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Jerusalem cinema reopens after 26 years
Published Tuesday 28/02/2012 (updated) 02/03/2012 09:54
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Movie-goers attend a screening at Al-Quds cinema, newly refurbished after
26 years out of use. (MaanImages/HO)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A five-minute walk from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, Al-Quds cinema has resumed screening movies after a 26-year halt following the outbreak of the first intifada.

The 81-seat theater was packed out on Saturday, with viewers squeezing into the staircases to watch two Palestinian movies directed by Enas Muthaffar and Ahmad Habash.

Al-Quds, the name of Jerusalem in Arabic, is one of three movie theaters in the holy city that shut down when the intifada broke out. In 2007, Palestinian non-profit Yabous Cultural Center started refurbishing the Al-Quds building.

The cinema on al-Zahra street was founded in 1950. When the uprising against Israeli occupation started in 1987, the political climate kept viewers from movie theaters across Jerusalem and the West Bank, and many closed in dire financial straits.

The Yabous foundation, established in 1995, decides to restore the site and turn it into a cultural center to revitalize Palestinian artistic life in the city.

Large numbers of Jerusalem-based Palestinian cultural and political organizations have shut down after the city was cut off from Palestinians in the West Bank by Israel's separation wall and permit system, and Israeli authorities exercised control over allocation of funds and political activities in the city.

Israel annexed the eastern sector of Jerusalem, the intended capital of a future Palestinian state, after a 1967 war. It's control over Jerusalem has never been recognized by the international community.

"The idea behind refurbishing the Al-Quds movie theater and turning it to a cultural center is to strengthen Palestinian cultural, patriotic and human values and to maintain a local, Arab and international dimension to the city," Yabous foundation director Rania Elias told Ma'an.

The foundation had serious financial troubles before they were able to complete the work, and followed Israel's rigorous planning regulations to safeguard the building from demolition threats, she added.

Al-Quds now has three halls: the Morocco hall, paying tribute to Moroccan funding, will host exhibitions, music and dance, the Faisal al-Husseini hall, which still has some work pending but will seat 420, and the movie theater.

After a lapse of 26 years, viewers can now watch Arab and international films, bring children to special youth screenings, and anticipate festivals and education programs, in the hoped-for capital city of Palestine.
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1 ) Philly / Sweden
28/02/2012 14:02
Lovely! A must go to when me and my girlfriend visit Jerusalem, Palestine in september!

2 ) Mel / USA
28/02/2012 15:49
That's great! Light up the screen,showing a better past, to the Arab&Jewish children,for the future.Show them,& the adults,the old documentary films, of how Muslims,Christians&Jews lived equally,pluralistically,worked as partners,neighbors on the land,intermarried even.Before radical Euro-Soviet Zionism invaded/marched in,like Nazi's into Poland,Czechoslovakia etc & built high walls to hide the reality of exceptionalism. No propaganda films please.Then,end the Israeli military OCCUPATION!

3 ) Shalom / USA
29/02/2012 07:19
"Philly", you and your Swedish girlfriend are always welcome to visit Israel. Go to Israeli Consulate to obtain visa before buying tickets. I'm sure your family in West Bank will be amazed by that Swedish beauty you brought with you to "show and tell." "Mel", I know it hurts losing touch with your cousins in West Bank. Hey, don't be afraid. As an Arab American, you can obtain Israeli visa and fly to Tel-Aviv, then get a taxi to Ramallah.

4 ) Brat / Israel
29/02/2012 09:41
occupation is there no body can deny that and that's why the cinema was closed all this time, peace will never be with people like you

5 ) ian / australia
01/03/2012 01:58
#3 And your point is? That post was just weird!

6 ) Ismail and Isaac / Palestine
02/03/2012 14:01
To # 5 re: #3, Hasbara comes in many forms.

7 ) Blk / Usa
03/03/2012 06:40
I understood his point. It was obvious @5:Phily is a big talker about "Palestine"but the reality is not Palestine, the reality is Israel and that is the only way to visit. That is no propaganda, you have to get an Israeli visa. Phily thinks he is scoring big points by stating "Jerusalem, Palestine." big deal. Shalom tweaked him very nicely

8 ) ian / australia
04/03/2012 04:38
To #7 "Shalom tweaked him very nicely" Well, I suppose...if you don't find the bit about the "Swedish beauty" as "show and tell" for the "family in the West Bank" (huh?) all a bit weird and creepy, not to mention incomprehensible! If the problem was just that Philly got the address wrong, ie. Jerusalem, Palestine, which I gather you think should be Jerusalem, Israel...well, he could have just said so! But then you gotta admit, the really good stuff: Old City/Haram/Dome/al-Aqsa/Kotel/tunnels

9 ) ian / australia
04/03/2012 04:40
(contd.) Holy Sepulchre/Gethsemane/Garden Tomb etc. etc. etc. AND the old cinema on al-Zahra Street is ALL in EAST Jerusalem which is technically NOT Israel but OPT! So "Jerusalem, Palestine" is not altogether wrong! Is it? And yes, of course you need an Israeli visa and of course if you fly you arrive at Ben Gurion airport...so again, the point is? To Philly #1 Have a great trip. It's a beautiful place...wherever it is!
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