Thursday, August 16, 2007

3 -Zahbaabdiy village & End of summer camp

Zahabaadi vaillage at night
At Refai's house
Al-badan park
Yousef in Al-badan Park
The children making masks at the summer camp
Two days ago the Spanish girls and I were invited buy a guy called Refai to his house in the village Zahbaadi there he lives with his family. Refai is active in many very interesting projects. You can see a summary in the end of the blog. He is working a lot with international volunteers in the different projects and he is always looking for new people.
Zahbaadi village, south of Jenin, has about 7000 citizens and the christian population is very big. There are two mosques and four churches. (one catholic, one greek ortodox, one russian ortodox and one protestant). Before there was a settlement nearby but the settlers left in the disengagement 2005 when the settlers in Gaza and in four settlements in the north West Bank had to leave. (according to a cecision made by the Israeli government).

The 18th of April this year the army entered the family's house and Refai's youngest brother, 16 year old, was arrested. They still don't know why and they don't know where he was taken. Not even the Red Cross has been able to found out which jail he is in (without a trial).
Since then it has been impossible for all in the family, including their relatives, to get permission to travel over the borders. This collective punishment is always used by the israeli government.
Yesterday Refais father was supposed to go and visit the hospital in Amman, Jordan but in the evening when we were there he got a phone call that he wasn't given the permission to go.
They siad he had "problems with the Israeli intelligence". He has internal bleedings and serius problems with the lever and the hospital in Jenin does not have the resources to treat him. The doctors there said that he will die if he doesn't get the right treatment soon. If he will be allowed to go he will have to go by ambulance all the way to Jordan.
Tomorrow Refai will go to the military court and try to change the decision. He is working with the Human Right Watch and has studied Law which will be an advantage. Normally it is very hard to change a decision. It was hard to be there and not be able to do anything, I get really angry when writing about it!
Refai himself has received a scholarship from the Geneva University to study Law there but know he doesn't know if it will be possible. One of his histers lives in Saudi Arabia and she hasn't been able to visit the family since the arrest. These are the situation that make you realize that there are no option then to continue the struggle for justice and human rights for the Palestinians.

The day before yesterday was the last day at the summer camp and we went on a trip to Al-badab which is a park with a cafe with the tables in a small canal so you can have your feet in the water, and something such unusual, in Palestine, as a swimming pool! (The water resouces are very limited here, and mot of the water are used by the illegal settlements). It was a very nice day and the children really enjoyed it as it's not very often they get the chance to swim. It was
the first day I felt really clean and wasn't sweating all the time!
One our way home there was one so called flying check point ( a mobile check point) but luckily they decided to leave before it was our turn to pass. So much for the Israeli "security". Now all the terrorist children could go to Jenin without any problem. The children at the summer camp in Zahbaadi (who Refai also is working with) went on a trip to Qalkilya a cuople of days ago and they were delayed for more than two hours in a check point on there they home. Imagine the parents who were waiting for them.

Yesterday the Palestinian National Tv came to the centre to film. The children did different performances singing, dancing, playing sketches and we were making hand craft with them. I'm not sure about my plans now when the summer camp is over. They want me to teach English (beginner level of course!)) at the centre as there are not enough teachers beacuse they can't pay them anhy money, so I'll probably do that. My plan was to join Ism but I'll see how things goes. They just set up a group here in Jenin but I'm not sure what they are doing here. I've heard different opinions about ISM and how they function at the moment. It's hard to know. I think it's important to always question what you are doing and if you can do it in another way. It seems like the groups in Nablus and Hebron are going well so maybe I'll go there.
Today we are going to the Freedom Theatre. I finally met Jonathan yesterday, who says hello to everyone in Ism Malmo, and he invited us to film show with films made by the children there. Hopefully I will also meet Matt from Nottingham who arrived this week and will stay for six weeks doing different circus projects.

C u another day, Love M.

The projects Refai is involved in:

First Summer Camp of the Palestinian-Israeli Student Coalition
In the end of August there will be summer camp at the Arab American University in Jenin there 40 Palestinian students, 40 Israeli students from the Tel Aviv University and 20 Internatinal students will meet. This is a very unique project, especially for Jenin. During one week the students will have lectures and discussions and workshops on Conflict Resolution, Internatinal Humanitarian Law and other subjects and they wil be doing volunteer work in Al-Fara'a refugee camp among other things.

Windows is a non-profit organization established in 1991. Windows members are Israeli and Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. The members work together with media and art programs to promote mutual acceptance, undertsanding and recognition between each other. They are currently running three different projects. For many young people this is there only chance to meet and get to know people from "the other side".
The magazine Windows, a Hebrew-Arabic magazine written by and for young people age 12-14 from both peoples. I t deals with both both every day lives of youth but also more difficult topics like identity, natinality and the occupation.
Video Magazine for Youth - a video magazine filmed by Palestinian and Israeli youth age 15-17 showing their lifes and opinions.
Reaching Out to Schools - Many schools don't encourage discussion on the conflict and the occupation. Windows are offering a school program with discussions and workshops. The printed magazine and the video magazine are offered to all schools in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Terrtories. This project is supported by the European Union.

Voice without borders
A radio station set up by Refai and other Palestinians and internationals in Zahbaadi, there they send programs both in English and Arabic about life in the Jenin area and about the occupation. This project is looking for volunteers. I will edit the contact information soon.

Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Internship (from their website)

FFIPP, the Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, is a network of Palestinian, Israeli, and International faculty, with an affiliated international student network, working in solidarity for a complete end of the occupation and just peace.

To build an effective faculty network that educates the academic community about the situation in Israel/Palestine and the region and advocates policies conducive to reaching a just peace;To educate policy and opinion makers around the world to help stop the violations of human rights and international law and their cause, the occupation;To cooperate with those who work for a just peace and assist conscientious Palestinian and Israeli faculty and students.

Peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine is the resolution to the conflict supported by virtually all interested parties. We strongly believe that no justice and no peace can be achieved without Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories, and that anybody truly and honestly favoring peaceful coexistence must support such withdrawal.

The FFIPP Summer Internship program supports not-for-profit organizations in Palestine/Israel, such as human rights, peace and justice organizations as well as centers for art, culture and research. This program will also provide invaluable skills and knowledge for the volunteers as they engage in learning, teaching, and research in local communities and organizations.

Human Right Watch (from their website)

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.
We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice.
We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.
We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.
We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.

No comments: