In 2019, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights in partnership with the Spanish organization, Peace with Dignity, and a number of Palestinian Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) on both sides of the Green Line organized and participated in the Masaha project (meaning space in Arabic). The project aims to reinforce the connections between Palestinian youth from both sides of the Green Line and enhance their awareness, engagement, and understanding of the right of return.
Throughout the year the 26 (12 female) Palestinian youth from the West Bank, Jerusalem and 1948 Palestine, have met for several lectures and meetings following topics such as Palestinian identity, practicalities of return, international humanitarian and human rights law, third state responsibility and Israeli policies of forcible transfer and fragmentation. The series of lectures included various people from all over Palestine discussing the issues of identity, as well as the youth having spent significant amounts of time discussing amongst each other and preparing presentations, which they practiced giving.
These lectures have been complimented with training and workshops focused on enhancing the participants’ writing, public speaking and critical thinking skills. At the end of the project six of the youth were selected to engage in an international advocacy tour to Spain. For this occasion, all the youth that participated in the Masaha project produced a film on Palestinian identity. The film “IDENTIDAD PALESTINE Y Politicas de Fragmentacion,” is 15.46 minutes long and has special focus on Palestinian youth's point of view on forming Palestinian identity and what this looks like. Furthermore, it highlights the Zionist colonial project and the Israeli policies of fragmentation and forced displacement, and how to best confront it from a youth perspective. The film was translated into Spanish and shared with our Spanish partners, in addition to three public screenings of the Arabic version in Palestine.
The youth organized panels and screenings of the film in cooperation with community based organizations, all in various geographical areas within Palestine. One panel was held in cooperation with Lajee Center in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem with 35 people attending. The second panel was held in cooperation with Al Bustan in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem with 20 people attending. The third panel took place in Um Al-Fahm in 1948 Palestine and was organized by the Harak group with 20 people attending.
After the screening, the youth held a panel discussion on fragmentation policies in their area as to cover and explain the differences and similarities in the West Bank, Jerusalem and 1948 Palestine in regards as to how the Israeli forcible transfer and fragmentation policies are implemented on the ground. In addition, the youth discussed how these policies affect the Palestinian identity and how to confront it. The youth mentioned communication as a means to bring unity and cohesion to the Palestinian people as an important aspect; to bring Palestinian people together, raise awareness and organize activities and initiatives that include Palestinian people from all areas.