Pictures: the occupation attempts to obstruct the march of “I Love You Silwan” summer camp
July 22, 2016

The occupation Special Forces attempted on Friday afternoon to obstruct the march of “I Love You Silwan 10” summer camp in Silwan.

Majd Gheith, director of the summer camp which is organized by Madaa Silwan Creative Center, explained that Special Forces personnel were deployed in Wadi Hilweh Street and along the route of the march which included nearly 600 children. They requested the leaders and supervisors to immediately end the march and not reach the neighborhood’s park to launch balloons. Gheith added that the soldiers retreated due to the cheers of the children.

Gheith also added that the occupation intelligence tried to cancel the march since the morning hours and threatened the center’s staff not to launch the march considering it an “incitement march where children will attack settlement outposts in the area”.

Madaa Silwan Creative Center launched its yearly summer camp entitled “I Love You Silwan” as part of the summer activities organized by the center in the village of Silwan.

Mousa Abbasi, coordinator of the summer camp, explained that Madaa Center organized the summer camp in the village for the tenth year including recreational, educational and awareness activities such as “Dabkeh, documentaries, library, computer, art, painting and sports in addition to visits to abandoned villages and tours in Silwan.

Abbasi added that more than 400 children participated in the summer camp on its tenth year. They are between 5-15 years old and are of both genders. They are divided into 13 groups where every group has the name of a neighborhood in Silwan in order to entrench the names of neighborhoods in the new generation on one hand, and to keep the presence of Silwan and its neighborhoods at all times during this summer camp. He also added that more than 60 leaders are volunteering in the summer camp.

Abbasi explained that the summer camp’s activities are divided into shifts (morning and night) and are carried out in Madaa Center, Wadi Hilweh playground and parks in Silwan.

Majd Gheith also explained that the summer camp is part of the summer activities organized by Madaa Creative Center which start at the beginning of the summer holiday and end before schools start again.

Gheith added that “I Love You Silwan” summer camp is organized every year for free. In its first year, several children expressed their interest in participating in summer camps but the tough financial conditions many Palestinian families face prevented that. As a result, Madaa Center launched its summer camp for free and continued in the same direction since then especially that East Jerusalem in general and Silwan in particular lack public parks where children can play and spend time during the summer holiday.

Gheith explained that the summer camp aims at entertaining children during their summer holiday as well as encouraging them to read through the “library” activity and at the same time keep them away from playing in the streets where a risk of an injury is high. It also aims at enhancing their knowledge of Silwan and its historic places as well as the city of Jerusalem.

Majd Gheith also added that the center will launch its first summer camp in the neighborhood of Al-Sal’a in Ein Al-Lozeh next week in cooperation with Ibdaa’ Nursery.

He added that the center aims and works hard to develop its summer camp in order to benefit the children the most.