Previous Next

Laying of Foundation Stone for Yasser Arafat Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp (Ark of Return)

Munib R. Masri lays the foundation stone  for the Yasser Arafat Memorial Center (Ark of Return) in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, to be constructed by the Munib and Angela Masri Foundation. The date coincides with the 2004 death of Yasser Arafat, and the recent mobilization of the lawsuit demanding English recognition of their crimes committed during the Palestine Mandate, above all their central role in illegally establishing the Israeli State in Palestine.

Munib Masri remarked that the future Center will assume a leadership role, spreading awareness of Palestinian history and culture, and underline the Right of Return as the bare minimum when it comes to the Palestinian cause - pointing to the naming of the Center (Ark of Return.)

Masri recalled the historical positions of Yasser Arafat, which the laying of the Stone honors, and emphasized the importance of the Center to support the legal battle for the Palestinian cause. He further remarked that is not by coincidence that the site was chosen in Dheishe refugee camp, home to scores of victims of the Israeli Occupation.

The participants included the Mayor of Bethlehem General Kamel Hmeid and his Deputy Mohammad Taha, Central Council member Mohammad Al Lahham, Administrator of Bethlehem Dean Nasser Omar, Journalist Nasser Al Lahham, Member of the Jerusalemite National Works Authority Rassem Obeidat, Mohammad Al Jafari, and Dheishe Fateh Secretary Ahmad Odeh, among others.

Several participants offered their encouragement for the initiative, and praised Masri’s previous projects contributing to solidifying Palestinian presence in the region against Israeli policies, including his support for Education and Scientific Research, Palestinian farmers, and establishing the Quds Endowment Fund for the especially vulnerable Jerusalemites. Some attendants stressed the importance of encouraging the spirit of giving back, each according to their means and methods - a central tenet in Masri’s/the Foundation’s philosophy.

Director of the Munib and Angela Masri Foundation, Taher Al Disi stated the Foundation’s purpose: to solidify Palestinian presence and empower their resistance, and encourage their community spirit, as part of a long-term “thousand year plan.” He concluded, the Ark of Return is part of a systematic strategy that combines the Palestinian determination in achieving their rights while encouraging the nationalistic and collectively-oriented spirit.