Zajel  Hosts Delegation from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign of Scotland

25/6/2005

A delegation from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign of Scotland visited Nablus and the university; the delegation was hosted by Zajel Youth Exchange Program of the Public Relations Department. The visit started with a tour of the old campus of the university, where the delegation members were introduced to the different university faculties and departments and the Voice of An-Najah, the university's Radio Station. They met Mr. Ayman Al-Nimer, Director of the Station, who gave a brief presentation about the station, its establishment almost two years ago and the difficulties it faces in widening its broadcast all over the Palestinian Territories. Delegates asked some questions relating to Israeli interferences in Palestinian media. Mr. Nimer gave some examples of the local radio and TV stations being targeted or destroyed by the Israeli Army during invasions under the excuse of incitement; he explained the balanced policy they are trying to use to avoid any direct confrontation with the Israelis.

The delegation met Prof. Rami Hamdallah, the University President, who gave a brief presentation about the university, its development and the different courses it has recently started. He also discussed Scottish-Palestinian relationships and talked about the co-operation he had recently secured with Dundee University; this came as a renewing of the relations between Nablus and An-Najah on one side and Dundee city and Dundee University on the other. The delegation discussed with Prof. Hamdallah the situation Palestinian graduates face after finishing their studies and how difficult it is to find jobs within their fields.

A presentation on Zajel Youth Exchange Program and the Media Unit was given to introduce the group to the efforts made by the program to overcome the negative image and stereotypes spread by the western media about the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people. The Scots expressed their admiration for the interesting projects Zajel has been doing and expressed their will to continue their co-operation; they discussed the boycott of British Academics on Israeli universities and how this policy may be used to apply some pressure on the Israeli government to put an end to the constant Israeli violations.

The tour then continued onto the university's new campus where the delegation got to see the now completed fine Arts building, they also visited the theater that will soon be finished and the other buildings where some colleges including engineering and pharmacy will be moved. The study visit then moved onto the old city of Nablus in the company of Zajel local volunteers; the delegation saw the ruins of some buildings destroyed by Israeli troops in addition to some old houses that form the cultural and historical treasure of the city, some old traditional shops, a soap factory and the workshop of Engineering Naseer Aaraft. Here at the workshop, renovations were being made to the old building, that was originally a soap factory, with the aim of reconstructing the place to establish a cultural center for the children of the old city.

Zajel Volunteers then accompanied the delegation to Balata Refugee Camp where they visited Yafa Cultural Center. Mr. Tayseer Nasrallah, member of the Palestinian National Council, talked about the center, its work in the camp and talked about the delegation of Balata children that is going to visit Edinburgh and perform a play there. The tour in Balata continued by visiting four of the eye-witnesses to the Nakba (1948 Catastrophe), where the elders told their stories and some of their memories of their original towns in the 1948 lands that later became Israel.