In his editorial on the Picture Balata exhibition, Shai D. Bronshtein misleads readers about the situation in Balata refugee camp.
Indeed, in the opening of the piece, Mr. Bronshtein describes Balata refugee camp as “a small town in the West Bank” and says that the children were told to “document life in their small town.” Later, Balata is described as a “community established nearly 60 years ago,” and there are quotes around the word “camp,” as Bronshtein argues that because Balata contains concrete houses it cannot possibly be considered a refugee camp.
Sadly, this fact, which Bronshtein would like to use to deny the Palestinian camp dwellers’ status as refugees, is in actuality a testament to the longevity of the Palestinian refugee problem.
Mr. Bronshtein claims that the events of 1948 have “little to do with the current events in Balata,” but this minimizes both the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian refugees and the role of Israel in creating the refugee problem (as described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in his recent book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”), and in prolonging it.
April 30, 2007
The writer is a student at the AM Graduate Program of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.