First Day Back: Palestinian Student Life Under Occupation.

2016-01-31

The first weeks in September welcomes the beginning of semester for students around the world. After your summer vacation, you may be wondering whether the sacrifices you make to go to university- waking up early, attending boring lectures, missing out on chilling with your friends- is all really that worth it (especially with ever-rising tuition fees, and a more competitive labor market).

Last year I travelled to the West Bank. After just over a month of living and doing an internship at Alternative Tourism Group, I attended the first ever University Level International Model United Nations Conference in Palestine. Students from Al-Quds University (University of Jerusalem) got together students from around the world to discuss the big questions facing the international community. On the morning of the second day of some of the most engaging MUN sessions I have ever experienced, much of our committee was late. After about 15 minutes, the international and local delegates, all dressed in their finest formal attire, bundles into committee session. Their eyes were bloodshot and streaming, they were gasping for breath, and all, evidently traumatized by the experience, were fraught with shock.

What I late5726575_origr learnt was that some IDF soldiers had blocked our committee from entering Al-Quds university campus, before firing tear gas on them. It was only then that I began to notice many things across the campus which I had ignored since then. The most visually and intellectually oppressive is the partition wall. A a 5-meter cement python, obstinately constricting all students and professors at Al-Quds campus in Abu Dies. If the horizon oppresses, then look to the sky for the freedom. Not for at this university, where students are under 24-hour supervision by an Israeli surveillance blimp that resembles an aerial panopticon. All this just within the university campus.

Another time, travelling to from Bethlehem to Hebron University, got talking to a group of 4 female students all heading to their morning lectures. As we cruised along in our shared taxi, we passed illegal Israeli settlements, and local Palestinian communities successively.  The former were almost always guarded by a dozen or so IDF soldiers, and the latter signaled by huge red signs propagating the misinformation that the local Palestinians are dangerous. I asked thee young lady I was sitting next to (who was just beginning her final year in chemistry) how long it takes to travel to university every day- a journey of no more than 25 km. At best, it takes around 45 minutes, but can last hours, depending on whether the IDF decide to put up a temporary checkpoint. As Foucault famously argued, it is not the continued physical presence of brute force that is oppresses, but the ever present possibility of one’s day-to-day life being disrupted by unexpected acts of force.

Another way the occupation affects students is the difficulty maintaining upholding attendance rate. Checkpoints are the least of worries. You could lose sleep on nights where IDF soldiers are combing the town making arrests. You could be arrested, and tossed between Israeli and Palestinian prisons for merely affiliating with a political party or expressing your political opinions. Psychologically, the trauma school are children exposed through recurrent acts of oppression, fear, and violence, is often permanent. Last year we visited a summer school in Jenin refugee camp. Despite us being welcomed with such joyous acts as 30 students singing and clapping in unison, teachers informed us that many students have behavioral issues, and are debilitatingly fearful of loud noises. Their grades may deteriorate and their behavior, relationships, and world view are forever changed. Soldiers may also publicly beat rude students on the way to school or university in order to dominate, humiliate, and scare them out of the country. The secret services often try to recruit school and university students, using them as spies for any perceived political activities in the area. They are lured with things like money, sex, or threats not to let their parents get a permit to pray in Jerusalem. They use the spies for a while, but resort to extortion and expose them if they do not bring enough information.

Educational traveling opportunities are more expensive and tiresome. If they want to travel abroad, Palestinians living in the West Bank must enter Jordan across the Allenby Bridge. Many young men are held up for hours being interrogated by the secret services about their political views and activities. This deters students from physically participating in international events.

Not many people know that there are even universities in the West Bank. Why would people worry about educating themselves in a war zone? Surely there are more important things to worry about that studying some academic subject in such a situation. In fact, Palestinians place great value on education, not only for their intellectual and spiritual development, but also to resist the occupation. Palestine in fact has some of the highest rates of education in the entire region. With a diaspora estimated at around 6 million, many Palestinians regard education as an internationally-recognized asset. During my time in Beit Sahour, a small town on the outskirts of Bethlehem, many people I met had lived abroad, and had highly-educated family relations across the world. Although going into diaspora had been forced upon them 60 years ago, Palestinians still value education as a means to make the most out of this situation.

Why should we care about the lives of students in the West Bank? First, appreciation. In Europe, especially with the increasing financial burden placed on students, going to university may seem burdensome. Reflecting on Palestinian student life shows how strongly the empowering potential of higher education can overcome the obstacles the occupation has on West Bank students.  Second, solidarity. Students have an incredible power to unite across disciplines, social groups, and international borders. An increased understanding of the struggles experienced by Palestinian students, and their achievements despite these struggles is one of the strongest ways to seek justice for over 60 years of occupation. Student solidarity means reaching out to Palestinian student bodies and universities when organizing conferences.  Having Palestinian student delegations at events such as the Jessup international Moot Court Competition, or international MUN conferences means recognizing the equality of Palestinian students with all other students around the world.

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FFIPP Internship 2017-2018

Would you like to learn more about Israel and Palestine, and obtain a perspective that goes beyond the media stories? Would you like to meet with journalists, human rights activists, NGO representatives, refugees and other Palestinians and Israelis who experience the conflict in their daily life? Would you like to become active in an international educational network of students promoting human rights in Israel/Palestine? Apply for the FFIPP Education Program 2017-2018!

The FFIPP Education program will include: organizing events in Amsterdam, a preparation program, an orientation week and internship in in Palestine and Israel, and afterwards being involved in the academic network.

We offer:

  • 1-month internship at one of our partner organizations in Israel or the Westbank.
  • An orientation week prior to the internship where you will visit o.a Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron, as well as refugee camps, and meet with actors with different backgrounds and perspectives
  • Housing and coordination from FFIPP during the program
  • Involvement in an active worldwide student network
  • The ability to develop organizational and fundraising skills
  • The ability to raise awareness for human rights in an academic setting

Requirements: 

  • Students enrolled at a university in the Netherlands, preferably in Amsterdam.
  • Interested in international relations, human rights etc.
  • Ability to organize events from January 2017 – January 2018
  • Ability to join the FFIPP Preparation weekend in France in June 2017
  • Available for the summer program
  • Motivated and available to become active within the international FFIPP network
  • A personal insurance

 

Assisting and organizing events

From January until June you will be an intern at the FFIPP. Together with the board you will organise movie screenings, discussions and other events surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict. After your summer internship in Israel or Palestine you will become part of the board and organise these events.

The preparation Program consists of several preparation meetings in your local chapter and one weekend in France before going to Palestine/Israel. You will organise movie screenings, discussions and other events surrounding Palestine/Israel with the board. During this weekend FFIPP will provide you with valuable information concerning the facts on the ground and you will get to know other FFIPP participants from all over Europe.

The orientation week will take place in Israel and the West Bank. You will visit a.o. Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron, as well as refugee camps, and meet with actors with different perspectives and backgrounds during conferences and meetings with Palestinian and Israeli students and civil society actors committed to peace and justice. The orientation week is a very educational experience and also a great opportunity for you to get to know the other FFIPP-participants from all over the world.*

The Summer Program is a one-month learning position at a partner organization, like a women’s rights bureau in Haifa, working with children in Nablus or with refugees in Ramallah. We also have other options such as conducting applied research or providing practical information to journalists. As the content of the work may vary the emphasis lies on the human character of the experience the program offers, and the opportunity to grasp the complexity of the conflict on the ground. Above all, a great human experience!**

*During the orientation week and summer program FFIPP coordinators will be in Israel and Palestine to supervise, reflect and evaluate your experiences with you. Also note that the current situation does not allow us to visit or provide a summer program in the Gaza Strip.

**Participants need to be aware of the fact that although there will be possibilities to contribute to the work of the partner host organization during the internship, the program represents above all an opportunity to learn.

Get involved in the academic network

After you have returned home, you help organizing events like movie screenings, conferences and debates throughout the academic year. For this you can use the insights you have gained during the summer internship. In addition to this, FFIPP offers a great international academic platform where you obtain organizational skills and raise awareness about the situation in Palestine/Israel.

***Partner organizations in the following areas:

– Animation, projects with children
- French and English classes
- Grassroots work (eg. women’s rights, farmers union, Bedouin rights)
- Art related projects (music, theatre)
- Human Rights
- Development, Environment
- Fundraising for research, organizational development
- Research (eg. law, journalism, urbanism, social sciences)

A few more details…

FFIPP will take care of all orientation week expenses (transportation, accommodation) as well as the costs of accommodation during the summer program period. However, expenses for food and transportation during the summer program month are the student’s responsibility, as are the costs of transportation to and from Israel, and to the preparation weekend.

Subscription to a personal insurance is mandatory. There is a small tuition fee to be come part of the FFIPP network.

We strongly encourage bachelor/ undergraduate students to apply.

The FFIPP team will gladly advise you with regards to internship grants (local community, university…) in order to help you finance your internship.

Application process

The selection process will run until January 24, 2017. You can download by clicking on the link: ffipp-2017-application. You can fill in the form in Dutch of English. Interviews will take place between the 23rd and the 30th of January.

For further questions you can contact us on ffipp.nl@gmail.com

Food at Zaal 100

Our next event (though not our last of this year – see the below post for information about our lecture on Palestinian children being held in Israeli detention) is a very collaborative effort.
On Wednesday the 22nd June we want to invite you to join us at Zaal 100 for an evening of delicious food and beautiful music.
Wednesday’s regular cooks at Zaal 100 – stichting VEKO’s Erik and their volunteers – have agreed to share their kitchen with us for a one-night-only special of tasty Middle-Eastern food.
We at FFIPP will be made kitchen assistants for the night and we’ll be following the directions of some amazing people versed in the preparation of this cuisine.
 Together we are going to serve up a 3-course meal, using organic produce, with both vegan and vegetarian choices, all for only 9 euro.
On the night we’ll be serving food between 18hr – 20hr, but we’re aware we’ll be in the middle of Ramadan and if you want to eat with us later in the evening we can make sure there are plates set aside for you.
Please make a reservation by sending us a quick mail at ffipp.nl@gmail.com indicating how many of you will eat, whether you want vegan or vegetarian food, and if you need to eat later.
There will also be interesting additions to the food we’ll keep you posted with the who and hoe laat in the coming days.
Hope to see you there!!

Lecture: Palestinian children in Israeli detention

Children around the world are sadly often the victims of armed conflict. In 2014, Palestine became party to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite the fact that many provisions of this Convention are binding upon Israel, many Palestinian children live in fear and experience numerous violations of their rights. In April a report by Defence for Children was published detailing that hundreds of Palestinian children are put in Israeli detention every year. In this lecture two speakers are invited and they will inform us some more about these ongoing violations against children’s rights. 
Arie de Bruin will speak about his book ‘Je bent er geweest’, a book that rises in protest against these violations. Arie has visited Israel and Palestine, and the things he saw and experienced  there moved him to write the book. Through poems and illustrations, he tries to bring the situation, and the experiences of the children living through it, closer to his readers. 
Mieke Zagt, director of Tadamun Foundation, a sister-organization of Defence for Children, will speak about their recently published report. Tadamun works together with Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) and other partners for a safe and just future for Palestinian children.
This will be our last FFIPP event of 2016 before the new interns head off to Palestine and Israel. Really look forward to seeing you there.
Once again we’ll be at CREA cafe Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
30 June at 20:00
And it’s free for students and 5euro for non-students.

Event met Anja Meulenbelt

Op 5 april bieden wij het podium aan Anja Meulenbelt, een schrijfster, feministe, activiste en politica. In 1994 ging zij voor het eerst naar Gaza en sindsdien zet zij zich in voor de rechten van de Palestijnen. Ook is zij de oprichter van Stichting Kifaia die een organisatie ondersteunt die community based gezondheidszorg organiseert voor bewoners in Gaza. In haar boek Kwart over Gaza gaat zij in op antisemitisme, islamofobie en het verband tussen de twee. Op 5 april zal verder ingaan op deze twee fenomenen en zal zij meer vertellen over haar boek.

Waar: Café CREA, Nieuwe Achtergracht 170

Datum: 5 April

Tijd: 20:00

Kost: Gratis voor studenten; Euro 5 voor anderen

Taal: Nederlands

Information night: 23rd February 2016

Each summer FFIPP chapters send a number of students to Israel / Palestine to learn more about the situation there, with the aim ultimately of sharing some of this information with others in the chapter country. This year the summer program runs from 10 July – 14 August, and on the 23rd February 2016 at CREA cafe Amsterdam some of 2015’s interns give some information about the internship, share some of their experiences of the program, and give information about how you can apply. The internship is only open to people who are students, and for them entrance is gratis.

Lecture: Products that come from illegal settlements

On 21st January 2016 the FFIPP Educational network for human rights in Palestine / Israel will host researchers from docP and SOMO.

Together we invite you to come along to CREA café, Amsterdam at 20:00 and hear representatives from these organizations share some of their knowledge about products exported from illegal settlements, and how they find their way here to the Netherlands.

DocP is a Dutch research foundation committed to achieving a free Palestine. In collaboration and solidarity with the international movement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), docP campaigns against companies who profit from the occupation. For more information about docP check out their website http://www.docp.nl


SOMO is a research foundation too, with a focus on ensuring fair and sustainable development for all. SOMO researchers recently reported on the Dutch supermarkets profiting from the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and they will share some of their findings with us on this night.
For more information about SOMO check out http://www.somo.nl

The event is free for students and Euro for non-students.

If you are interested in learning more about the trade of products grown in the Occupied Territories but exported by Israel to the Netherlands, come along on the 21st.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Call for applicants FFIPP Education Program 2015

Would you like to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and obtain a perspective that goes beyond the media stories? Would you like to meet with journalists, human rights activists, settlers, NGO representatives, refugees and other Palestinians and Israelis who experience the conflict in their daily life? Would you like to become active in an international educational network of students promoting human rights in Israel/Palestine? Apply for the FFIPP Education Program 2015! For more information and the application form click: FFIPP Education Program 2015 

FFIPP Europe Speaking tour 2014: Eu and Israel/Palestine: Dead end or opening window? MARCH 28TH, IN AMSTERDAM

 

FFIPP (Educational network for Human Rights in Palestine/Israel) in collaboration with Palestine Link is delighted to invite you to Amsterdam for the FFIPP Speaking Tour 2014 on EU policies regarding Israel/Palestine. From Paris to Amsterdam, through Bordeaux, Grenoble and Geneva, the Speaking Tour is aimed to raise awareness among students and academic staff about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to promote a just peace in accordance with International Law.

For the last decades, the EU has always, and without respite, condemned the colonization policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory for 3 major reasons: the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, they constitute a “potential” obstacle to peace, and they make a two states solution impossible. In fact, there are contradictions in the European policy towards Israel. Indeed, while the constructions of illegal settlements continue its expansion, the EU prefers not to take any coercive measures.

The oncoming European Parliament elections are here to remind ourselves the rise of the EU on the international field, promoting human rights as a motivation for its diplomatic relations. Considering that, one could wonder how the EU, gaining power on the international scale, deals with one of the most acute situation of our times: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and all its counterparts. From ex-colonial power to present commercial relations and development aid, the EU has a very special relationship with both nations, which is open to criticism and debate.

The conference will address, among other issues, the role of the European Union in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the case of businesses invested in illegal settlements, labelling settlement products and EU’s commitments to respect and promote human rights.

The evening will take place at de Doelenzaal at the Universiteitsbibliotheek UvA.
ADDRESS: Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam

FFIPP internship information evening

Are you (interested in) applying to our 2014 summer internship program in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories? Do you have questions regarding the program, the application process, or the mission and values of FFIPP? Stop by our information evening! Meet with the current FFIPP-NL members who will gladly answer all your burning questions.

Next Tuesday (March 18, 2014) you’re more than welcome from 7.15 PM. The information session will start at 7.30 PM in one of the CREA studios: STUDIO 1.22. As a means of introduction, we will start with a brief overview of FFIPP as an (international) organization and talk about its mission and values. Afterwards, there will be plenty room for all of your questions regarding the internship, our partner organizations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, our activities in the Netherlands, Europe, Brazil and the US, and every other question you would like to ask. Hope to see you next Tuesday!

This summers’ program will take place from July 27th till August 31st, and consists of an orientation week during which we will highlight different aspects of the conflict and meet with actors with varying perspectives. This week is followed by a four week internship period at one of our partner organizations.

For more (basic) info, go to the tab “Summer Internship 2014”. Are you unable to attend our evening but do you want your questions answered nevertheless? Email us at ffipp.nl@gmail.com or write on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FFIPPNL.