Hamas and other Palestinians strongly condemned the Palestinian Authority for
allowing the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival to take place this
The annual festival, which opened last Thursday in Ramallah, has
drawn thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and is supported by the PA
Ministry of Culture, the Ramallah Municipality, the Swiss Organization for
Cooperation and Development and the Goethe Institute.
The festival hosts
15 local and international dance companies that will perform in Ramallah,
Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron.
The festival also includes dance workshops
and film and documentary screenings about the German choreographer Pina Bausch,
who played a major role in the development of modern dance in
The British troupe Ballet Boyz opened the festival.
families of some of the striking prisoners also criticized the PA leadership
over the dance festival. They said that the timing of the festival was an insult
to their feelings and the struggles of their sons.
Noting that the dance
festival coincided with the beginning of a hunger strike by Palestinian
prisoners in Israeli jails, Hamas leaders accused the PA of showing disrespect
for the feelings of Palestinians.
“Holding dance festivals in Ramallah at
the same time that our prisoners are on hunger strike violates the traditions
and culture of our Palestinian people,” said Hamas leader Ezat
“This is an insult to the suffering of our
Mustafa Sawwaf, a senior official with the Hamas-run Ministry
of Culture in the Gaza Strip, also lashed out at the PA for permitting the dance
festival to take place in the West Bank.
“These kind of festivals are
completely rejected by our people,” Sawwaf said. “They are not consistent with
our peoples’ values and morals.”
He added that it would have been better
had the PA government postponed the festival, especially because it coincided
with the hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners.
“Hamas supports art,
but only that which reflects the suffering of our people,” he argued. “But art
that goes against our values is unacceptable.”