www.

32 Unidentified Flying Objects Target Jerusalem They may be black flying triangles or silver discs. They may come in peace, or they may take over your village. They are UFOs and it seems they are back. Al-Aqsa Mosque has known a great many threats to its 1300-year lifespan; earthquakes and invading armies to name but a few. Yet the holy site had a new experience on 28 January when (according to local witnesses) a dazzlingly bright spaceship descended towards the compound before having second thoughts and shooting off at otherworldly speed. Spoilsports have labelled videos of the incident an obvious fake, but some readers may be surprised to hear that extra-terrestrials are actually regular visitors to the Middle East. The Old Testament book of Ezekiel provides details of the first encounter. In 593 BC, in what is now Iraq, our hero is confronted by a glowing wheel which appears from the sky to reveal alien forms. The story took root in popular mythology and proved compelling enough for respected NASA engineer Josef F. Blumrich to pen another book, The Spaceships of Ezekiel, which analysed the craft and declared it had remotecontrolled mechanical arms. If it seems worrying that NASA would hire such a man, then the Iranian army should also re-think its recruitment process. A scandal emerged from the Tehran Incident of 1976, when senior generals audaciously claimed that their aircraft equipment had been disabled by extraterrestrials. While Iranians have more reasons than most to watch the skies, this public announcement did not reassure people that their nation s security was in safe hands. That wasn t the end of Iran s alien problems. When UFOs returned to the capital they did so en masse. Dozens of sightings were reported during one frenzied week in April 2004, with 62 By Kieron Monks descriptions ranging from silver discs to a more outlandish account of a sphere with two arms. Senior space analysts were quick to scotch the rumours. These people are not experts, sniped Sadollah Nasiri-Qeydari, head of Iran s Astronomical Society, before going on to dismiss the witnesses as a bunch of farmers. The official explanation attributed all the sightings to the planet Venus with little further justification. Fortunately for Nasiri-Qeydari, the spacecrafts quickly moved on from Iran to bedevil the Middle East s de facto alien capital: Turkey. Throughout 2007 and 2008, sightings were so common that Turks could have been forgiven for wondering if traffic lights were operating above the clouds. At the peak of the frenzy, intrepid security guard Yalsin Yalman filmed four months of encounters with hard-to-explain balls of white light hovering over the Yeni Kent compound in Ankara. He was catapulted to fame and celebrity, boosted by the support of the Sirius (serious?) UFO Research Centre, which made the bold claim that Yalman had captured the most important images of a UFO ever filmed. His cause was seized upon by the science-fiction-loving community, including Haktan Akdogan, widely recognised as the world s leading UFO expert. Akdogan, who has spent a mind-blowing 24 years researching the subject, took to the airwaves to promote Yalman s discovery. He appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows explaining that alien life did exist and that now is the time for world governments to acknowledge the reality of UFOs. To date, Akdogan has not received any such admissions, but he has gone on to do surprisingly well in his chosen field. He founded the International UFO Museum, created World UFO Day (which holds peaceful demonstrations to increase public awareness ) and became president of the World UFO Disclosure Campaign, which aims to have the UN General Assembly hold open and secrecy-free hearings on the UFO/Extra-Terrestrial presence on Earth. Akdogan would no doubt have approved of Jordanian newspaper Al Ghad s willingness to address the topic. On 1 April last year, the newspaper published a front-page sensation: ten-foot aliens had taken over the eastern town of Jafr, had taken hostages, and were busy making themselves at home. Al Ghad editor Moussa Barhoumeh must have stopped laughing when his story caused a panic in Jafr and its mayor sent in the army to repel the alien forces. I almost evacuated the town s 13,000 residents, Mayor Mleihan said afterwards. Having discovered the hoax, he is now attempting to sue Al Ghad. Mleihan is far from alone in failing to appreciate visiting spacecraft. The whole phenomenon has proved a touchy subject for strict Christians, with the idea of visitors from above rather too close to a biblical conception of angels. Television evangelist Pat Robinson went a step further with the heavens belong to the Lord line by calling for UFO enthusiasts to be put to death by stoning. If I find anybody that s doing this sort of thing, then I want to dispose of him, the fiery preacher told viewers. It should be noted that the US Christian Coalition distanced itself from Robinson s remarks. While we at TWIP would in no way support the stoning of UFO zealots, we can only imagine that monitoring extraterrestrials must be an unsatisfying hobby. After all, these crafts only ever seem to hover tantalisingly, then flee before people can even get their camera-phones out. UFOs peaked in the 1950s when everybody knew the American military were hiding alien babies in Area 51, and every new movie featured a robot, but since then there has been precious little to truly capture the imagination. With the advent of widely available digital technology, any sci-fi dweeb with spare time (that s all of them) can conjure up a weak hoax involving a light and some sound effects. The sighting at Al-Aqsa means that Jerusalem now joins Tehran, Beirut, and Ankara as a heritage site for extraterrestrial enthusiasts. Where will the little green men strike next? We don t claim to know, but wherever it is, it probably won t be worth buying binoculars. Kieron Monks is a reporter and content editor at This Week in Palestine. The mysterious craft descends toward Al-Aqsa.

33 The Future is Now Last month we introduced you to TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the ideas forum, which comes to Palestine on 16 April to host enlightened debate with some of the world s most original thinkers. As time ticks away toward the conference, more themes and speakers have been finalised, both local and international. But it s not too late to get involved, so check out the website ( to see how you can contribute to what will be a historic event. To give you a further taste of TED philosophy, we asked Joumana al Jabri, who leads the TEDxRamallah project in Beirut, to comment on our current theme of Heritage. She told us that it can be found everywhere and does not belong to history. contribute through showcasing stories of inspirational people of this decade and of Palestine, towards instigating our belief in the potential of the self. Look out for plenty more stories of the people making history today in TWIP s upcoming issue Inspirational Stories from Palestine, dedicated to TEDx s upcoming appearance here. We can t yet reveal the mouth-watering line-up of speakers, but stellar names representing every field from science to literature, cinema, and education will be making an appearance. Many of these personalities will be gracing our pages next month, celebrating human potential and providing their insights into how an individual can affect the world today, and history tomorrow. To create a community that understands the value of past heritage, it is crucial to nurture appreciation of and a connection to the present wealth of our society. This creates a natural attachment to what will someday become our heritage. There is a wealth of knowledge, creativity, and inspiration in the here and now that is barely finding its way to the surface. Busying ourselves with the past is a cornerstone in our progress, but keeping a blind eye to the present is damaging to our self-esteem, always referring to the past or to the other. Hope comes first and foremost from a belief in what is tangible, and only becomes realisable through the right here, right now. This is the small step that TEDxRamallah intends to If you know of any individual or story that you feel fits our inspirational theme, we would be delighted to hear from you. Our partnership with TEDxRamallah stems partly from a mutual belief in public participation and interaction. The ideas you share with us, or at the Bethlehem conference on 16 April, will be exposed to a mass audience, providing an opportunity to influence the court of public opinion. At a time when people power is sending shockwaves through the whole region, our message is clear and urgent. The free exchange of ideas must be the foundation of an enlightened society. We invite all of you to participate. Courtesy of TEDxRamallah/TWIP team. 64

34 Personality of the Month Dawsam Mohammed Rabi Some people like to visit museums; Dawsam Mohammed Rabi has turned his home into one. His Tulkarem apartment has become a homage to Palestine s rich heritage, from the lovingly recreated hookah lounge to the wall-mounted aqueduct and a priceless collection of ornaments. Features representing every period of the last millennium are present and he is pleased to say that everything you see comes from Palestine. His fascination with the past began a decade ago, when as a young businessman he oversaw the construction of roads around the West Bank. I was travelling a lot and I would see history everywhere. I would see that history still alive in the traditional villages, where people did not use technology or buy anything from outside. There were no fridges, so they would make holes in the ground. When Dawsam returned home he set about building his own traditional olive press and cheese-making facilities. Over the past two years the collection has expanded rapidly and there is barely any space for further additions, not that Dawsam feels he should stop. If I didn t have to work, it really would be a museum, he smiles, a little ruefully. His favourite individual piece from a dazzling array of swords, vases, and stone figurines is a 100-year-old narghile pipe. It uses very hard tobacco and tastes a little strange, he admits, but he is nonetheless unable to leave it alone. Outside the house, Dawsam enjoys visiting Palestine s heritage sites. He professes to being charmed by the ruins of Sebastia, but the most important is Al- Aqsa, for its historical and spiritual value. To say how it makes me feel you would have to write volumes, but it is like being in the hands of God. He finds Palestine s monuments to the past inspiring. We have had so many wars, suffered from Ottoman, British, and Israeli rule, but they cannot kill our history. They try but it is impossible. Dawsam s love of history crosses borders and cultures. He is a frequent traveler and describes his pleasure in experiencing the sites of Turkey, whichever faith they represent. To him they represent shared human legacy, something that should be a source of pride and unity. He feels that more should be done to promote appreciation of Palestine s rich heritage. I like our history best of anywhere. You feel you can travel to another age in so many places here. Nowhere more so than Dawsam s own home, a sure contender for the next UNESCO list. 66

35 Artist of the Month Wafa Hourani Wafa Hourani believes in reshaping the world through magic and illusions. More than believing in the surreal, he realises it. The man who has taken Qalandia Refugee Camp to the most chic gallery in London holds a deep conviction that with a playful message, art can tell us more than TV news. Hourani s famous New Cities project gave realism a sci-fi twist. He envisaged Qalandia Camp in 2047, 2067, and 2087, commemorating centenaries of the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War, and the first Intifada. His installations epically detailed, roomsized models of the camp chart its journey from bleak, broken-down dystopia to a final peace agreement with Israel in 2087 on 1967 borders, which allows the airport to re-open. In this final version, the apartheid Wall has been replaced with a mirror. The Qalandia series became a must-have exhibition for many of Europe s most prestige art-houses. Displayed at the 2007 Thessaloniki Biennial, Hourani has subsequently taken it to Istanbul, Munich, and the Saatchi Gallery in West London. Wherever it went, praise flowed from the critics. Yet Hourani has not travelled far from his roots. He denies cheapening the sombre issue of Palestine s refugees with his fantasy take on the camp. The son of refugees, he grew up in Hebron and says that the Qalandia models grew out of history. Qalandia used to be lucky because it had an airport, so it had visitors. It was the only exit point from Ramallah. Then all that changed. Hourani spent months photographing the camp, trying to catch a glimpse of what its next phase might look like. He is happy to admit that the future he created combining political suggestion, raw urbanism, and sciencefiction speaks of his own identity as much as that of the camp. Artists have illusions for possibilities, he says. You build your own walls. What Hourani seeks to build is captured in the title of his Munich exhibition: The Future of Tradition. He has criticised Palestinian artists for feeling guilty if they don t use resistance images and believes it is time to modernise. We were late in establishing an art academy here; we need awareness of different approaches. I don t believe in art having a political agenda. Hourani derives from Close-up of Qalandia artistic stock. His brother Khaled directs an academy. Another brother, Hassan, was a painter and storyteller who Wafa describes as his favourite artist, until seven years ago when he died in a tragic accident at sea, which also claimed Wafa s nephew Samer Abu Ajamer. He tells me their memory is a continuous source of motivation. Right now his energies are consumed by a new big idea. Provisionally titled Intifada Zero, Hourani describes it as a cultural revolution in the form of a mixed-media show. It will feature a band, a theatre, and a focus on public interaction. He says it is progressing smoothly, thanks to an alliance of creative friends willing to work long hours. It will be performed first in a popular bar in Ramallah. When asked if mainstream nightlife is the best place to promote appreciation of art, he replied: It s not artwork, it s an Intifada! He added that hundreds of members of the public will be invited to join in the show, which will tackle sensitive issues in a respectful way. Hourani has great respect for traditions, he just wants to create new ones. Photos courtesy of the artist

36 Book of the Month Palestinian Women: Narrative Histories and Gendered Memories By Fatma Kassem Zed Books, Forthcoming (March 2011), 224 pages, $ Fatma Kassem has made the empowerment of Arab women inside Israel, and the wider region, her life s work. As a lecturer in behavioural sciences at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, she has published several texts on the subject, and her activism led her to a directorship in ESCWA (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia). She also serves as a board member of the association for promoting higher education among Bedouin women in the Negev. The majority of Kassem s published work has dealt with current issues, such as Knowledge, Action and Resistance: The Selective Use of Pre-natal Screening Among Bedouin Women of the Negev (2001). With Narrative Histories and Gendered Memories she turns her attention to the thorny subject of the 1948 Nakba, and specifically the mark it left on Palestinian women who lived through it. It represents the first serious attempt to document the experiences and the historical narrative of ordinary Palestinian women who witnessed the events, through a series of fascinating interviews encompassing a diverse range of perspectives. Kassem analyses why these voices have not been heard over the past 60 years, dealing with Israel s systematic repression of unwelcome historical accounts. This repression is most extreme when addressing the Nakba, which Israeli schools are forbidden to teach. She provides deeply personal accounts of women s trauma and loss, filtering them through the prism of her own experience, using the insights gleaned from decades of working in Israeli academic institutions. She also examines the continuing role that events of 1948 play in Palestinian and Israeli society today, finding that guilt, fear, denial, and hatred colour attitudes and are passed down through generations. She argues that without recognition of this dark chapter of history, relations between populations will remain poisonous. The author allows her sources to speak for themselves without much of the patronising, interpretative leaps that undermine other academic approaches to the Palestine/Israel conflict. By allowing female witnesses an unreconstructed voice she gives their previously overlooked perspectives greater authority, and she and readers are rewarded with powerful, original accounts. Most fascinating are the passages dealing with how witnesses chart the evolution of resistance movements from 1948 to the present day, how Nakba victims inside Israel seek to preserve their identity and reject historic injustices despite the mounting pressure they face to assimilate and forget. The witnesses need to manage daily realities while maintaining deeply held values is touchingly observed. Kassem also devotes attention to her specialist subject of women s subordination in the region, so that history marries the present day, but this important and fresh approach to 1948 should not be dismissed as generic feminism. Available from March 29, this should be on every bookshelf. 70

37 Website of the Month Review date: 13 February 2011 Riwaq s registry, an encyclopedia of architectural information on over 50,000 historic buildings, is the first complete inventory of the architectural heritage in Palestine. The registry s website is available in both English and Arabic, although the bread and butter of the content is available in Arabic only. The site uses a simple interface with a fixed header above the main content which is centred on the page. The header starts with the site title in English and Arabic. Riwaq s main website is linked from its name, which splits the second stripe with a flash slideshow featuring Palestinian natural heritage images. The main menu follows and starts with Home (a link to the main page). About Registry explains the project in details. This drop-down menu is divided into three submenus: General Intro explains the value and historical background of the project as well as the coverage and scope of work, the target group and usage scenarios, how to protect the heritage, what is left to be done, and a mention of those who made the effort fruitful. Technical Intro describes the mechanisms of the work and includes design, data collection, and tools used, such as questionnaires, databases, and map and photo archives. It ends with a summary of results and problems faced during the work. The Results section is a summary of the whole work including some general statistics and issues. The search is another drop-down menu but leads to the Arabic interface. Here you may look for a certain building by specifying 72 By Abed A. Khooli its name or for a town by specifying its governorate. You can then browse available buildings and check various architectural facts and information, in addition to current usage and available images. A breadcrumb menu at the top of the content area is clickable and can be used to browse a governorate or towns with icons that indicate available images. There are more options available in the Arabic version, including a simple map search, text search, and a few reporting options. An option to comment on any item is available under the item s details. The next menu on the English interface is Guest Book and is shared with the Arabic version. Most comments are, as expected, in Arabic, and people s comments range from appreciation to corrections of information. The last item on the menu bar is the Arabic switch which leads to the main page of the Arabic version. The main content area of the homepage starts with an introduction and ends with a bold disclaimer. A footer with a standard copyright note and a link to the site designer concludes the page, and you may spot a non-functional visitor counter in the background. Riwaq s registry is a true national asset but still an unfinished work. A lot remains to be done on the Web presentation and user interface as well as the content sides to make the site what it aspires to be. Abed A. Khooli is an IT and knowledge management specialist. He can be reached at CD of the Month Asfar (Le Trio Joubran) Samir, Wissam, and Adnan Joubran, three brothers from Nazareth, represent the cutting edge of a musical dynasty that stretches back generations. Their awardwinning oud melodies have enraptured a global audience throughout a series of hit albums, international tours, and imaginative collaborations. Now their highly anticipated follow-up to Majaz (2007) has arrived and should win the Trio fresh legions of followers. The new album, Asfar, defines itself as a journey, cutely revealed by a title that means to travel in Arabic or faraway in English. It is the brothers most experimental release since the youngest brother, Adnan, joined to create the birth of the Trio in While the scales and patterns of traditional Arabic music remain the basis of their compositions, Asfar reveals an exotic array of modern and foreign influences. The brothers profess to have no roadmap in their free-form oud interplay, creating a fresh, unpredictable feel to these tracks. Their strings are overlaid with the rich vocals of Tunisian legend Dhafer Youssef, himself a pioneer of the oud. The singer appears on two tracks, and the Trio s longstanding percussionist Youssef Hbeisch makes typically elegant contributions to the winding rhythms. The Joubrans have a rich tradition of collaborating with masters. They enjoyed an extensive and fruitful partnership with poet Mahmoud Darwish, who performed with the brothers several times. After his death, the brothers performed an intense tribute through a 2008 concert in Ramallah that was released on CD as In the Shadow of Words. Darwish had been a formative influence on the Trio, and his poetry has been consistently used throughout their musical careers. Their story began in 1996 when oldest brother Samir produced his solo album Taqaseem, and the follow-up Sou fahm (2001). He was then joined by Wissam, for Tama (2003), and two years later by Adnan. Their last album before Asfar, Majaz (2007) or metaphor, is widely acknowledged as the group s finest work to date. Unsurprisingly the Joubrans derive from a rich musical lineage; their mother sang Arabic-Spanish poems and their father is a world-renowned maker of stringed instruments. At the time of writing the group are on tour that takes in Ramallah (February 27) and Haifa (March 18) as well as several dates in France, Spain, and the United States. If you miss those, or if you have missed the Trio altogether until now, Asfar represents the perfect introduction to one of Palestine s most imaginative and best-loved bands.

38 Note: Please make sure to contact the venue to check whether the programme is still running. French Cultural Centre, tel: ; Centre for Jerusalem Studies, tel: ART Monday 7 10:00 Art exhibition photos by S. Schneider and S. Sarhan, French Cultural Centre Chateaubriand Thursday 17 10:00 Art exhibition photos by Edward Salem and Lora Gordon, French Cultural Centre Chateaubriand FILMS Thursday 10 19:00 Their Water by Félix Vigné, the screening will be followed by a Q&A. French Cultural Centre Chateaubriand LECTURES Tuesday 8 18:00 Archeological Rescue: St. Hilarion Monastery in Gaza, Dominican Fathers LITERATURE Wednesday 9 19:00 Poetry Night featuring Fatima Ibeidat, Baker Zawahreh and Nabil Joulani, followed by a Oud concert French Cultural Centre Chateaubriand PLAYS Tuesday 22 Martin Luther King, Palestinian National Theatre TOURS Saturday 5 10:00 Silwan & the Moroccan, Meeting point: Centre for Jerusalem Studies, Centre for Jerusalem Studies Saturday 12 10:00 Jerusalem Libraries, Centre for Jerusalem Studies. Monday 14 16:15 The Old City Tunnels, Meeting Point, Centre for Jerusalem Studies, Centre for Jerusalem Studies Saturday 19 10:00 Al Aqsa Mosque, The Omayyad Dynasty, Meeting Point, Centre for Jerusalem Studies, Centre for Jerusalem Studies Saturday 26 10:00 The Afro Palestinian Community in the Old City, Meeting Point, Centre for Jerusalem Studies, Centre for Jerusalem Studies Bethlehem Peace Center, tel CONFERENCE Friday 4 10:00 Interreligious Conference, Bethlehem Peace Center SPECIAL EVENT Tuesday 8 10:00 On the Occasion of International Women s Day, The Rural Women s Development Society organises a special programme at Bethlehem Peace Center, Bethlehem Peace Center ART Saturday 26 Inauguration of a contemporary art painting exhibit, at Bethlehem Peace Center Art Museum Birzeit University, tel: ; French German Cultural Centre, tel: ; Khalil El Sakakini Cultural Centre, tel: ; PACE, tel: ART Tuesday 1 10:00 The Young Artists, The Ethnographic & Art Museum Birzeit University Monday 14 18:00 Tunisian evening with the screening of the movie Satin Rouge by Raja Amari in Tunisian Arabic with french subtitles, French German Cultural Center Monday 21 18:00 Exhibition by the photographer Roland Beaufre, French German Cultural Center FILMS Tuesday 1 18:00 KinoKlub: Filmfrauen, screening Lola runs by Tom Tykwer. (German with English subtitles), French German Cultural Center Wednesday 2 18:00 Screening of the movie The Nice Wedding (In French with English subtitles), French German Cultural Center Thursday 3 18:00 Screening of the movie Mauvaise foi by Roshdi Zem (In French with English subtitles), French German Cultural Center Monday 7 18:00 Screening of the third documentary of the series Work sentenced to death (In French with English subtitles), French German Cultural Center Tuesday 8 18:00 KinoKlub: Filmfrauen stories about strong women from Palestine and Germany, Crossroads and Palestine Summer: 11 short movies from Shashat, (Arabic with English subtitles),french German Cultural Center Thursday 10 18:00 Algerian evening in marge of the days of the French language. Screening of the movie Le dernier maquis by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmech, (in French and Algerian Arabic), French German Cultural Center Sunday 13 18:00 Carabean evening with the screening of the movie Corps plongés by Raoul Peck (in French and English with French subtitles), French German Cultural Center Wednesday 16 18:00 Lebanese evening with the screening of the movie Caramel by Nadine Labaki (in Lebanese Arabic with French subtitles), French German Cultural Center Thursday 17 18:00 Belgium evening with the screening of a Belgian movie, French German Cultural Center Sunday 20 18:00 KinoKlub: Filmfrauen Stille Sehnsucht by Christian Wagner, (in German with Arabic subtitles), French German Cultural Center Tuesday 22 18:00 French evening with the screening of the movie Les aventures extraordaines de Adèle Blanc-Sec by Luc Besson, French German Cultural Center Wednesday 23 18:00 Moroccan evening with the screening of the movie Le cheval de vent by Daoud Oulad sayed (In Moroccan Arabic with French subtitles), French German Cultural Center Thursday 24 18:00 A Hungarian evening with the screening of the cartoon (for children and adults) Ludas Matyi by Attila Dargay (in English), French German Cultural Center Sunday 27 18:00 KinoKlub: Filmfrauen Vier Minuten by Chris Kraus, (in German with Arabic subtitles), French German Cultural Center Monday 28 18:00 A Czech evening with the screening of the documentary Citizen Havel by Miroslav Janek (In Czech with English subtitles), French German Cultural Center Tuesday 29 18:00 A Rumanian evening with the screening of the movie Wedding in Bessarabie by Nap Toader (in Rumanian with English subtitles), French German Cultural Center Wednesday 30 18:00 A Greek evening with the screening of the movie Eternity and one day by Theo Angelopoulos (In Greek with French subtitles), French German Cultural Center Thursday 31 18:00 Swiss evening with the screening of a Swiss movie, French German Cultural Center LITERATURE Tuesday 15 17:00 Louz akhdar youth literature forum, tenth session, organised by Jeel Publishing/Filistin Ashabab in cooperation with Al Sakakini Cultural Center, Khalil El Sakakini Cultural Center TOURS Sunday 6 9:00 A tour to the City of Ramallah and vicinity, PACE office Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange (PACE), tel TOURS Sunday 27 9:00 A tour to the City of Nablus and Sebastia, PACE office YES Theatre, tel: ; PACE, tel: PLAYS Friday 4 Martin Luther King, Yes Theatre TOURS Sunday 20 9:00 A tour to the City of Hebron and vicinity, PACE office 74 75

39 Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange (PACE), tel: TOURS Sunday 13 9:00 A tour to the City of Jericho and vicinity, PACE office French Cultural Centre, tel: ; PRCS, tel: ART Sunday 15:00 Art Exhibition of French contemporary artists from the last ten years, French Cultural Center Tuesday 22 15:00 Exhibition of original comics drawings from the famous French artist Jacques Tardi, French Cultural Center CONFERENCE Wednesday 30 18:00 Sky observation with Professor Suleiman Baraka (astrophysicist) and his telescope, French Cultural Center CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES Thursday 24 10:00 Projection for children of the French movie Serko from Joël Farges, (in French with Arabic and English subtitle), PRCS FILM Thursday 24 18:00 Projection for everybody of the French movie Serko from Joël Farges, (in French with Arabic and English subtitles), PRCS LITERATURE Thursday 10 18:00 Spring of Poetry Literary performance evening featuring poets from Gaza, French Cultural Center PLAYS Sunday 20 14:00 International Day of French Songs, theater, poetry, sketches, French Cultural Center Cinema Jenin, tel: ART Wednesday 16 17:00 Photo exhibition by Kai Wiedenhöfer The Book of Destruction: Gaza one year after the 2009 war organised by the German Cultural Center, Ramallah, Cinema Jenin 76

40 Al-Jawal Theatre Group Telefax: Alruwah Theatre Tel: , Al-Ma mal Foundation for Contemporary Art Tel: , Fax: Al-Urmawi Centre for Mashreq Music Tel: , Fax: Ashtar for Theatre Productions & Training Telefax: British Council Tel: , Fax: Center for Jerusalem Studies/Al-Quds University Tel: Community Action Centre (CAC) Tel: , Fax: Educational Bookshop Tel: , Fax: El-Hakawati Theatre Company Tel: , Mobile: French Cultural Centre Tel: / , Fax: Gallery Anadiel Tel: , Fax: Issaf Nashashibi Center for Culture & Literature Telefax: , Jerusalem Centre for Arabic Music Tel: , Fax: , Palestinian Art Court - Al Hoash Telefax: Palestinian National Theatre Tel: , Fax: , Public Affairs Office Tel: , Fax: Sabreen Association for Artistic Development Tel: , Fax: Sanabel Culture & Arts Theatre Tel: , Fax: The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music Tel: , Fax: Theatre Day Productions Tel: , Fax: Turkish Cultural Centre Tel: /1, Fax: Yabous Productions Tel: ; Fax: Al-Harah Theatre Telefax: , Alliance Française de Bethléem Telefax: , Anat Palestinian Folk & Craft Center Telefax: , Arab Educational Institute (AEI)-Open Windows Tel: , Artas Folklore Center Tel: , Mobile: Badil Centre Tel: Beit Jala Community Based-Learning & Action Center Tel: Bethlehem Academy of Music/ Bethlehem Music Society Tel: , Fax: Bethlehem Peace Center Tel: , Fax: Cardinal House Telefax: Catholic Action Cultural Center Tel: , Fax Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Tel: , Fax: Inad Centre for Theatre & Arts Telefax: , International Centre of Bethlehem-Dar Annadwa Tel: , Fax: ITIP Center Italian Tourist Information Point Telefax: , Palestinian Heritage Center Telefax: , Palestinian Group for the Revival of Popular Heritage Telefax: Palestinian Group for the Revival of Popular Heritage Telefax: Relief International - Schools Online Bethlehem Community Based-Learning & Action Center Tel: Sabreen Association for Artistic Development Tel: , Fax: Tent of Nations Tel: , Fax: The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music Telefax: The Higher Institute of Music Telefax: Turathuna - Centre for Palestinian Heritage (B.Uni.) Tel: , Fax: Al Sanabl Centre for Studies and Heritage Tel: , Association d Echanges Culturels Hebron- France (AECHF) Telefax: Beit Et Tifl Compound Telefax: , British Council- Palestine Polytechnic University Telefax: , Children Happiness Center Telefax: , Dura Cultural Martyrs Center Tel: , France-Hebron Association for Cultural Exchanges Tel: , Palestinian Child Arts Center (PCAC) Tel: , Fax: Yes Theater Telefax: , The International Palestinian Youth League (IPYL) Tel: , Fax: Jericho Community Centre Telefax: Jericho Culture & Art Center Telefax: Municipality Theatre Tel: , Fax: Cinema Jenin Tel: Hakoura Center Telfax: The Freedom Theatre/Jenin Refugee Camp Tel: , British Council- Al Najah University Telefax: Cultural Centre for Child Development Tel: , Fax: Cultural Heritage Enrichment Center Tel , Fax , French Cultural Centre Tel: , Fax: Nablus The Culture Tel: , Fax: A. M. Qattan Foundation Tel: , Fax: Al-Kamandjâti Association Tel: Al Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque Tel: /3, Fax: Al-Mada Music Therapy Center Tel: , Fax: Al-Rahhalah Theatre Telefax: , Amideast Tel: , Fax: ArtSchool Palestine Tel: Ashtar for Theatre Production Tel: , Fax: Baladna Cultural Center Telfax: BirZeit Ethnographic and Art Museum Tel , British Council Tel: , Fax: Carmel Cultural Foundation Tel: , Fax: El-Funoun Dance Troupe Tel: , Fax:

41 Sareyyet Ramallah - First Ramallah Group (FRG) Tel: , Fax: Franco-German Cultural Centre Ramallah Tel: / 7727, Fax: Greek Cultural Centre - Macedonia Telefax: / , In ash Al-Usra Society- Center for Heritage & Folklore Studies Tel: / , Telefax: Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center Tel: , Fax: Manar Cultural Center Tel: , Fax: Mazra a Qibliyeh Heritage and Tourism Centre Telefax: , Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art PACA Tel: , fax: Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange (PACE) Tel: , Telfax: Popular Art Center Tel: , Fax: Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS) Tel: Ramallah Cultural Palace Tel: / , Fax: RIWAQ: Centre for Architectural Conservation Tel: , Fax: Sandouq Elajab Theatre Tel: , , Shashat Tel: , Fax: Sharek Youth Forum Tel: , Fax: Tamer Institute for Community Education Tel: / 2, Fax: The Danish House in Palestine (DHIP) TeleFax: , The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music Tel: , Fax: The Palestinian Circus School Tel: , The Palestinian Network of Art Centres Tel: , /9, Fax: The Spanish Cultural Center Tel , Young Artist Forum Telefax: , Al-Qattan Centre for the Child Tel: , Fax: Arts & Crafts Village Telefax: Ashtar for Culture & Arts Telefax: , Fawanees Theatre Group Telefax: Culture & Light Centre Telefax: , French Cultural Centre Tel: , Fax: Gaza Theatre Tel: , Fax: Global Production and Distribution Telefax: , Dialogpunkt Deutsch Gaza (Goethe-Insitut) Tel: , Fax: Holst Cultural Centre Tel: , Fax: , Theatre Day Productions Telefax: , Windows from Gaza For Contemporary Art Mob , 80

42 Addar Hotel (30 suites; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: , Alcazar Hotel (38 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: ; Fax: Ambassador Hotel (122 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: American Colony Hotel(84 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Austrian Hospice Tel: , Fax: Azzahra Hotel (15 rooms, res) Tel: , Fax: Capitol Hotel (54 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: /2, Fax: Christmas Hotel Tel: , Fax: Commodore Hotel (45 rooms; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Gloria Hotel (94 rooms; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: , Golden Walls Hotel (112 rooms) Tel: , Fax: Holy Land Hotel (105 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Jerusalem Hotel (14 rooms; bf; mr; res; live music) Tel: , Fax: Jerusalem Claridge Hotel (30 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Jerusalem Meridian Hotel (74 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Jerusalem Panorama Hotel (74 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Hashimi Hotel Tel: , Fax: , Knights Palace Guesthouse (50 rooms) Tel: , Fax: , Legacy Hotel Tel: , Fax: Metropol Hotel Tel: , Fax: Mount of Olives Hotel (61 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Mount Scopus Hotel (65 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: , National Hotel (54 rooms; bf; cr; res; cf) Tel: , Fax: New Imperial Hotel (45 rooms) Tel: , Fax: New Metropole Hotel (25 rooms; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: New Regent Hotel (24 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: , New Swedish Hostel Tel: , Fax: , Notre Dame Guesthouse (142 rooms, Su, bf, mr, cr, res, ter, cf, pf) Tel: , Fax: Petra Hostel and Hotel Tel: Pilgrims Inn Hotel (16 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Ritz Hotel Jerusalem (104 rooms, bf, mr) Tel: , Fax: Rivoli Hotel Tel: , Fax: Savoy Hotel (17 rooms) Tel: , Fax: Seven Arches Hotel (197 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: , St. Andrew s Scottish Guesthouse The Scottie (17 rooms + 1 hostel) Tel: ; Fax: St. George s Pilgrim Guest House (25 rooms; bf; res) Tel: , Fax: , Strand Hotel (88 rooms; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Victoria Hotel (50 rooms; bf; res) Tel: , Fax: El-Beit Guest House (beit sahour) (15 rooms) TeleFax: , Everest Hotel (19 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Grand Hotel (107 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Golden Park Resort & Hotel (Beit Sahour) (54 rooms; res, bar, pool) Tel: House of Hope Guesthouse Tel: , Fax: House of Peace Hostel Tel: Inter-Continental Hotel (Jacir Palace) (250 rooms; su; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Lutheran Guesthouse Abu Gubran Tel: Murad Tourist Resort Tel: , Fax: , Nativity BELLS Hotel (65 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Nativity Hotel (89 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Paradise Hotel (166 rooms;cf;bf;mr;res;su;pf) Tel: / , St. Antonio Hotel (36 rooms; mr; cf;res;pf) Tel: , Fax: Santa Maria Hotel (83 rooms; mr; res) Tel: /5/6, Fax: , Shepherd Hotel Tel: , Fax: St. Nicholas Hotel (25 rooms; res; mr) Tel: /1/2, Fax: Saint Vincent Guest House (36 rooms) Tel: /8, Fax: Alexander Hotel (42 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Al-Salam Hotel (26 rooms; 6f; mr; cf; res) Tel: /4, Fax: , Beit Al-Baraka Youth Hostel (19 rooms) Tel: , Fax: Beit Ibrahim Guesthouse Tel: , Fax: Bethlehem Hotel (209 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: , Bethlehem Inn (36 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Bethlehem Star Hotel (72 rooms; cf; bf; res) Tel: , Fax: Casanova Hospice (60 rooms; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Casanova Palace Hotel (25 rooms; bf; res) Tel: , Fax: Talita Kumi Guest House (22 rooms; res; mr; cf) Tel: , Fax: Zaituna Tourist Village Tel: Al- Zaytouna Guest House (7 rooms; bf; res; mr) Telefax: Deir Hijleh Monastery Tel: , Hisham Palace Hotel Tel: , Fax: Inter-Continental Jericho (181 rooms; su; bf; cf; mr; res; ter; tb) Tel: , Fax: Jericho Resort Village (60 rooms; 46 studios; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Jerusalem Hotel (22 rooms) Tel: , Fax:

43 Telepherique & Sultan Tourist Center (55 rooms) Tel: , Fax: Hebron Hotel Tel: / , Fax: Al-Qaser Hotel (48 rooms; 7 regular suites, 1 royal suite; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Al-Yasmeen Hotel & Souq (30 rooms; cf; mr; res) Tel: Fax: Asia Hotel (28 rooms, res) Telefax: Chrystal Motel (12 rooms) Telefax: International Friends Guesthouse (Hostel) (mr; res; ter; cf; pf) Telfax: Al-A in Hotel (24 rooms and suites; mr; cf) Tel: Fax: Aladdin Hotel Tel: , , Fax: Al-Bireh Tourist Hotel (50 rooms; cf; res) Telefax: Al-Hajal Hotel (22 rooms; bf) Telefax: Al Hambra Palace (Hotel Suites and Resort) Tel: , Fax: Al-Murouj Pension (Jifna village) (8 rooms; res) Telefax: Al-Wihdah Hotel Telefax: Ankars Suites and Hotel (30 suites) Tel: , Fax: Best Eastern Hotel (91 rooms; cf; res) Tel: , Fax: , Caesar Hotel (46 rooms & su, 2 mr, cr, res, cf) Tel: , Fax: City Inn Palace Hotel (47 rooms; bf; cf; res) Tel: , Fax: Grand Park Hotel & Resorts (84 rooms; 12 grand suites; bf; cf; mr; res; sp; pf) Tel: , Fax: , Gemzo Suites (90 executive suites; cs; mr; pf; gm; res) Tel: , Fax: Manarah Hotel Tel: , Telefax: Merryland Hotel (25 rooms) Tel: , Telefax: Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah (171 rooms and Su; bf; mr; cr; res;ter; cf; gm; pf; sp) Tel: , Fax: Rocky Hotel (22 rooms; cf; res; ter) Tel: , Telefax: Pension Miami (12 rooms) Telefax: Ramallah Hotel (22 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Retno Hotel (33 rooms & su; res; mr; gm; sp) Telefax: , Royal Court Suite Hotel (34 suites; res; mr; ter; cf; pf; i) Tel: , Fax: Star Mountain Guesthouse (10 rooms; wifi; pf) Tel: , Telefax: Adam Hotel (76 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Telefax: /19 Al-Deira (11 suites; cf; mr; res; ter) Tel: /200/300, Fax: Al-Quds In ter na tional Hotel (44 rooms; 2 suites; bf; mr; res) Telefax: Al-Waha Hotel Tel: , Fax: Beach Hotel (25 rooms; bf; mr; res) Telefax: Cliff Hotel (24 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Commodore Gaza Hotel (120 rooms;su; bf) Tel: , Fax: Gaza International Hotel (30 rooms; bf; cf; res; sp) Tel: /2/3/4, Fax: Grand Palace Hotel (20 rooms; cr; mr; cf; res; internet) Tel: /6468, Fax: Hotel Sea Breeze Tel: , Fax: Marna House (17 rooms; bf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Palestine Hotel (54 rooms; bf; cf; mr; res) Tel: , Fax: Cinema Jenin Guesthouse (7 rooms; 2 su) Tel: Haddad Hotel & Resort Tel: /1/2, Fax: Key: su = suites, bf = business facilities; mr = meeting rooms, cr = conference facilities; res = restaurant, ter = terrace bar; tb = turkish bath, cf = coffee shop; gm = gym; pf = parking facilities, sp = swimming pool Al-Diwan (Ambassador Hotel) Middle Eastern, French, and Italian Cuisine Tel: , Fax: Alhambra Palace Jerusalem Restaurant & coffee shop Conferences workshops and social activates, Theatre and Cinema Tel: , Fax: Al-Shuleh Grill Shawerma and Barbecues Tel: Amigo Emil Middle Eastern, American, Indian, and Italian Cuisine Tel: , Fax: Antonio s (Ambassador Hotel) Middle Eastern, French, and Italian Cuisine Tel: Arabesque, Poolside, and Patio Restaurants (American Colony Hotel) Western and Middle Eastern Menu Tel: , Fax: Armenian Tavern Armenian and Middle Eastern Food Tel: Askidinya Italian and French Cuisine Tel: Az-Zahra Oriental food and Pizza Tel: Borderline Restaurant Café Italian and Oriental Menu Tel: Caf é Europe Drinks and Fast Food Tel: Cardo Restaurant Continental Cuisine Tel: Chinese Restaurant Chinese Cuisine Tel: , Fax: Coffee Bean Café Sandwiches and Sushi Tel: Educational Bookshop Books and Coffee Books and Coffee Tel: El Dorada Coffee Shop and Internet Café Chocolates, Coffee, and Internet Tel: Flavours Grill International Cuisine with Mediterranean Flavour Tel: Four Seasons Restaurants and Coffee Shop Barbecues and Shawerma Tel: , Fax: Goodies Fast Food Tel: Kan Zaman (Jerusalem Hotel) Mediterranean Cuisine Tel: Lotus and Olive Garden (Jerusalem Meridian Hotel) Middle Eastern and Continental Cuisine Tel: Nafoura Middle Eastern Menu Tel: Nakashian Gallery Café Tel: La Rotisserie (Notre Dame Hotel) Gourmet Restaurant, European and Mediterranean Menu Tel: , Fax: Dina Café Coffee and Pastry Tel: Papa Andreas Barbecues Tel: , Fax: Pasha s Oriental Food Tel: , Patisserie Suisse Fast Food and Breakfast Tel: Petra Restaurant Oriental Cuisine Tel: Pizza House Pizza and Oriental Pastry Tel: , RIO Grill and Subs Italian and French Cuisine Tel: Rossini s Restaurant Bar French and Italian Cuisine Tel: Shababeek Restaurant Mediterranean Menu Tel: , Fax: Shalizar Restaurant Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Italian Cuisine Tel: The Gate Café Fresh Juices, Coffee, and Tea Tel: The Patio (Christmas Hotel) Oriental and European Menu Tel: , Versavee Bistro (Bar and Café) Oriental and Western Food Tel: Abu Eli Restaurant Middle Eastern and Barbecues Tel Abu Shanab Restaurant Barbecues Tel: Afteem Restaurant Oriental Cuisine Tel: Al-Areeshah Palace (Jacir Palace InterContinental Bethlehem) Middle Eastern and Barbecues Tel: , Fax: Al-Hakura Restaurant Middle Eastern and Fast Food Tel: Al- Khaymeh (Jacir Palace InterContinental Bethlehem) Middle Eastern and Barbecues Tel: , Fax: Akkawi Café Western Menu Tel: Al Makan Bar (Jacir Palace InterContinental Bethlehem) Snack Bar Tel: , Fax: Balloons Coffee Shop and Pizza Tel: , Fax: Beit Sahour Citadel Mediterranean Cuisine Tel:

44 Bonjour Restaurant and Café Coffee Shop and Continental Cuisine Tel: Dar al-balad Continental Cuisine Tel: Grotto Restaurant Barbecues and Taboon Tel: , Fax: Golden Roof Continental Cuisine Tel: Il iliyeh Restaurant Continental Cuisine Tel: La Terrasse Middle Eastern and Continental Cuisine Tel: Layal Lounge Snack Bar Tel: Mariachi (Grand Hotel) Seafood and Mexican Cuisine Tel: , /3 Fax: Palmeras Gastropub Continental Cuisine Telefax: Peace Restaurant & Bar Pasta, Seafood, Steaks & Middle Eastern Tel: Riwaq Courtyard (Jacir Palace InterContinental Bethlehem) Coffee Shop and Sandwiches Tel: , Fax: Roots Lounge (Beit Sahour) Tel: The Tent Restaurant (Shepherds Valley Village) Barbecues Tel: , Fax: St. George Restaurant Oriental Cuisine and Barbecues Tel: , Fax: Tachi Chinese Chinese Cuisine Tel: Taboo Restaurant and Bar Oriental and Continental Cuisine Tel: , Fax: The Square Restaurant and Coffee Shop Mediterranean Cuisine Tel: Zaitouneh (Jacir Palace InterContinental Bethlehem) Continental Cuisine Tel: , Fax: Al-Nafoura Restaurant (Jericho Resort Village) Arabic Cuisine and Barbecues Tel: , Fax: Al-Rawda Barbecues Telefax: Green Valley Park Oriental Cuisine and Barbecues Tel: Jabal Quruntul Continental Cuisine (Open Buffet) Tel: , Fax: Seven Trees Continental Cuisine Tel: Salim Afandi Barbecues and Oriental Cuisine Tel: Zeit Ou Zaater (Al-Yasmeen Hotel) Continental Cuisine and Pastries Tel: , Fax: Al Falaha Msakhan and Taboun Tel: Allegro Italian Restaurant Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah Italian fine cuisine Tel: Al- Riwaq All-day-dining restaurant Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah International, Swiss and Oriental cuisine Tel: Awjan Seafood, Breakfast, and Pizza, Coffee Shop, Lebanese and Italian Cuisine Tel: Andre s Restaurant French and Italian Cuisine Tel: /8 Angelo s Western Menu and Pizza Tel: , Azure Restaurant and Coffee Shop Continental Cuisine Telefax: Baladna Ice Cream Ice Cream and Soft Drinks Telefax: Birth Café Barbecues and Fast Food Tel: Caesar s (Grand Park Hotel) Continental Cuisine Tel: Café De La Paix French Cuisine Tel: Chinese House Restaurant Chinese Cuisine Tel: Crispy Fried Chicken and Hamburgers Tel: Darna Continental Cuisine Tel: /1 Diwan Art Coffee Shop Continental Cuisine Tel: Do Re Mi Café (Royal Court) Continental Cuisine Tel: Elite Coffee House Italian and Arabic Cuisine Tel: European Coffee Shop Coffee and Sweets Tel: , Express Pizza American Pizza Tel: Fawanees Pastries and Fast Food Tel: Zaki Taki Sandwiches Tel: K5M - Caterers Cake and Sweets Tel: Khuzama Restaurant Oriental Cuisine Tel: Karaz Restaurant French and Italian dishes Tel: la vie café La Vista Café and Restaurant Oriental and Western Cuisine Tel: Cann Espresso Arabic and Italian Cuisine Tel: Mac Simon Pizza and Fast Food Tel: Mr. Donuts Café Donuts and Coffee Shop Tel: Mr. Fish Seafood Tel: Mr. Pizza Pizza and Fast Food Tel: , Muntaza Restaurant and Garden Barbecues and Sandwiches Tel: Na3Na3 Café Italian and Oriental Cuisine Tel: Newz Bar Lounge and Le Gourmet pastries corner Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah Tel: Osama s Pizza Pizza and Fast Food Tel: Orjuwan Lounge Palestinian-Italian Fusion Tel: Pesto Café and Restaurant Italian Cuisine Tel: , Pizza Inn Pizza and Fast Food Tel: /2/3 Philadelphia Restaurant Middle Eastern Menu Tel: Plaza Jdoudna Restaurant and Park Middle Eastern Menu Tel: , Fax: Pronto Resto-Café Italian Cuisine Tel: Roma Café Italian Light Food Tel: Rukab s Ice Cream Ice Cream and Soft Drinks Tel: Saba Sandwiches Falafel and Sandwiches Tel: Samer Middle Eastern Food Tel: Sangria s French, Italian, and Mexican Cuisine Tel: Shukeireh Restaurant Middle Eastern and Western Cuisine Tel: Sinatra Cafe and Cheese Cake Italian and American Cuisine Tel: Sky Bar (Ankars Suites and Hotel) Continental Cuisine Tel: Sparkles Bar Cigar bar Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah Tel: Stones Continental Cuisine Tel: Tabash (Jifna Village) Barbecues Tel: Tal El-Qamar Roof Middle Eastern and Western Menu Tel: / 6 The Vine Restaurant Continental Cuisine Tel: THE Q GARDEN Roof-top garden - International Cusine Tel: Tomasso s Pizza and Fast Food Tel: / 2 Tropicana Mexican Cuisine, Oriental Menu, and Zarb Tel: UpTown (Ankars Suites and Hotel) Continental Cuisine Tel: Vatche s Garden Restaurant European Style Tel: , Zam n Premium Coffee Coffee Shop Style Tel: Zam n Premium Coffee Masyoun Coffee Shop Style Tel: Zarour Bar BQ Barbecues and Oriental Cuisine Tel: , Fax: Zeit ou Zaater Pastries and Snacks Tel: Ziryab Barbecues, Italian, and Oriental Cuisine Tel: Al-Andalus Middle Eastern and Western Cuisine Tel: , Al-Deira Continental Cuisine Tel: /200/300 Al-Marsa Seafood and Desserts Tel: Al-Molouke Shawerma and Barbecues Tel: Al-Salam Seafood Tel: , Telefax: Al-Sammak Seafood Tel: Al-Sammak Ghornata Seafood Tel: Avenue Restaurant and Café Shop Middle Eastern and Western Menu Tel: / La Mirage Continental Cuisine and Seafood Tel: Roots - The Club Oriental Cuisine Tel: , , Saleh Atya Al Shawa Restaurant - Al-Jala Barbecues Tel:

45 East Jerusalem (02) Armenian Museum, Old City, Tel: , Fax: , Opening hours: Mon.- Sat. from 9:00-16:30 Dar At Tifl Museum (Dar At Tifl Association), Near the Orient House, Tel: , Fax: Islamic Museum (The Islamic Waqf Asso ciation), Old City, Tel: , Fax: , opening hours for tourists: daily from 7:30-13:30 Math Museum, Science Museum, Abu Jihad Museum for the Palestinian Prisoners Studies - Al-Quds University, Tel: , opening hours Saturday - Wednesday 8:30-15:00 Qalandia Camp Women s Handicraft Coop., Telefax: , Fax: , Ramallah & Al-Bireh (02) Museum of Palestinian Popular Heritage - In ash el Usra, In ash el Usra society, Al-Bireh, Tel: , Fax: , Opening hours: daily from 8:00-15:00 except Fridays Ramallah Museum, Al-Harajeh St., Across from Arab Bank, Old Town, Ramallah, Telefax: , open daily from 8:00-15:00 except friday and Saturday The Birzeit University Ethnographic and Art Museum Tel: , Opening hours: daily from 10:00-15:00 except for Fridays and Sundays Bethlehem (02) Al-Balad Museum for Olive Oil Production, Tel: , Opening hours: 8:00-14:30 Monday through Saturday Baituna al Talhami Museum, (Folklore Museum) Arab Women s Union, Tel: , Fax: , Opening hours: daily from 8:00-13:00/ 14:00-17:00 except for Sundays and Thursdays afternoon Bethlehem Peace Center Museum, Tel: , Fax: , Opening hours: daily from 10:00-18:00 except Sundays from 10:00-16:00 International Nativity Museum, TeleFax: , com Natural History Museum, Telefax: , The International Nativity Museum, Tel: , Fax: Palestinian Ethnographic Museum, Tel: , Fax: , Opening hours: daily from 9:00-17:00 Palestinian Heritage Center, Telefax: , Gaza (08) Al Mathaf, Tel: , www. East Jerusalem (02) Car Rental Car & Drive, Tel: /3 Dallah Al-Barakah, Tel: Good Luck, Tel: , Fax: Green Peace Rent A Car Ltd., Telefax: Jerusalem Car Rental & Leasing ltd., Tel: , Fax: Orabi, Tel: Petra, Tel: ,Taxis Abdo,Tel: (Beit Hanina), Tel: (Damascus Gate) Al-Eman Taxi & Lemo Service, Tel: Al-Rashid, Tel: Al-Aqsa, Tel: Beit Hanina, Tel: Holy Land, Tel: Imperial, Tel: Jaber - Petra, Tel: Khaled Al-Tahan, Tel: Mount of Olives, Tel: Panorama, Tel: Tourist Trans por tation Abdo Tourist, Tel: Jerusalem of Gold, Tel: /6 Kawasmi Tourist Travel Ltd., Tel: , Fax: Mount of Olives, Tel: Mahfouz Tourist Travel, Tel: , Fax: Bethlehem (02) Car Rental Murad, Tel: Nativity Rent a Car, Tel: , Fax: Taxis Asha b, Tel: Beit Jala, Tel: Al Fararjeh Taxi - 24 Hours, Tel: Hebron (02) Car Rental Holy Land, Tel: Taxis Al-Asdiqa, Tel: Al-Itihad, Tel: Jericho (02) Taxis Petra, Tel: Nablus (09) Car Rental Orabi, Tel: Taxis Al-Ittimad, Tel: Al-Madina, Tel: Ramallah & Al-Bireh (02) Car Rental Good Luck, Tel: Orabi, Tel: Petra, Tel: TWINS, Tel: Taxis Al-Bireh, Tel: Al-Masyoun Taxi, Tel: Al-Salam, Tel: Al-Wafa, Tel: Al-Itihad, Tel: Hinnawi Taxi, Tel: Omaya, Tel: SAHARA Rent a Car Co., Tel: /8 Shamma Taxi Co., Tel: Gaza Strip (08) Car Rental Al-Ahli, Tel: Al-Farouq, Tel: Imad, Tel: Luzun, Tel: Taxis Al-Nasser, Tel: , Al-Wafa, Tel: Azhar, Tel: Midan Filastin, Tel: East Jerusalem (02) 4M Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Abdo Tourist & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Aeolus Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Albina Tours Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Alliance Travel Solutions, Tel: , Fax: , Arab Tourist Agency (ATA), Tel: , Fax: 628 Atic Tours & Travel Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Awad & Co. Tourist Agency, Tel: , Fax: ,, Aweidah Bros. Co., Tel: , Fax: ,, Ayoub Caravan Tours, Tel: , Fax: B. Peace Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Bible Land Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Blessed Land Tours, Tel: , Fax: ,, Carawan Tours and Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Daher Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Dajani Palestine Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Dakkak Tours Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Egythai Int. Tours and Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Gates of Jerusalem Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , George Garabedian Co., Tel: , Fax: , GEMM Travel, Tel: /6, Good News Tours Ltd., Tel: /2, Fax: , Golden Dome Company for Hajj& Umra Services, Tel: , Fax: Guiding Star Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , com Holy Jerusalem Tours & Travel, Tel: ; Fax: , www. Holy Land Tours, Tel: , Fax: , J. Sylvia Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Jata Travel Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Jiro Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Jordan Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: Jerusalem Orient Tourist Travel, Tel : , Fax: , JT & T, Tel: , , Fax: , com KIM s Tourist & Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Lawrence Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Lions Gate Travel & Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Mobile: , Lourdes Tourist & Travel Agency, Tel: , Telefax: , Middle East Car Rental, Tel: , Fax: Mt. of Olives Tours Ltd., Tel: , Fax: Nawas Tourist Agency Ltd., Tel: , Fax: Nazarene Tours and Travel, Tel: , Fax: Near East Tourist Agency (NET), Tel: , Fax: , O.S. Hotel Services, Tel: , Fax: , Overseas Travel Bureau, Tel: , Fax: , Royal Orient Tours & Travel, Tel: /2, Fax: , Safieh Tours & Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Samara Tourist & Travel Agency, Tel: Fax: , Season Travel ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Shepherds Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Shweiki Tours Ltd., Tel: , Fax: Sindbad Travel Tourist Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Siniora Star Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Terra Sancta Tourist Co, Tel: , Fax: The Pioneer Links Travel & Tourism Bureau, Tel: , Fax: , Tony Tours Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , United Travel Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Universal Tourist Agency, Tel: , Fax: , www. William Tours & Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Yanis Tours & Travel, Telefax: , Zatarah Tourist & Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Bethlehem (02) Angels Tours and Travel, Tel: , Fax: , www. Arab Agency Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: , com, Crown Tours & Travel Co. Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Four Seasons Co. Tourism & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Friendship Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: , Gloria Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Golden Gate Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Kukali Travel & Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Laila Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Lama Tours International, Tel: , Fax: , Millennium Transportation, TeleFax: , Mousallam Int l Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Nativity Travel, Tel: , Fax: Sansur Travel Agency, Tel: , Telefax: Sky Lark Tours and Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Terra Santa Tourist Co., Tel: Fax: Voice of Faith Tours, Tel: Fax: , Beit Jala (02) Guiding Star Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Beit Sahour (02) Alternative Tourism Group, Tel: , Fax: , Brothers Travel & Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Magi Tours, Telefax: , 89

46 Hebron (02) AL-Afaq for Travel & Umrah, Telefax: , Al Amir Tours, Telefax: , Alkiram Tourism, Tel: /2, Fax: , Al-Haya Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: Al-Salam Travel and Tours Co., Tel: , Fax: Arab Nisr Travel & Tourism, Tel: /1, Fax: /1, Sabeen Travel Tourism, Telefax: , Ramallah (02) Al-Asmar Travel Agency, Telefax: , , Al Awdah Tourism & Travel, Tel: , Fax: All Middle East Pilgrimage and Tourism Coordination Office, Tel: , Fax: , Amani Tours, Telefax: , Anwar Travel Agency, Tel: , , Arab Office for Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: Arseema for Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: , Atlas Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Darwish Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: Golden Globe Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Issis & Co., Tel: , Fax: Jordan River Tourist & Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: Kashou Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Mrebe Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Paltour Travel and Tourism, Tel: , Fax: , The Pioneer Links Travel & Tourism Bureau, Tel: , Fax: , Travel House For Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: , Rahhal Tours & Travel, Tel: , Fax: , Raha Tours and Travel, Tel: , Fax: , com Ramallah Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: , Reem Travel Agency, Tel: , Fax: Royal Tours, Tel: /1, Fax: Sabeen Travel Tourism, Telefax: , Salah Tours, Tel: , Fax: Shbat & Abdul Nur, Tel: , Fax: Skyway Tourist Agency, Telefax: Jenin (04) Asia Travel Tourism, Telefax: , Al Sadeq Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: , Nablus (09) Almadena Tours, Tel: , Telefax: , Dream Travel & Tourism, Tel: , Fax: Firas Tours, Tel: , Fax: Top Tour, Tel: , Fax: , Yaish International Tours, Telefax: , , Tulkarem (09) Faj Tours, Tel: , Fax: , Gaza Strip (08) Al-Muntazah Travel Agency, Tel: Fax: Halabi Tours and Travel Co., Tel: , Fax: , Maxim Tours, Tel: , Fax: National Tourist Office, Tel: , Fax: , Time Travel Ltd., Tel: , Fax: , Air France and KLM, Tel: /6 (Jerusalem), Tel: (Gaza) Air Sinai Varig, Tel: (Jerusalem), Tel: (Gaza) bmi Nazarene Aviation, Tel: /898, Fax: (Jerusalem) British Airways, Tel: , Fax: (Jerusalem) Cyprus Airways, Tel: (Al-Bireh) Delta Airlines, Tel: , Telefax: (Ramallah) Egypt Air, Tel: /49 (Ramallah), Tel: (Gaza) Emirates Airlines, Tel: (Ramallah) Gulf Air, Tel: (Nablus), Tel: /3 (Ramallah) Iberia, Tel: /7238 (Jerusalem) Lufthansa, Tel: (Nablus) Malev-Hungarian Airlines, Tel: (Ramallah) Middle East Car Rental, Tel: , Fax: PAL AVIATION, Tel Telefax: (Ramallah) Palestine Airlines, Tel: (Gaza), Tel: /7 (Gaza) Qatar Airways, Tel: (Al-Bireh), Tel: (Gaza), Royal Jordanian Airways, Tel: (Ramallah), Tel: /13 (Gaza) SN Brussels Airlines, Tel: (Ramallah), SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Tel: /7238 (Jerusalem) South African Airways, Tel: (Jerusalem) Swiss International Airlines, Tel: (Ramallah) Tunis Air, Tel: (Ramallah), Tel: (Gaza) Turkish Airlines, Tel: (Bethlehem) Airport Information Gaza International Airport, Tel: Ben Gurion Airport, Tel: Consulates East Jerusalem (02) Apostolic Delegation, Tel: , Fax: Belgium, Tel: , Fax: , European Community - Delegation to the OPT, Tel: , Fax: France, Tel: , Fax: Great Britain, Tel: , Fax: , britain. Greece, Tel: , Fax: Italy, Tel: , Fax: Spain, Tel: , Fax: Swedish Consulate General, Tel: , Fax: Turkey, Tel: , Fax: , United States of America, Tel: , Fax: Representative Offices to the PNA Ramallah & Al-Bireh (02) Argentina Representative Office to the PA, Tel: /9, Fax: , Australia, Tel: , Fax: , com Austria, Tel: , Fax: Brazil, Tel: , Fax: , org Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Tel: /1, Fax: , com, Canada, Tel: , Fax: , Chile, Tel: , Fax: , Cyprus, Tel: , Fax: Czech Republic, Tel: , Fax: Denmark, Tel: , Fax: Egypt, Tel: , Fax: Finland, Tel: , Fax: Germany, Tel: , Fax: , com Hungary, Tel: , Fax: , India, Tel: , Fax: , roi_ Ireland, Tel: /2/3, Fax: , Japan, Tel: , Fax: Jordan, Tel: , Fax: Mexico, Tel: , Fax: , com Norway, Tel: , Fax: , Poland, Tel: , Fax: Portugal, Tel: /3, Fax: Republic of Korea, Tel: /7, Fax: Russian Federation, Tel: , Fax: South Africa, Tel: , Fax: , Sri Lanka, Telefax: Switzerland, Tel: , The Netherlands, Tel: , Fax: The People s Republic of China, Tel: , Fax: , Gaza Strip (08) Egypt, Tel: , Fax: Germany, Tel: , Fax: Jordan, Tel: , Fax: Morocco, Tel: , Fax: Norway, Tel: , Fax: Qatar, Tel: , Fax: South Africa, Tel: , Fax: Tunisia, Tel: , Fax: United Nations and International Organisations FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Jerusalem (02), TeleFax: , , IBRD - International Bank for Reconstruction and De vel opment (World Bank), West Bank (02), Tel: Fax: , Gaza (08) Tel: Fax: , firstletterofsurname. IMF, - International Monetary Fund, Gaza (08), Tel: ; Fax: , West Bank (02), Tel: ; Fax: ILO - International Labor Organization, Jerusalem (02), Tel: , , Fax: , Ramallah (02), Tel: , Fax: , Nablus (09), Tel: , Fax: OHCHR - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Gaza (08), Tel: , Fax: , West Bank Office, Telefax: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Ramallah (02), Tel: , Fax: , UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund, Jerusalem (02), Tel: , Fax: , UNICEF - United Nations Children s Fund, Jerusalem (02), Tel: ,4 Fax: , Gaza (08), Tel: , Fax: , UNIFEM - United Nations Development Fund for Women, Telefax: , Tel: UN OCHA - United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Tel: / , Fax: , UNRWA - United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Gaza (08), Tel: , Fax: , West Bank (02), Tel: , Fax: , UNSCO - Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tel: / , Fax: / , www. UNTSO - United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, Jerusalem (02), Tel: , Fax: , WFP - World Food Programme, Gaza (08), Tel: , Fax: , Jerusalem (02), Tel: , Fax: , WHO - World Health Organization, Jerusalem (02), Tel: , Fax: , Gaza (08), Tel: , Fax: , World Bank, Tel: , Fax: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) 4 Al-Ya qubi Street, Jerusalem, Tel: , Fax: / URL:

47 East Jerusalem (02) Hospitals Augusta Victoria, Tel: Dajani Maternity, Tel: Hadassah (Ein Kerem), Tel: Hadassah (Mt. Scopus), Tel: Maqassed, Tel: Red Crescent Maternity, Tel: St. John s Opthalmic, Tel: St. Joseph, Tel: Clinics and Centers Arab Health Center, Tel: CHS Clinics, Tel: /0499 Ibn Sina Medical Center, Tel: /9, Jerusalem First Aid Clinic, Tel: Medical Relief Womens, Health Clinic, Tel: Palestinian Counseling Center, Tel: , Peace Medical Center, Tel: , Red Crescent Society, Tel: Spafford Children s Clinic, Tel: The Austrian Arab Commu nity Clinic (AACC), Tel: The Jerusalem Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children, Tel: Bethlehem (02) Hospitals Al-Dibis Maternity, Tel: Al-Hussein Government, Tel: Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation, Tel: , Fax: Caritas Baby, Tel: , Fax: Mental Health, Tel: Shepherd s Field Hospital, Tel: St. Mary s Maternity, Tel: The Holy Family, Tel: , Fax: Clinics and Centers Beit Sahour Medical Center, Tel: Bethlehem Dental Center, Tel: Hebron (02) Hospitals Amira Alia, Tel: Al-Ahli, Tel: Al-Meezan, Tel: /1 Al-Za tari, Tel: Mohammed Ali, Tel: /4 Shaheera, Tel: St. John s Opthalmic, Tel: The Red Crescent, Tel: Yattah Governmental Hospital, Tel: , Clinics and Centers Red Crescent Society, Tel: UPMRC, Tel: Jericho (02) Hospitals Jericho Government, Tel: /8/9 Clinics and Centers UPMRC, Tel: Nablus (09) Hospitals Al-Aqsa Hospital and Medical Center, Tel: Al-Ittihad, Tel: Al-Watani, Tel: Al-Zakat Hospital (TolKarem), Tel: Aqraba Maternity Home, Tel: Rafidia, Tel: Salfit Emergency Governmental Hospital, Tel: Specialized Arab Hospital, Tel: St. Luke s, Tel: UNRWA Qalqilia Hospital (Qalqiliya), Tel: Clinics and Centers Al-Amal Center, Tel: Arab Medical Center, Tel: Hagar (Handicapped Equipment Center), Tel: Red Crescent Society, Tel: UPMRC, Tel: Ramallah & Al-Bireh (02) Hospitals Arabcare Hospital, Tel: AL-Karmel Maternity Home, Tel: Al-Mustaqbal Hospital, Tel: AL-Nather Maternity Hospital, Tel: Ash-Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Tel: Birziet Maternity Home, Tel: Care Specialized Dental Center, Tel: Khaled Surgical Hospital, Tel: Ramallah Government Hospitals, Tel: /7 Red Crescent Hospital, Tel: Clinics and Centers Arab Medical Center, Tel: Arabcare Medical Center, Tel: Emergency & Trauma Center, Tel: Harb Heart Center, Tel: Modern Dental Center, Tel: National Center for Blood Diseases Hippocrates Thalessemia and Hemophilia Center, Tel: , Fax: Patients Friends Society K. Abu Raya Re ha bili tation Centre, Tel: /1 Palestinian Hemophilia Association-PHA, Telefax: Peace Medical Center, Tel: Red Crescent Society, Tel: UPMRC, Tel: , Gaza Strip (08) Hospitals Al-Ahli Al-Arabi, Tel: Dar Al-Salam, Tel: Nasser, Tel: Shifa, Tel: Clinics and Centers Arab Medical Center, Tel: Beit Hanoun Clinic, Tel: Dar Al-Shifa, Tel: Hagar (Handicapped Equipment Center), Tel: St. John s Opthalmic, Tel: UPMRC, Tel: Ramallah (02) Al Quds Bank (Al-Masyoon), Tel: , (El-Bireh), Tel: Al Rafah Microfinance Bank, Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank, (Al-Balad) Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank, (Al-Bireh), Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank, (Al-Manara) Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank (Masyoun Branch), Tel: Arab Land Bank, Tel: Bank of Palestine, Tel: , Fax: Bank of Palestine, (Al-Irsal) Tel: , Fax: Arab Palestinian Investment Bank, Tel: , Fax: Beit Al-Mal Holdings, Tel: , Fax: HSBC Bank Middle East, Tel: , Fax: Cairo-Amman Bank, Tel: , Fax: The Center for Private Enterprise Development, Tel: , Fax: Commercial Bank of Palestine, Tel: , Fax: Cooperative Development Unit, Tel: , Fax: Deutsche Ausgleichsbank (DTA), Tel: , Fax: The Housing Bank, Tel: , Fax: International Islamic Arab Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan-Gulf Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan-Kuwait Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan National Bank, Tel: , Fax: Palestine International Bank (PIB), Tel: , Fax: Palestine Investment Bank, Tel: , Fax: Palestine Islamic Bank, Tel: , Fax: Union Bank, Tel: , Fax: Gaza Strip (08) Al Quds Bank (Al-Remal), Tel: Arab Bank, Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank (Al-Rimal), Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank, (Khan Younis) Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank (Karny), Tel: , Fax: Arab Land Bank, Tel: , Fax: Bank of Palestine Ltd., Tel: , Fax: Beit Al-Mal Holdings, Tel: , Fax: Cairo-Amman Bank, Tel: , Fax: Commercial Bank of Palestine, Tel: , Fax: The Housing Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan Bank, Tel: , Fax: Palestine Development Fund, Tel: , Fax: Palestine International Bank (PIB), Tel: , Fax: Palestine Investment Bank, Tel: , Fax: Nablus (09) Al Quds Bank, Tel: , (Nablus Aljded), Tel: Arab Bank, Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank (Askar), Tel: , Fax: Arab Land Bank, Tel: , Fax: Bank of Palestine Ltd., Tel: , Fax: Bank of Palestine (Al-Misbah), Tel: , Fax: Cairo-Amman Bank, Tel: , Fax: Commercial Bank of Palestine, Tel: , Fax: The Housing Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan-Gulf Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan-Kuwait Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan-National Bank, Tel: , Fax: Palestine Investment Bank, Tel: , Fax: Palestine International Bank, Tel: , Fax: City Fire Ambulance Police Jerusalem* CHS (Old City Jerusalem) 101 / Bethlehem / Gaza / Hebron 102/ Jericho / Jenin / Nablus / Ramallah / Child Helpline Palestine (121) free line Tulkarem / Qalqilia / East Jerusalem (02) Al Quds Bank (Al-Ezzarieh), Tel: Arab Bank (Al-Ezzarieh), Tel: , Fax: Arab Bank (Al-Ram), Tel: , Fax: Center for Development Consultancy (CDC), Tel: , Fax: Commer cial Bank of Palestine, Tel: , Fax: Bethlehem (02) Arab Bank, Tel: , Fax: Arab Land Bank, Tel: Cairo- Amman Bank, Tel: , Fax: Jordan National Bank, Tel: , Fax: Bank of Palestine Ltd., Tel: /6, Fax: Palestine Investment Bank, Tel: , Fax: Hebron (02) Al Quds Bank, Tel: Al-Ahli Bank, Tel: /2/3/4 Arab Bank, Tel: , Fax: Bank of Palestine Ltd., Tel: /2/3 Cairo-Amman Bank, (Wadi Al-Tuffah) Tel: /4/5 Cairo-Amman Bank, (Al-Balad) Tel: /4 Cairo-Amman Bank, (The Islamic Branch) Tel: Islamic Arab Bank, Tel: /7 Islamic Bank, Tel: Jordan Bank, Tel: /2/3/4 Palestine Investment Bank, Tel: /2/3/4 The Housing Bank, Tel: Telephone Services Bezeq Wake up calls 1475 Talking Clock Time around the world 1455 Vocal Information 1975 Pager Service 1705 Repeat call *41 Last call *42 Call waiting *70 Call forwarding *71 General information 199 Services 164 Corporate services 166 Paltel Wake up calls 175 Free fax service 167 Follow me (forwarding calls) 72* Phone book 144 Maintenance 166 Information 199 Internet maintenance 167 Calls from Overseas Dial access code, international country code (972) or (970), area code (without the zero), desired number Tourism and An tiq uities Police Bethlehem /1 Gaza Jericho Nablus Border Crossings Allenby Bridge Arava Border Eretz Crossing Rafah Border Sheikh Hussien

48 As Palestine continues its struggle for independence, it has already begun to acquire sovereign cyberspace recognition. A difficult three-year international debate resulted in the Occupied Palestinian Territory being officially assigned the two-letter suffix,.ps, in the ISO list for the representation of names of countries or territories. The successful struggle to attain country code 970 led the way for the Internet Corporation for Associated Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international corporation that manages the country code Top-Level Domain (cctld) system on the Internet, on 22 March 2000, to assign Palestine its unique country identifier,.ps, in line with other sovereign nations such for France for Canada. Arts and Culture: Al Rowwad Theatre Centre A.M. Qattan Foundation Ashtar Theater Al Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque Al-Ma mal Foundation for Contemporary Art org, Al Mathaf ArtSchool Palestine Baha Boukhari www., Educational Bookshop Family Net Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center (Ramallah) Paltel Virtual Gallery (Birzeit University) Rim Banna RIWAQ: Centre for Architectural Conservation Sunbula (fair trade/crafts) The Popular Arts Centre Sumud Palestinian Pottery Palestine Writing Workshop The International Center of Bethlehem (Dar Annadwa) The Musical Intifada El-funoun Sabreen Association for Artistic Development The Virtual Gallery Business and Economy: Arab Pal es tinian In vestment Com pany Hebron Store Jawwal Massar The Palestinian Economic Council for De vel opment and Re con struction (PECDAR) Pal es tinian Securities Ex change, Ltd. Pal es tine Development and In vestment Ltd. (PADICO) com, Paltel Group. Tatweer Information Technology & Business Solutions www., Wataniya Palestine Directories, ISPs and Por tals: Jaffa Net Hadara Al-Quds Network Masader, the Palestinian NGO Portal Palseek com, Paleye Al Buraq The Palestinian NGO Portal Government: PLO Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) PNA Ministry of Higher Edu cation Min is try of In dus try Ministry of Education Ministry of Health Government Computer Center www., Orient House Health and Mental Health: Augusta Victoria Hospital Gaza Community Mental Health Programme Ministry of Health Palestinian Counseling Center Red Crescent Society Spafford Children s Clinic UNFPA Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation Palestine Medical Council Human Rights Organisations: Al Haq Defence for Children International Palestine Section Human Rights and Good Governance Secretariat in the opt ps, LAW - The Pal es tinian Society for the Pro tection of Human Rights and the Environment The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights BADIL Women s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) Research and News: Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem JMCC PASSIA MIFTAH AMIN Al Quds Al Ayyam WAFA Palestine Wildlife Society RAM FM Ramallah on line Ramattan Studios com, Palestine Family Net Palestine Mapping Centre The Palestine Monitor The Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People OCHA- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Englishpal Ma an News Agency Tourism: Ministry of Tourism Arab Hotel Association com, Holy land Incoming Tour Operators Association Diyafa Hospitality Management Consultants Group visitpalestine Travel Agencies: Al ter native Tourism Group Atlas Aviation Awad Tourist Agency Aweidah Tours Blessed Land Travel www., Crown Tours Daher Travel Guiding Star Halabi Tours and Travel Co. Jiro Tours Mt. of Olives Tours Pioneer Links Raha Tours com, Ramallah Travel Agency United Travel Universal Tourist Agency Universities: Birzeit University An-Najjah University Al-Quds University Al-Azhar University (Gaza) Arab American University Bethlehem University Hebron University The Islamic University (Gaza) Palestine Polytechnic 94 Map Source: PalMap - GSE Copyright to GSE and PalMap Map source, designer and publisher: GSE - Good Shepherd Engineering & Computing P.O.Box 524, 8 Jamal Abdel Nasser St., Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine Tel: / Fax: (Also +972) / / 95

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50 The Last Word What Nerve! For decades now, before any presidential election in the United States, most of us Palestinians have fallen into the trap of pinning our hopes on a certain candidate, hoping that he would be the one to have the guts to exert enough pressure on Israel to yield to international law; that he would implement United Nations resolutions in regard to the question of Palestine, and would thus pave the way to the creation of the State of Palestine. I remember people saying that Jimmy Carter was a decent peanut grower from the South, and that he was not within the sphere of influence of the Jewish lobby in Washington, D.C. Well, I can say that he did prove to be a decent man, particularly after leaving office, but Palestinian hopes were dashed when the political situation actually regressed. When the Bushes came to power, it was said that they were into the oil business, so surely their personal interests would align with those of the oilproducing, rich Arab countries; assuming naturally that the latter s interests are the same as ours! But again, conditions regressed. Later, we pinned our hopes on Bill Clinton, the charming and charismatic leader who had the enthusiasm to make things better, but nothing really materialised; although if truth be told, attempts were made which I personally believe were sincere. When Barack Obama was running for president, we Palestinians were sure that he would be the man to deliver, particularly since he ran on the ticket of change. Aha, most of us said, The time has come! What a disappointment Barack Obama has been so far to us Palestinians. All indications point to the fact that with time he will deliver even less, and it looks like he will go down in Palestinian history as yet another American president who simply could not deliver; this is if we were to be kind to the man! The US veto at the United Nations Security Council on 18 February, blocking a draft resolution that denounced Israel s settlement (rather squatter) policy as an illegal obstacle to peace efforts in the Middle East, was an end at last to my naive dream and my faith in American foreign policy. I had just read a moving article by Lamya Hussain about a Palestinian living in Burj el-barajneh in Lebanon, in which Abu Mohammad, the owner of a small shop, tells the political-activist author how the love of something Palestine in his case has consumed and destroyed him. I could not but notice the similarity with America s love of Israel. Susan Rice s justification for the veto was, at best, pathetic. She claimed that the draft resolution would have angered Israel and its US supporters! To add insult to injury, the US spokesperson publicly chided President Abbas for embarrassing the US administration! Tell me, what superpower does that? The endorsement of the remaining 14 Security Council members, indeed of over 180 National Assembly member countries, are but a mere reminder that the United States is becoming more and more isolated internationally because of its tag-along, rather than leading, policy when it comes to Israel. The US government might as well declare a self-isolationist policy, as was adopted prior to War Word I, rather than be forced into one. Keep it up America, here comes China! It doesn t really take a heavyweight international think tank to tell the US administration and Congress that Israel is now a liability rather than an asset. But again, we all know that personal agendas of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate play a major role in this equation. So do not preach to the world about corruption or even human rights, America; you are no longer in a position to do so. Wadi Qana. Photo by Gabrielle Bonnville. Sani P. Meo Publisher