PARIS — The shelves are massed with books on the Palestinian cause, the walls are decorated with maps of Palestinian towns and villages in what later became Israel and the famous Nablus soap and Palestine olive oil are on sale.But make no mistake, you are not in Palestine.
Welcome to the Resistance Library in Paris.
The 300-square-meter place, equipped with computers and a lecture room, is dedicated to the Palestinian cause, offering information on the conflict, the occupied territories and the Israeli aggressions.
“The place was originally a garage,” Olivia Zemor, the library’s Jewish director, told a recent seminar at the library.
“Now it’s a platform for supporting the Palestinians and their just cause.”
Once inside the library, you will be greeted by a powerful display of information-packed maps illustrating the lost Palestinian land from 1946 to present day.
The shelves are filled with books on the intifada, resistance groups and the refugees’ plight.
Taking a central stage at the library’s main hall is a picture of a young man.
“This is Saleh al-Hamouri,” says Zemor.
“He has been detained by Israel for three years now without trial. We just learned that an Israeli military court has sentenced him to seven years in prison.”
The library has become a destination for supporters of the Palestinian struggle from around the world.
Zemor, the director, is one of France’s main advocates of the Palestinian cause.
Born in Paris to Jewish parents, she is President of CAPJPO, the committee for just peace in the Middle-East, which was created in 2002 to bring together people who share the aim of defending the Palestinian rights.
The library is preparing a big event in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Gilad Atzmon, a leading Israeli jazz musician and Palestinian solidarity activist, will be performing at the library next month.
“Atzmon will be coming from London, where he is living in self-exile to protest the oppression practiced by his country against Palestinians,” Zemor said.
“All the revenues of the concert will be dedicated for aiding the Palestinians.”
Last week, the Resistance Library hosted Palestinian writer and researcher Khaled al-Hroub.
The UK-based academic introduced to the audience the French version of his latest book, Hamas for Beginners, in which he warns against allowing the Gaza-West Bank separation to continue.
The library is currently hosting an exhibition of French photographer François Legeait.
The exhibition, titled Palestine 141, showcases photos of 141 Palestinian children killed by Israel in 2006 alone.
The Resistance Library also aims at helping Palestinians survive the harsh economic conditions imposed by the Israeli occupation.
Traditional Palestinian cultural heritage items, like Nablus soap, olive oil, and al-Khalil’s handmade pottery, are on sale.
“The price you will pay will go for the people who need it back in Nablus,” reads the label on the soap bars and oil bottles.
“Made in Palestine.”