Farewell to the Habesch–Commercial Printing Press
Keyword: 
Musa Nasir
Birzeit University
YWCA
YMCA
Oslo accords
annexation of Jerusalem
Orient House
Sophie Halaby
Chamber of Commerce
Rawdat al-Zuhur
Abstract: 

This article was inspired by a video from the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit in which Tewfic Habesch, grandson of the founder of the Commercial Press “Habesch,” spoke about the achievements of the press over the past one hundred years. Near the end of the video, Tewfic announced the difficult decision that the family had taken to close the print shop due to the numerous measures Israel was imposing on East Jerusalem. The closure of the city after the 1993 Oslo agreement exacerbated the situation, by barring residents from the rest of the occupied territories from entering the city that had been the center of  life for all Palestinians. Khoury relays her personal experiences of working with the Habesch printing press, a highlight of which was their designing and printing of the first university diploma in Palestine granted by Birzeit University in 1976.

Author biography: 

Samia Nasir Khoury is a retired community volunteer who served as national president of the YWCA and president of Rawdat al-Zuhur, and a founding member of the Birzeit University Board of Trustees and Sabeel–Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. She is the author of Reflections from Palestine: A Journey of Hope (Cyprus: Rimal, 2014), and A Rhyme for Every Time (Ramallah: Turbo, 2009).

Read more