West Bank Museum Showcases Gaza Artifacts as Symbol of Solidarity Amid Devastation

West Bank: In a museum located in the West Bank under Israeli control, artworks from Gaza are showcased as a continuous artistic expression of solidarity with the conflict-affected Palestinian region.

“This is not an exhibition,” reads the sign at the entrance to the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, near Ramallah, showcasing art and heritage from the Gaza Strip.

Alongside contemporary pieces, the works include old, traditional paintings and costumes, as well as archeological artifacts, said board member Ehab Bessaiso, a former culture minister.

He added that the museum had launched the initiative to “preserve Palestinian heritage work in Gaza, which has faced destruction due to the war.”

Fighting has raged in Gaza since 7 October 2023 when Hamas, a Palestinian Resistance Movement against the Israeli occupation, carried out an unprecedented attack southern Israel.

Gaza’s bloodiest war has devastated the coastal territory, with its cultural heritage just one of the many casualties of war.

Bessaiso said the museum had received “the works of hundreds of artists” from Gaza that had been held in West Bank universities and cultural centers and by individuals.

The display presents “the Gazan artistic scene in a new way,” which helps “to face the challenges and difficulties which artists and culture are confronting in Gaza amid the destruction and siege,” he said.

In a January report, the Palestinian Culture Ministry said 24 cultural centers in Gaza had been destroyed “in whole or in part” since the start of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks.

They include the Arab Orthodox Cultural and Social Center, the Rashad Shawa Cultural Center – which includes a theater, library and printing presses – and the Al-Sununu for Culture and Arts Association in Gaza City.

Historical buildings such as mosques, churches, the old Phoenician port and the Al-Qarara Cultural Museum have also been destroyed by Israel.

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