Music in Jenin

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Please check
🙂 Ruach Tova (Good Spirit)
Orchestra: Strings of Freedom organized and conducted by Wafa Younis, who is from the Arab village of Ara in Israel.
Sponsor: Israeli billionaire Shari Arison, whose Ruach Tova (Good Spirit) organization sponsored a national “Good Deeds Day” throughout Israel.

Characters
1. Zakariya Zubeidi: Head of Fatah in the camp
2. Radi Asiba: Security official
3. Adnan al-Hinda: Director of the Popular Committee for Services in the Jenin refugee camp
4. Ramzi Fayad: A spokesman for various political factions in the Jenin refugee camp
5. JIWON: I had to delete part of article to protect Palestinian XYZ. I worry… just in case.

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PART of MESSAGES from JIWON to ONE PALESTINE

APRIL 2, 2009
DEAR YOU-KNOW-WHO IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE,

PA expels founder of Jenin youth orchestra to Israel Apr 2, 2009 / By Haaretz
(…) On Thursday PA officials said they and Fatah were under heavy pressure from Hamas members in the camp as a result. (…) who was interviewed by Arab and foreign news outlets, told Haaretz that she would appeal directly to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “I’ll ask him to appoint a genuine commission of inquiry that will hear the children and their parents, too,” she said. “I will wait until the issue is thrashed out because I cannot continue my work with these interruptions.” (…)

JIWON:
It was basically part of my present writing, regarding Holocaust Education in Palestine, but I am not sure if I can finish it in time. (I promise that this is my LAST one.) So I’m sending this part first. While collecting articles, it was easy to smell the atmosphere in this Jenin Music Group; how much the Palestinian youngsters, their family and neighbors have been welcomed this Israeli Arab female musician as their emotional leader. And this is why I heartily advise her to return to her Jenin group at the RIGHT moment without causing more mess through Palestinian President Abbas.

This time, President Abbas is welcome to do anything he wants… on this issue. Teaching Holocaust is important and necessary, but I don’t think it is a good idea to teach this Jewish history through PEACE-event. It should be taught in the opposite way, and I don’t think it is a right time for this… all thanks to Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. At first, I’ve never doubted that the Organizer received Permission from the Government, either from Hamas or from PA, for this NORMALIZATION activity, then I couldn’t believe my eyes. But I still believe that this female Israeli Arab musician, Wafa Younis, will understand and respect any decision from the Palestinian government, if she fits my analysis.

Sincerely yours,
JIWON

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PA expels founder of Jenin youth orchestra to Israel Apr 2, 2009 / By Haaretz, Yoav Stern

Wafa Younis, a musician from northern Israel who founded a youth orchestra in the Jenin refugee camp, was arrested there on Tuesday by Fatah militants and sent back to Israel from the West Bank. Last week the orchestra played for Holocaust survivors and elderly Arabs in Holon, news that ignited passions in Jenin.

On Tuesday, Younis had been meeting with students’ mothers when about four armed men in civilian clothing surrounded her. The militants were led by Zakariya Zubeidi, head of Fatah in the camp, who demanded that Younis go with him in his car to the camp’s police station.
“The police chief, who is familiar with my activities, said he would prefer that I leave because those are the instructions regarding anyone with an Israeli identification card,” Younis told Haaretz Thursday.
“Zubeidi offered a hudna, where we would suspend our activities for a time, and I agreed. I’ll return to Jenin at the right moment because the children are waiting for me, because the community is waiting for me. And if I can’t teach them in their classroom I’ll teach them in the center I founded in A’ara [where she lives].”

Younis’ work in the camp has made her a household name there. After teaching more than a dozen schoolchildren to play the violin, oud, drums and other instruments, she arranged performances in Israel for the orchestra, Strings of Freedom. A year ago it played in A’ara for the families of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Israeli soldiers who were abducted to Lebanon, and of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

On Thursday PA officials said they and Fatah were under heavy pressure from Hamas members in the camp as a result.
“On the Internet there are pictures of the children under photos of the Israeli prisoners, and they performed for Holocaust survivors,” one Fatah official said. “Hamas accused us of normalization activities, of identifying with the enemy, so we were forced to expel Younis. The subject is now closed.”

Younis, who was interviewed by Arab and foreign news outlets Thursday, told Haaretz that she would appeal directly to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “I’ll ask him to appoint a genuine commission of inquiry that will hear the children and their parents, too,” she said. “I will wait until the issue is thrashed out because I cannot continue my work with these interruptions.”

Palestinian conductor banned from Jenin after playing for Holocaust survivors Mar 31, 2009 / By Haaretz, The Associated Press

The head of a Palestinian youth orchestra who set off an uproar by performing a concert for Holocaust survivors in Israel was blocked Tuesday from entering a West Bank refugee camp because of concerns for her safety, a local official said.
Security official Radi Asiba said the life of the orchestra conductor, Wafa Younis, would have been at risk if she remained in the area of the Jenin refugee camp.

Younis, an Arab woman from Israel, led a small orchestra for Palestinian youths in the hardscrabble camp. But she fell out of favor with residents after taking the orchestra to play for the Holocaust survivors last week.
“When Younis tried to enter the camp on Tuesday, she was halted by a prominent local leader,” Asiba said. “We informed her that she is forbidden from entering Jenin because her presence causes tensions,” he said.
Younis struck a sensitive nerve. Many Palestinians are reluctant to acknowledge Jewish historical suffering because of concerns that it weakens their own claims to victimhood and to the land. Ignorance and even denial of the Nazi genocide during World War II are common in Palestinian society.

Parents said they were not told their children would perform for the Holocaust survivors.
Residents of the Jenin camp are descendants of the some 700,000 Palestinians who either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war that followed Israel’s creation, an event Arabs call the Naqba, or catastrophe.

They said they were angry with Younis because their children had performed for Holocaust survivors while Israel had not acknowledged the suffering caused to them.

Younis was not available for comment on Tuesday but earlier said she only meant to spread goodwill through the concert.
On Sunday, camp officials boarded up Younis’ rehearsal studio and confiscated the orchestra’s music instruments: an electronic keyboard, a few kamanjas – an Arab instrument that looks like a violin – and some small drums.
Younis established the Strings of Freedom orchestra around three years ago in the Jenin refugee camp.

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PA dismantles W. Bank youth orchestra Mar. 29, 2009 / By Jerusalem Post, khaled abu toameh and AP

Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.

Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a “political issue” and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.
He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up.
On Saturday, The Jerusalem Post found that leaders and representatives of the Jenin refugee camp condemned the participation of Palestinian teenagers from the camp in a concert honoring Holocaust survivors in Holon last week.

The 13 Palestinian musicians, aged 11 to 18, are members of the Palestinian orchestra Strings of Freedom that is based in the refugee camp.
The concert was held at the Holocaust Survivors’ Center as part of “Good Deeds Day,” an annual event organized by an organization belonging to Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.
The event drew strong condemnations from refugee camp leaders and political activists, who accused the organizers of exploiting the children for “political purposes.”

Adnan al-Hinda, director of the Popular Committee for Services in the Jenin refugee camp, said that the participation of the children in the concert was a “dangerous matter” because it was directed against the cultural and national identity of the Palestinians.
He accused “suspicious elements” of being behind the Holon event, saying they were seeking to “impact the national culture of the young generation and cast doubt about the heroism and resistance of the residents of the camp during the Israeli invasion in April 2002.”
Hindi claimed that the organizers “misled” the children by promising to take them on a free trip to Israel and teach them music.

Ramzi Fayad, a spokesman for various political factions in the Jenin refugee camp, also condemned the participation of the teenagers in the Holocaust event, saying all the groups were strongly opposed to any form of normalization with Israel.
“There can be no normalization while Israel is continuing to perpetrate massacres against our people,” he said.

Leaflets distributed in the Jenin area over the weekend also attacked the event and accused the organizers of exploiting the children. The leaflets also warned the Palestinians against participating in similar events in the future.

Sources in the camp said that the political factions in Jenin have also decided to ban an Israeli Arab woman who helped organize the event from entering the city.
Fatah activists in the city also filed a complaint with the Palestinian Police against the woman under the pretext that she had misled the children by taking them to the Holocaust event. The activists also sealed an apartment that had been rented out to the woman in the refugee camp.
The youths said their conductor, Wafa Younis, 50, of the Arab village of Ara in the Triangle, tried to explain to them who the elderly people at the event were, but chaos on the bus prevented them from listening.
Some 30 elderly survivors gathered in the center’s hall as teenage boys and girls filed in 30 minutes late – delayed at an IDF checkpoint outside their town, they later explained.
The encounter began with an Arabic song, “We sing for peace,” and was followed by two musical pieces with violins and Arabic drums, as well as an impromptu song in Hebrew by two in the audience.
The encounter was not devoid of politics. Younis dedicated a song to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
AP contributed to this report

Palestinian youth orchestra disbanded over concert for Holocaust survivors Mar 29, 2009 / By Haaretz

Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.
Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a political issue and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.
He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up.
“She exploited the children,” said Hindi, the head of the camp’s popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. “She will be forbidden from doing any activities…. We have to protect our children and our community.”

The move highlights the sensitivity of many Palestinians over acknowledging Jewish suffering, fearing it would weaken their own historical grievances against Israel.
“The Holocaust happened, but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves,” Hindi said. “We lost our land, and we were forced to flee and we’ve lived in refugee camps for the past 50 years.”

Six million Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II, and hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors emigrated to Israel after the war.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war that followed Israel’s creation – an event known by Palestinians as their Naqba, or catastrophe.

Kaynan Rabino, director of Ruach Tova, or Good Spirit, the charity that organized the event, said he was disappointed to hear about the reaction in Jenin.
“They approached us and volunteered to play. Wafa knew the orchestra would play before Holocaust survivors,” he said. “We wanted to bring people’s hearts closer together and if they are against that then that’s a real shame.”

Hindi said Palestinians – especially in his hardscrabble cinder block refugee camp – had suffered at the hands of Israel and demanded their grievances be acknowledged first.

The refugee camp in the northern West Bank was the scene of a deadly April 2002 battle where 23 Israeli soldiers were killed, alongside 53 Palestinian militants and civilians, in several days of battle. The clash destroyed swathes of the refugee camp.
The camp’s residents are descendants of Palestinians who were displaced during Israel’s war of independence.

The youths, aged 11 to 18, of the modest orchestra performed a goodwill concert for elderly survivors in the Israeli town of Holon Wednesday.
The event, held at the Holocaust Survivors Center in the central Israeli town, was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event run by an organization connected to billionaire Shari Arison, Israel’s richest woman.
Hindi said the children’s parents were not aware that the orchestra would play for Holocaust survivors.
Younis was not immediately available for comment Sunday. But as the controversy erupted over the weekend, she said Saturday that her intention was purely to perform music. “We didn’t do anything wrong,” she said.
At last Wednesday’s performance, most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank, a rare sight in Israel these days. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide – or even what the Holocaust was.

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Jenin Journal: Palestinians Serenade Survivors in Israel March 26, 2009 / By New York Times, ISABEL KERSHNER

HOLON, Israel — For just over an hour on Wednesday, a club for elderly Holocaust survivors on a side street in this suburban town south of Tel Aviv came alive with an encounter of an extraordinary kind.
A youth orchestra came to play for the elderly Israelis, a good turn that might pass in other countries as routine. In this case, though, the entertainers were Palestinians, a group of musicians 12 to 17 years old from the Jenin refugee camp, once a notorious hotbed of militancy and violence in the northern reaches of the West Bank.
Holocaust survivors and descendants of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war would make bizarre companions at the best of times, but the Jenin camp strikes a particular note of discord.
The capital of suicide bombers to the Israelis and a symbol of resistance to the Palestinians, it was the scene of a bloody battle between advancing Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in 2002. Four years later, a young Israeli man from Holon was killed in one of the last suicide attacks in Israel, when a Palestinian from Jenin blew himself up in a restaurant in Tel Aviv.
Adding to the dissonance, one of Jenin’s militant leaders in the second intifada was commonly known as Hitler, a nickname he had answered to since his teens.

Yet for a while on Wednesday, the politics of the conflict were put aside. The youths scratched at their violins and the Holocaust survivors clapped along, trying to keep up with the changing rhythms of the darbouka drums.
“We are here to play,” Wafaa Younis, 51, the Israeli Arab orchestra director, told the rapt audience. “I do not believe in politicians, only musicians and these children.”

Any potential awkwardness may have

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