(18 August 2019) The Al-Awda Youth Forum organizes educational day for other youth

On 17 August 2019, the Al-Awda Youth Forum organized an educational day for 30 (18 female) children, aged 15-17, from both sides of the Green Line. The Al-Awda Youth Forum is a youth-led initiative, supported by BADIL. The members of the forum are alumni from BADIL’s Al-Awda school. The youth members develop their own initiatives to enhance self-empowerment and resilience.

The aim of the educational day was for the youth themselves to raise awareness and educate others about the rights they have as Palestinians and the ways their human rights are being violated, due to the ongoing forced displacement policies implemented by Israel on both sides of the Green Line. The focus was on enhancing the role, voice and visibility of Palestinian children and youth by creating platforms for discussion and opportunities for them to promote and defend their rights.

The lectures were provided by members of the Al-Awda Youth Forum augmented by BADIL staff and materials. The focus was on forced displacement policies to gain a deeper understanding of how Israel’s apartheid regime continuously work towards a maximum amount of land, with a minimum amount of Palestinian people. For more information on forced displacement policies, see BADIL’s series of working papers on forced population transfer.

After the lectures the participants were divided into working groups to discuss and understand concepts and terminologies needed to shape the Palestinian national identity and how they can combat “Israelization”, also called de-Palestinianization. The term refers to how Israeli policies aim to create a Palestinian society that suits the Israeli colonial system. The participants also discussed stereotypes they have about each other and how to overcome and face Israeli policies of fragmentation. For example, how Palestinians use the term “Arabs in Israel”, instead of Palestinians inside 48. Another example the participants brought up in reference to using Israeli terms, was utilizing “barriers” instead of “checkpoints”.

The second part of the day consisted of a field tour inside Dheisheh, a refugee camp in Bethlehem that regularly experiences Israeli military raids and invasion which amounts to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The aim of the visit was to show the youth the situation of Palestinian refugees living in refugee camps more than 70 years after the Nakba. 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.