BADIL Staff

The crisis that broke out in Syria in 2011 has had devastating consequences on the country and its inhabitants. Regarding the Palestinian refugees, the legal and political context in which they find themselves makes them an especially vulnerable group. There were 560,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria when the conflict erupted. By April 2015, at least 80,000 have been forced to leave the country. 44,000 found their way into Lebanon and 15,000 into Jordan before these countries closed their borders to Palestinian refugees from Syria.[1] Of the 480,000 Palestinian refugees remaining in the country, 280,000 are internally displaced, and 95% are in continuous need of humanitarian assistance. Despite the harsh circumstances they endure in Lebanon and Jordan, UNRWA estimates the numbers will grow by the end of the year.[2]

Israel’s implementation of protracted occupation, apartheid and colonization is hyper-legalized. This regime is sterilized through the language of law and its violence dispersed through many bureaucratic institutions and complex legislation. In tandem, law is used to criminalize acts of political expression – Palestinian Sheikh Sayah Aturi from the community of al-Araqib was released from detention on 11 December 2013 after he was held for almost a month for his attempts to impede Israel’s 62nd demolition of his village in the Naqab.1 Nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners are currently held in Israeli detention.

Witnesses to Displacement

In the past year, BADIL conducted more than 60 interviews with Palestinian victims of Israeli forcible displacement. These interviews were an essential part of the handbookpublished earlier this year, and for which we dedicated the 53rd issue of al-Majdal. In this section of the magazine, we bring you the summary of a compelling story of displacement and resistance. We hope this interview sheds light on the human dimensions of forced population transfer, an issue more often dealt with in dry and distanced legal language.

Eight years since the 2005 BDS Call, the principal question for the movement is if the tactic is being incorporated into a common Palestinian vision and political commitment? It is important to cultivate a culture of ‘internal’ resistance (within the homeland) that feeds into actions on ‘external’ levels (internationally). Several factors contribute to the current condition of political inaction among the Palestinian populace: pending reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization, fractured Palestinian political factions, the reign of the Palestinian Authority and the logic of Oslo, the widespread disappointment with the Palestinian leadership’s performance and the growth of an ‘NGO culture’ oriented towards donors’ agendas rather than collective concerns. As a result, Palestinian national values of struggle for liberation have receded.

Affecting more Palestinians than any single military operation could, displacement is the biggest threat to Palestinian life today. In the past year alone, Israel displaced thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank Area C and the Gaza Strip Buffer Zone. In May, Israel approved the Prawer Plan that threatens to forcibly displace up to 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab.

Summary of interview with Nasser Nawaja’a, a resident of Susya - by Halimah Al Ubeidiya and Wassim Ghantous

In the past year, BADIL has conducted more than 60 interviews with Palestinian victims of Israeli forcible displacement. These interviews were an essential part of the handbookpublished earlier this year, and for which we dedicate this issue of al-Majdal. In this section of the magazine, we bring you summaries of two compelling stories of displacement and resistance. We hope these interviews shed light on the human dimensions of forced population transfer, an issue more often described in dry and distanced legal language.

Summary of interview with Alaa Salman, a resident of Beit Safafa - by Halimah Al Ubeidiya and Wassim Ghantous

In the past year, BADIL has conducted more than 60 interviews with Palestinian victims of Israeli forcible displacement. These interviews were an essential part of the legal handbookpublished earlier this year, and for which we dedicate this issue of al-Majdal. In this section of the magazine, we bring you summaries of two compelling stories of displacement and resistance. We hope these interviews shed light on the human dimensions of forced population transfer, an issue more often described in dry and distanced legal language.

BADIL’s Ongoing Nakba Education Center Visualizes Palestine’s Struggle through Film and Photography

"Everyday we live through there is a new massacre, there is steadfastness and there are people displaced from their lands. The Nakba and everything that Israel puts on us is an ongoing process..."

Amal Obeidi - Lifta

The campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was borne of the belief that human rights and international law – in conjunction with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolutions - provide the only viable road map for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. In the 7 years that have since passed, the need for such an approach has only become more apparent, and this campaign should be maintained until such a time that the State of Israel complies in full with its obligations as laid out under international law.

By 1920, the League of Nations had affirmed the applicability of the right to self-determination to the people of Palestine and decided to establish a temporary Mandatory system to facilitate Palestine's independence in accordance with Article 22 of its Covenant. Article 22 stated that “[c]ertain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.”