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MSF exhibition sheds light on Palestinians’ life under occupation

By Dana Al Emam - Sep 26,2016 - Last updated at Sep 26,2016

AMMAN — An exhibition opened in the capital on Monday depicting the daily encounters of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams as eyewitnesses to the suffering of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

“In between wars, an immersive journey into the daily lives of Palestinians” opened at Ras Al Ain Gallery under the patronage of HRH Prince Hassan.

Visitors can walk through a succession of rooms, each featuring audio recordings, filmed testimonies and photos to re-create the everyday life of Palestinians under occupation.

Several personal stories are narrated in each room to depict the injustices of the occupation, including segregation, raids, disappearances, humiliation, arbitrary arrests, harassment, home demolitions, physical violence and siege, as well as the impact of these hardships on everyday life.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Prince Hassan highlighted MSF as a “selfless” international aid organisation that humanises reality and refrains from discrimination.

“MSF’s concept of security is based on human dignity,” he said.

Furthermore, the prince commended the organisation’s role in reducing the physical and emotional suffering of the Palestinians, adding that MSF’s involvement in several neighbouring countries helps to stabilise the region.

Prince Hassan noted that MSF’s recent agreement with Al Najah National University in Nablus to start a master’s programme in clinical psychology is a step forward in giving hope to the Palestinians.

Erwan Grillon, MSF’s head of mission in Jordan, said the exhibition aims to highlight the human cost of the occupation of Palestinian territories by creating an alternative tool to mainstream media.

“It also helps in building intimacy between audiences and the Palestinian people in an attempt to counter [the] normalisation of an unbearable situation,” said Grillon, who was formerly MSF’s head of mission in Palestine.

Some 740 people, including 384 children, have become homeless in the West Bank in recent months due to home demolitions by Israeli forces, he noted.

Speaking to The Jordan Times about challenges facing the MSF mission in delivering aid into the West Bank and Gaza, Grillon cited access difficulties in light of the separation wall and checkpoints in the West Bank.

Movement to and from Gaza requires high coordination with Israeli and Palestinian authorities, he added.

Meanwhile, it is difficult to maintain medical equipment in Gaza as some spare parts are not available, so sometimes old devices have to be used, the MSF official said.

MSF has provided assistance in the occupied Palestinian territories since 1989 and has run mental health programmes in Jenin, Hebron, Nablus and Qalqilya since 2000.

In Gaza, the organisation provides medical care, including surgery, post-operative care, specialised dressings care, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

While MSF does not currently treat war-wounded patients, it provides medical aid to low-intensity domestic accidents that occur due to the living conditions enforced by the occupation.

For example, Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are forced to use bad quality generators and fuel, which sometimes leads to incidents of severe burns, the organisation said.

Furthermore, the mental health project in the West Bank receives 300-350 new patients annually, while the project in Gaza has active records of around 5,000 patients per month.

The international exhibition is making its second stop in Amman, after showing in Paris in December 2015. The next destination will be Dubai, said Grillon.

The exhibition is open to the public until October 6.


MSF teams in the West Bank and Gaza are available at the gallery to shed light on what they have witnessed and experienced in Palestine.

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