By Bassam Almohor
Next to Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in the town of Ar-Ram, on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem, stands the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), surrounded by the apartheid wall from the west and the south. Within this spacious building and through support from the president of the Palestinian Football Association, Major General Jibril Rajoub, a first-of-its-kind museum was recently established to document major Palestinian sports activities and sports collectibles. The museum director, Daoud Metwalli, took on the responsibility of collecting, maintaining, classifying, and presenting items of Palestinian sports heritage since 1900.
A spacious hall of 500 m2 contains shining shelves that line the perimeter and hold the articles that Mr. Metwalli has collected from the PFA and other sports unions across Palestine. The museum presents “the word, the image, and the object,” as the director describes it. It is home to a large number of documents, souvenirs, medals, and trophies, among other items, which were collected from local, regional, and international clubs and unions. The collection of awards includes a replica of the World Cup, the Challenge Cup, a model of the London Olympic torch, and a golden sword presented by the president of the Arab National Olympic Committees, Prince Talal Bin Badar Al Saud. There are also a number of footballs signed by celebrities and renowned players.
The museum is still in its first phase of establishment, which started in early 2016 in a large space on the lower floor of the PFA. Mr. Metwalli confirmed that a second phase will expand the museum outdoors to 1,000 m2 and will boast more items with well-planned audio-visual contents, especially an outdoor screen to present round-the-clock films and footage from the Palestinian sports archive. The museum will be officially inaugurated by the end of 2020. Plans are in the works for a Palestinian photo library that will be digitized and published online.
The newly released book entitled One Hundred Years of Football in Palestine documents the history of Palestinian sports since 1900 and is available at the museum in Arabic and English.
With care, love, and passion, Mr. Metwalli leads visitors through his collection of items and tells stories of sports and glory. His favorite item in the display is the disciplinary red card that the president of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, waved at Israel during a 2015 FIFA congress meeting in Switzerland.
The Palestinian Sports Museum is open Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 to 15:00 and is located in the building that houses the Palestinian Football Association, next to Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Ar-Ram. For more information, contact Daoud Metwalli at: 059 922 8787. Location: 31.847639, 35.229361.