The International Crafts Council has officially announced Beit Sahour town as a “ Global Handicraft City” with a specialism in the olive wood profession.
This announcement came after the initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to nominate the city of Beit Sahour with the International Crafts Council to obtain this title through partnership and full cooperation with the Municipality of Beit Sahour. A joint committee from the Ministry, the Bethlehem Governorate, the Chamber of Commerce, the Union of Crafts and Traditional Industries, the Cooperative Association for Holy Land Industries and Bethlehem Fairtrade Artisans, started the process of preparing to submit a candidacy application with the Council in February 2019.
This was followed by an international jury delegated by the International Crafts Council who conducted a field evaluation round of arbitration for the city of Beit Sahour in February 2020 to see the traditional handicraft that had been nurtured in the region for many generations, to explore other attributes that could help qualify for the prestigious title and to look closely at the submission. A full evaluation report was submitted and the title was obtained on June 12, 2020.
On this special occasion, Mayor of Beit Sahour, Jihad Khair, said that Municipal Council members have expressed their overwhelming happiness for this Palestinian National achievement through this pioneering project, as for the second time a Palestinian city won this international title after the city of Hebron in 2016.
Khair added that this title will enhance the steadfastness of the owners of traditional crafts, especially the olive wood craft, as it revitalizes the tourism sector in the city, in addition to the opportunities that are expected to be available through the International Crafts Council, which will also provide an integrated regulatory framework supporting the traditional crafts sector by the World Council and all its member states.
Beit Sahour municipality emphasized the importance of the traditional handicraft sector to protect the Palestinian identity and the need to work to preserve it and enhance its role in the development of the city and the development of the tourism sector and attaches great importance to this within a holistic vision of what the city of Beit Sahour offers in the tourism and heritage sectors.