25 Children from Gaza visit the West Bank for the first time

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Ghirass Cultural Center, as part of the Beit Jala Arab Society for Rehabilitation, in cooperation with the German Development Association, this week hosted 25 children from Gaza, as form of the unity between the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

11874297_914469568599205_1241816604_oThe children came from different areas in the Gaza strip, including the Rafah, Nuseirat and Bureij refugee camps, for a week-long visit.

Director of the Ghirass Center, Ibtisam sughayyer said that the activity aimed to rejoin all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank together.

The project has been planned for several years but was not technically possible because of the eight-year-old ongoing Israeli land, sea and air blockade against Gaza, since Hamas gained ruling in 2007.

Sughayyer expressed her happiness to finally have the Gaza children be able to visit the occupied West Bank and overcome the Israeli barriers and checkpoints.

The 25 children stayed at family homes in the West Bank for the week, and enjoyed several venting activities after last year’s Israeli aggression which slaughtered over 2,000 people, in addition to introductory visits and tours around Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Hebron, Tulkarem and Qalqilya.

11865088_914469581932537_861018086_oActivities also include folkloric dancing, playing, performances and choir singing.

The “Family Centers” project manager in Gaza, Iman Byouk, said that the visit will strengthen bonds between the divided Palestinian homeland, despite the apartheid walls and checkpoints, in hopes that the bondage will keep growing even after the end of the activity.

The Gaza children did not hold back the excitement of finally being in the West Bank.

Amani Zaqout from Gaza expressed happiness, but wondered “why do we keep silent on our rights the whole time?” in indication to the right of movement in one’s own land.

On the other hand, child Hazar Shami from Bethlehem said: “we waited for long time, and when the bus arrived, we ran out to welcome [the children from besieged Gaza].”

The activity will wrap up on Saturday.

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