Bethlehem / PNN /
For the third consecutive year, with the aim of bringing joy to the hearts of Palestinians on the occasion of the blessed Eid al-Adha, the activities of the Third Return Bazaar have kicked off in the streets and squares at the entrance of Aida refugee camp. The key to return is amidst a popular turnout for a bazaar that carries the flavor of Palestinian resistance, with messages emphasizing our people's determination to continue their lives and struggle on one hand, and on the other hand, to strengthen the resilient economy.
The Bazaar opened with the Palestinian national anthem and the presence of representatives from the Social Youth Center, the Popular Committee for Services, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bethlehem Governorate, alongside hundreds of citizens. The events kicked off with an artistic festival and theatrical performances.
Bassam Abu Sarrour, a member of the Popular Committee for Services in the camp, stated that the bazaar represents a national event carrying many national messages, including messages of resilience and challenge. It is also a message of the right of return, reminding the world that our people are steadfast in their commitment to return and that the camp residents are resolute in asserting their rights.
Abu Sarrour emphasized that the bazaar is an opportunity to enhance the resilience of the camp residents by promoting their national economy. It provides an open opportunity for everyone to market their goods and handicrafts, while also promoting national products and combating occupation goods.
He added that the third message conveyed by the bazaar is a confirmation that our people love life and possess a culture of living. On this occasion of Eid al-Adha, it is an opportunity to create an atmosphere of joy and happiness among the camp's children, women, and elderly.
Abu Sarrour, on behalf of the Popular Committee, expressed sincere gratitude to Aida Youth Center for their creativity, dedication, and achievements, both in this bazaar and in the field of sports. He wished the football team further progress, as they have achieved consecutive successes, and acknowledged the fruits of the Youth Center's efforts in serving our people and our national cause, particularly the right of return.
Munther Amireh, the head of Aida Social Youth Center, stated in an interview with Palestine News Network (PNN) that this bazaar carries economic, political, social, and national messages. It is an occasion to give small business owners the opportunity to market their products. It also provides a chance for our children and families to celebrate the holiday through cultural and artistic activities, including theatrical performances and national songs.
Amireh emphasized that the festival carries an important national dimension from the heart of the camp, affirming the refugees' steadfastness in their rights, especially the right of return. This time, it is manifested through the joy of the holiday, which counters the ongoing 75 years of continuous catastrophe (Nakba).
The bazaar, which lasts for two days, has been prepared over the past few weeks, with the participation of over fifty shops representing local Palestinian industries. The aim is to promote Palestinian national products on one hand and boost women's economic participation on the other.
Sajida Alan, a member of the organizing committees for the Third Return Bazaar, expressed her hopes of enhancing their successes and accumulating them. Each year, the number of participants increases, and the bazaar's activities begin with the participation of fifty project owners, representing a message of success.
During her conversation with Palestine News Network correspondent, she added that the number of participants in the bazaar on its first day exceeded fifty, and this increase represents a success story for the bazaar's idea, which aims to support small projects with the goal of reducing unemployment rates in the camp, even for a limited time. The bazaar gives hope to the youth and small business owners to persevere and continue developing their work.
She pointed out that the bazaar seeks to create a safe space for children in the camp, allowing them to feel the holiday atmosphere away from the daily intrusions of the occupation, which carries out invasions, shootings, and gas attacks towards the camp residents. The refugees here represent a story of resilience and a quest for a successful future.
The bazaar witnessed a significant turnout since its opening hours, attracting thousands of citizens and foreign tourists who emphasized the importance of these popular events that reflect the Palestinian reality and enhance the Palestinian national message.
Elias Azouti, a Belgian tourist of Moroccan origin, stated that he did not expect to visit and see a bazaar of Palestinian products when he decided to visit the camp as part of a promotional and informational program about the Palestinian issue. He was surprised by this bazaar, where he saw joyful people celebrating the holiday in a positive atmosphere, and everyone was happy and welcoming in dealing with tourists. He tasted the food and bought clothes bearing the map of Palestine. There were exceptional products, and he invited everyone to visit the camp.
Al-Azouti, a Belgian tourist of Moroccan origin, expressed his happiness with such an annual bazaar that allows citizens to become acquainted with the products and market them.
The artisans and craftsmen who participated in the bazaar from various areas of Bethlehem Governorate expressed their happiness with such an annual event. They highlighted the importance of the bazaar in allowing citizens to become acquainted with their products and market them effectively. The opportunity to showcase their craftsmanship and reach a wider audience brought them joy and satisfaction.
Nawal Al-Iraq, the founder of Al-Anwar project for natural soap and creams, said, "I am delighted to participate in this bazaar, as it provides an opportunity for citizens to discover our products and promote them."
Jamila Sabah, the owner of the Monqoshti project for Palestinian traditional cuisine, shared her joy in being part of the bazaar.
Officials who attended the event, including a delegation from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bethlehem Governorate, expressed their appreciation for such marketing activities. They acknowledged that these activities contribute to enhancing the local economy for small business owners on one hand and bringing joy to the hearts of citizens during occasions and holidays on the other.
Dr. Samir Hazbun, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bethlehem Governorate, stated that his tour of the Third Return Bazaar was an opportunity to learn about handmade artisanal products that deserve to be known by people. He emphasized the importance of developing a dedicated section for products made at home and working on their marketing.
Hazbun emphasized his happiness with these atmospheres and efforts to develop and enhance the Palestinian industry, particularly the housing industry, which is known for its high quality. He stressed the importance of citizens engaging with the owners of these crafts and purchasing them directly to strengthen the Palestinian families' economy.
The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bethlehem Governorate expressed his hope for the opportunity to collaborate with the Aida Youth Center in the fourth bazaar next year, where the Chamber can be a partner in promoting its ideas and goals. He expressed his happiness with participating in and touring the bazaar.
However, every year it evolves and expands through the efforts of its organizers on one hand, and the increasing interest from citizens and project owners on the other hand.
This repot was reported by Manjad Jadou for Palestine News Network (PNN) from the Return Bazaar in Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem.