(15 September 2019) BADIL concluded a three day Al-Awda school with field trips to areas highly affected by Israeli colonies.

PR/EN/150919/47
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights concluded another Al-Awda school on 12-14 September. The Al-Awda School program aims to empower Palestinian youth to become human rights defenders and leaders. Within the school BADIL implements a variety of activities and trainings that aim to reinforce the connections between Palestinian youth from both sides of the Green Line and to enhance their awareness, engagement, and understanding of the right to return. The lectures and trainings address the coercive environment, the ongoing Nakba and the practicalities of return.

The trainings were held in Bethlehem over three days, with 23 (14 female) youth participants from both sides of the Green Line. They attended lectures, participated in discussions and workshops, and went on field trips to areas in Bethlehem area which are highly affected by the surrounding Israeli colonies.
The lectures and workshops focused on topics such as; the ongoing Nakba, the current situation of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons, the ongoing forced displacement policies practiced on Palestinians by Israel after more than 70 years after the Nakba, the right of return and practicalities of return and Palestinian identity and unity.

In addition, skill-building trainings were held that focused on enhancing communication and leadership skills.

Within the program the youth attended a tour of the Etzion colonial bloc area, which included visits to the villages of Beit Sakarya and Al-Walaja. The focus was on forced displacement and annexation policies that clearly highlight Israel’s apartheid regime and continuously work towards a maximum amount of land, with a minimum amount of Palestinian people. BADIL recently published a case study of Israeli annexation by outlining Israeli practices and policies in the Etzion colonial bloc and for more information about these areas see BADIL’s short film “Increasing Palestinian resilience in Area C” and “Etzion Colonial Block: Embodiment of De-facto Annexation.”

The youth also attended a field visit to Dheisheh, a refugee camp in Bethlehem that regularly experiences Israeli military raids and invasion conducted with the excessive and illegal use of force, which amounts to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The aim of the visit was to experience first-hand the conditions of the refugees still living inside the camps. For more information about excessive use of force in Dheisheh and other Palestinian refugee camps, see BADIL’s Case Study “Excessive Use of Force by the Israeli Army”.