Festival Programme 2016

The 4th Belfast Palestine Arts Festival opens on Sunday the 24th July and runs to the 9th August.

The festival features a diverse range of compelling and thought-provoking events, films and exhibitions.


Sunday 24th July, Festival Launch

Traditional Dabka Dance & Discussions.

Time:  4:00 pm

Venue: Crescent Arts Centre

Lajee Dabke Dance Troupe

Lajee Center’s young dance group have been performing since 2002 across Palestine and internationally. Dabke is a Palestinian traditional dance, commonly performed at weddings and cultural events with varying styles. Palestinian dabke has become an intrinsic part of the Palestinian struggle, where music and dance are used to communicate ideas about Palestinian life, rights, land and freedom. It transcends its cultural arts tradition to a performance of Palestinian struggle and resistance. Lajee’s dance group will perform an hour long show incorporating music and styles from all parts of Palestine. The majority of dancers started as children, attending lessons within Lajee, and have developed and grown into a talented, confident group in their early 20s, now teaching dabke to younger children in the centre.

Lajee Center is a grassroots creative community centre in the heart of Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, Palestine. ‘Lajee’ means refugee in Arabic. Aida Refugee Camp, where Lajee Center is based, is surrounded on three sides by the apartheid wall and is under constant Israeli military surveillance and control, and experiences daily attacks. Established in 2001 by a group of young people, Lajee Center has grown within the community and provides a dynamic space for education, community engagement, youth empowerment and social development. Central to Lajee’s work in the community is the protection, development and investment in Palestinian refugee youth and the rights of all Palestinians. The Center runs projects and courses on the arts, human rights, refugee rights and democracy education, photography and film, dabke dance training, music, English language and Palestinian culture and history. The activities programme aims to provide youth with a key to their future, and the conviction that they themselves are initiators of change. For more information please visit lajee.org

Free Admission

Facebook events page https://www.facebook.com/events/1372509849430768/

                                                                                                      Tuesday 26th July 

Resist to Exist Photographic Exhibition + (Film Screening)

Time:  7:30 pm

Venue: Conway Mill, Belfast

0 (6)

Aida Refugee Camp, located in the city of Bethlehem has around 5,500 inhabitants, refugees from 27 separate villages across historic Palestine.

During the Second Intifada, Aida Camp suffered a great deal from daily invasions by the Israeli military. Many things were happening in the camp but it was not documented because people were not able to take photographs or film, and the media overlooked most things. In 2005 I learned how to use cameras and practised taking photographs until 2009. I began to exhibit my work in Palestine and internationally and make films about different aspects affecting people in the camp. Now I am the Director of the Arts and Media Unit in Lajee Center and teach children how to produce short story films and take photographs. As a Palestinian it is very difficult to cover the Israeli abuses and what is going during the clashes in the camp because we do not have the right or freedom, many Palestinian journalists have been shot or killed because they are documenting what is happening. In 2013 I was shot in the face with a steel bullet covered with 1mm of rubber, while on the balcony of Lajee Center, taking photos of the soldiers entering the camp and shooting at the children and youth.

Every year I think about making photography exhibitions not only about occupation, but I cannot. When the 2014 war started in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the West Bank, especially in Aida Camp, were watching the bombings and the killings of Palestinians on television. After the second day of the war the people of the camp went to the streets and started demonstrating, clashing and protesting against the killings and the impunity of the Israeli army. There were clashes every day in the camp, which continued from July 2014 until the beginning of 2015. The soldiers suppressed the protests, shooting more than 500 tear gas canisters a day, shooting plastic, rubber and live bullets, throwing sound bombs and injuring more than 100 people of all ages. During the nights, more than 100 soldiers would occupy the camp, raiding houses, arresting children and youth.

In October 2015, another wave of violence started across all Historic Palestine, and clashes broke out again in Aida Camp. At the beginning of October, the Israeli forces killed Abdelrahman Obeidallah, 13 years old, with a bullet to his chest. Not long after, in January 2016, 21-year old Srour Abu Srour, from Aida was also killed by the Israeli army in Bethlehem. During this time three other youth from Bethlehem were killed by the Israeli forces, and over 200 Palestinians in total across all Palestine. Since October until today, clashes and incursions by the Israeli army have been common occurrence in Aida camp, and several youth have been arrested during night raids.

Mohammad Alazza (2016)

Free Admission

Facebook events page https://www.facebook.com/events/1108674732525438/

                                                                                              Saturday 30th July

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land  (Film Screening)

Time: 4:00 pm

Venue: Sunflower Bar, Belfast


“Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites–oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others–work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how–through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel’s PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.

Interviewees include Seth Ackerman, Mjr. Stav Adivi, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Neve Gordon, Toufic Haddad, Sam Husseini, Hussein Ibish, Robert Jensen, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Karen Pfeifer, Alisa Solomon, and Gila Svirsky.”

Free Admission

Facebook events page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1781096672126044/




Tuesday 2nd August

A Window into Gaza – Ahmed Salama (Photographic Exhibition)

Time: 7:00 pm

Venue: Conway Mill, Belfast


Ahmed Salama is a Photojournalist from Gaza. Ahmed has been capturing images of life through his camera lens for the last four years and has won several awards including Youth photographer 2015 PSA and JGS 2015.

He has published two books Children of Gaza and Bedouins Between Past and Present.

Free Admission

Facebook events page https://www.facebook.com/events/1729129597335512/




                                                                                                    Tuesday 2nd August

Tears of Gaza (Film Screening)

Time: 7:30 pm

Venue: Conway Mill, Belfast



Disturbing, powerful and emotionally devastating, Tears of Gaza is less a conventional documentary than a record–presented with minimal gloss – of the 2008 to 2009 bombing of Gaza by the Israeli military. Photographed by several Palestinian cameramen both during and after the offensive, this powerful film by director Vibeke Løkkeberg focuses on the impact of the attacks on the civilian population.

Free Admission

Facebook events page https://www.facebook.com/events/907115176082740/



Thursday 9th August

The Art of Resistance 

Time: 8:00 pm

Venue: Conway Mill, Belfast.

Facebook events page  https://www.facebook.com/events/1777322605812659/