Palestinian Museum’s First Exhibit Says It All About Palestinian Identity

Remember the $24 million Palestinian Museum that opened last year, somewhat appropriately empty of exhibits?

Over a year later, they finally have their first exhibit – an exhibit also symbolic of the palestinian identity.


The Palestinian Museum launched its inaugural exhibition Saturday with a highly political art show focusing on Israel’s occupation of east Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem Lives” opens to the public on Sunday in the university town of Birzeit near Ramallah, the Palestinian political capital in the occupied West Bank.

A press preview on Saturday of “Jerusalem Lives” displayed works ranging from the abstract to the overtly political.

In one room, a four-wall photographic panorama surrounds visitors with images of the ring of Israeli settlements around Jerusalem.

In the garden, a green staircase climbs skywards from inside a mesh cage, seemingly referencing the confinement of the Palestinians by Israel’s occupation.

But the symbolism of the staircase, coming to a dead end in mid-air, is open to interpretation.


Curator Reem Fadda said the collection was meant to spark discussion of “cultural resistance” to the policies of Israel, which occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied in the same year but not annexed, and their occupants need special—and hard-to-get—Israeli permits to visit Jerusalem.

“The aim of this exhibition was really to provide a way for us to think in a creative way how can we resist this hegemony of Israeli occupation that is facing the city of Jerusalem through a cultural stance,” she told AFP in English.

Another goal of the show, she said, was to “present Jerusalem to the people of Palestine that can’t go to Jerusalem”.

In other words, they could not even open with an exhibit representing their identity. Everything is about opposing Israel’s history.

Here is a description of the exhibit from the museum website.

Jerusalem Lives (Tahya Al Quds), August 2017

In light of what Jerusalem continues to face from exclusionary policies enforced by militarization and closure, the Palestinian Museum has created a multi-faceted project and exhibition, Jerusalem Lives, which aims to focus on the living aspect of the city and support its people. The exhibition attempts to examine the city of Jerusalem as a case study metaphorically representing globalization and its failures, and find answers to inspire a better future. Veering away from clichés, the exhibition will expose the neoliberal colonial and imperial challenges imposed by the Israeli occupation that Jerusalem and its people are facing. Could the title Tahya Al Quds transform from a mere slogan to presenting real content and support for life in the city? What are the stories of collective resistance? How do we make Jerusalem live? Four chapters explore the concept, beginning with a multidisciplinary exhibition displaying audiovisual materials that demonstrate the emanation, effects and limitations of globalization in the city of Jerusalem. Commissioned or refabricated site-specific artworks by 18 Palestinian, Arab and international artists form the second chapter, in the grounds and gardens of the Palestinian Museum. In the third chapter, the public programme is aimed at supporting civic and nongovernmental associations in the city that have adopted an enduring methodology of collective struggle. Developed at the museum’s initiative on the basis of a working relationship and stimulating dialogue with various local organizations, the inaugural exhibition of the Palestinian Museum will provide a platform for a group of fellow institutions to undertake and broaden a series of long-term compelling projects. The fourth chapter, the Jerusalem Lives publication focuses on knowledge production as a frontier of resistance. In partnership with the journal Jerusalem Quarterly, a special edition celebrating the lives of renowned Jerusalemites has been produced to anchor the editorial component of this multilayered curatorial project.

Lots of big words that seem to be trying to hide fact this is just another piece of anti-Israel propaganda and nothing more.

A very expensive piece of anti-Israel propaganda.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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