Activity with Palestinian women in Nabi Elias, Azzun, Falamya, 2.10.13, morning

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Rivka S., Dafna A., Saraleh A., Dvorka (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.


We spent most of the time meeting with “modern” young women and men, very alert and likeable, at the Nabi Elias club.  There was something refreshing and exhilarating about the meeting.  This is the first time we met a mixed group of young men and women legitimately able to work together.  We also discovered (thanks to Dafna Amir, who reads Arabic and could translate what was written) that one of the posters on the wall of the club was from “Dialogue,” an organization working for intergroup understanding, and the other was a picture of a woman looking up and reaching out her hand to break through the “glass ceiling.”


Nabi Elias.  We arrived at the village at 10:00, as we’d arranged with Wisal, the Women’s Club coordinator.  Since the Palestinian Authority has shifted to winter time the women hadn’t yet arrived; we decided to rearrange our schedule and visit a few villages in the area prior to the meeting at the club.


Azzun.  The yellow gate is open.  Palamya.  The pedestrian gate is open; the soldier in the emplacement confirmed that the vehicle gate opens when necessary.  The place was empty, apparently because of the hour at which we came.  We also went through Jayyus and Kafr Jamal.  There was no sign of military vehicles.  The streets are empty.


11:30.  We returned to Nabi Elias.  We were happy to see eight young women awaiting us, and a surprise – two young men seated with them, ready for the meeting.  The guys live in Izbet Tabib; all participants except one, who just graduated from high school, are students of the Open University in Qalqilya and Tulkarm.


A few minutes later Husan also arrived; he’s the charismatic consultant we’d met three weeks ago, who encouraged our connection with the women.  He must have come today to support us, and it’s apparently due to him that the guys are here.  It was an unusual and delightful sight!


It turned out that our meeting was scheduled for the same day that a workshop was underway on other topics; the moderator participated in our discussion.  Wisal explained that some of the women in the village weren’t able to come because their families had begun the olive harvest.


As we do in the first meeting, we described Machsom Watch, introduced ourselves and explained why we wanted to meet them and work together.  They told us about their studies and what they’re doing; most are students in the Open University, or have already finished, and most of them aren’t employed.  They volunteer in the club, helping the coordinator and other women who participate in the activities.  The two young men are also social activists on a volunteer basis.  It was interesting that they all said, with a certain amount of pride, that they’re working voluntarily.  We suggested some possible activities, and they seem to be willing to begin with two groups: learning English or Hebrew, whichever they prefer, in a mixed group; and handicrafts for women, led by Rivka.  The first meeting will take place after Eid el Adha.

One of the young women said, in response to our question, that some of her family’s olive trees are beyond the fence, which makes harvesting difficult.  We promised to join them harvesting next Tuesday or Wednesday.