Palestinians voice outrage over Rawabi song festival amid Gaza deaths

Thousands of Palestinians converged on Rawabi last Saturday to attend the “Rawabi Extreme” festival, which was held under the auspices of the Palestinian branch of the XL Energy Drink Company.

October 4, 2018 04:40
2 minute read.
Palestinians voice outrage over Rawabi song festival amid Gaza deaths

Palestinian protesters wave their national flag as they gather during a demonstration at the Israel-Gaza border, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on August 10, 2018. (photo credit: SAID KHATIB / AFP)


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A song festival in the new Palestinian city of Rawabi north of Ramallah has drawn sharp criticism from Palestinians, with many expressing outrage that the event came one day after seven Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in clashes with the IDF along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Thousands of Palestinians converged on Rawabi last Saturday to attend the “Rawabi Extreme” festival, which was held under the auspices of the Palestinian branch of the XL Energy Drink Company.

Jordanian singer Aziz Maraka, the Israeli Arab Dam hip-hop group, and the App & the Apostles multi-lingual rock band from east Jerusalem and Bethlehem were part of the event, which drew thousands of young Palestinian men and women.

Critics complained about the “bad timing” of the festival because of the violence along the border a day earlier. Others pointed out that it coincided with the 18th anniversary of the start of the Second Intifada.

Critics noted that the festival also came two days before a general strike was declared by Palestinians in protest against the new Israeli Nation-State Law, amid mounting tensions over Israel’s decision to demolish the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar east of Ma’aleh Adumim, and visits by Jews to the Temple Mount during the recent Jewish holidays.

As usual, Palestinians took to social media to express their anger with the organizers of the Rawabi festival, accusing them of being oblivious to the “suffering” of their people.

Several Palestinian Facebook users posted photos of the song festival next to images of Palestinians killed and injured during last Friday’s violent demonstrations along the border.

“If they ask you about the homeland, tell them that while some people were storming the border [between the Gaza Strip and Israel], others were dancing [in Rawabi],” wrote Mustafa Ammar on Facebook.

Echoing the same sentiment, another Palestinian, Rami al-Ustaz, commented: “I’m completely not against our people being joyful, but I’m against dancing over the wounds of our oppressed people.”

Emad Odeh, a resident of the Gaza Strip, said that when he first saw the photos from the Rawabi song festival, “I thought they were from a discotheque in the US or one of the countries of the disbelievers.” He and several other Palestinians complained that the West Bank, “has become a swamp for corruption.”

Hana Gheith of Hebron said that when she saw the photos from the “disgraceful” festival, she wished that Rawabi would be struck by an earthquake.

For some Palestinians, the appearance of young women dressed in jeans and T-shirts and without head scarves at the festival was also deplorable. “These women will never enter Heaven nor will they even get to smell it,” commented Munatser Abu Ghneim on Facebook.

Several Palestinians also posted photos from Khan al-Ahmar and the Temple Mount in juxtaposition to each other to underscore the difference between the Rawabi event and what was happening at the two sites.

The pictures from the Temple Mount featured Jews touring the site, while the photos from Khan al-Ahmar showed local residents and activists protesting the decision to demolish the village.

Critics said that the Palestinian men and women having fun at Rawabi should have been dispatched to Khan al-Ahmar or the Temple Mount to participate in the protests against the demolition order and Jewish tours of the holy site.

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