جامعة النجاح الوطنية
An-Najah National University

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Through my studies I have learned a lot of things about Palestine, I was born ‎within a family which the Palestinian question is even more important than their ‎own country. My mother always taught me to never forget the Palestinians and ‎always fight for the Palestinians, I will never forget them and will always support ‎them as long as I could.

By: Sara Dagher

However, I wanted to have my own opinion, my ‎perspective and my understanding of Palestine ‎therefore I did my thesis about the ‎Israeli-Palestinian conflict therefore I did a lot of research about the ‎subject, I read ‎a lot of interesting papers, articles, interviews, documentaries and books about the ‎‎subject, when I finished my master degree and succeed my thesis, something was ‎missing after all the ‎research that I have done I said to myself: What now? Is that it, ‎are you going to know Palestine only ‎through books and articles? It wasn’t ‎enough, so I googled ‘’ work or job offers in Palestine’’ and the ‎first thing that ‎came up was the website of Zajel program. I read everything, all the information ‎‎available in the website and I found all what I needed for me it was the perfect ‎program, it comprised ‎of lectures, trips and workshops, everything to know and ‎witness with your own eyes, this is when I ‎decided to join the Zajel exchange ‎program.

Then, when we arrived in Palestine, the first thing someone said to me was ‎‎‘Welcome Home’’ I didn’t realize it on my first day but soon enough I realized that ‎home was Nablus. I had this weird and joyful feeling of being part of Palestine a ‎feeling that cannot be explained with words, only coming in Palestine will make ‎you feel and understand what it is like to come in this country. After a long and ‎safe trip we arrived in Nablus and then we met all the volunteers local and ‎international.‎

And then the students of Najah University. Then we got to work and prepare the ‎workshops, Yvonne, Marta and me were in charge of the workshop ‘’Capacity ‎Building’’. The seven workshops that we did together were very interesting, we ‎have created good and strong relations and connections with the students in the ‎workshops. we have helped them understand our culture whether it is French ‎culture, Spanish culture or German culture  and they helped us understand their ‎culture, their struggles, their perspective.  The students have become friends they ‎welcomed us in their family but most of all they welcomed us in their hearts and ‎we welcomed them in ours.‎

The first most impressive things for me was the students here, all very welcoming, ‎very lovely people but mostly full of motivation and very dedicated people. At the ‎university, the students that I’ve met outside the workshops and the people outside ‎the university were very welcoming people, people always eager to learn our ‎culture, always curious to know us and never afraid to speak, certainly you will ‎never feel alone or lost at the university, there is always someone guiding you and ‎feeling secured. The workshops helped me realize how the Palestinians students are ‎full of talents and full of passion, and I realize they use education to fight, they use ‎it as a strength and most of all they do not take as granted which is why they ‎always work hard, they use education to make the world know that they are here, ‎and they will never give up, they have ambitions and dreams. Being with ‎Palestinian students every day made me realize that they are very much like us they ‎dream of a future like us, they grow up and make mistakes like us, they live, laugh, ‎love and fight when they fall like everybody else on this earth. Therefore, no one ‎has the right to prevent such life, no one has authority over another person’s life ‎and no one must let it happen. This is also why some of us decided to come, to ‎witness and to support.‎

We did a lot of trips around Palestine, first we traveled around Nablus. Nablus is a ‎beautiful city full of historical and cultural things to discover such as the soap ‎factory, the food is also incredible. We also got to see a refugee camp, we learned ‎the history of that refugee camp and the social conditions of the refugees. Then we ‎went to Bethlehem, the guide told us all the information we needed about Palestine ‎and also about the settlements in Palestine and what is the impact of the Palestinians ‎living in Bethlehem.

Furthermore, we spent one night in the desert with the Bedouins, an experience I ‎will never forget. The Bedouins were beyond welcoming, they offered us their ‎food and showed us their magnificent sunrise in the desert which is unforgettable, ‎every person in this earth has to experience such magical trip.

Eventually, we went to Hebron city, the most shocking experience of my life not ‎because of the checkpoints and all the restrictions and the conditions of Palestinians ‎in Hebron but because I have watched and read a lot of information about the ‎situation in Hebron, the most shocking was to see it by your own eyes feel the ‎pressure and imagining that it is happening to the Palestinians every day in Hebron ‎and all of the sudden, some have troubles controlling their feelings and emotions ‎and some cannot control their emotions and their sadness.

I will finish this overall reflections by saying to any volunteer or future volunteer ‎who is reading this, if the volunteer who is at least concerned about the Palestinian ‎cause or curious about Palestine, it is mandatory for the future volunteer to come in ‎Palestine to see by him/herself to see by its own eyes Palestine. to see the ‎conditions of Palestinians lives on their daily life but also to see the beauty of their ‎country and how willing they are to fight for its beauty. It is necessary to ‎understand them to understand their perspective, and break the silence about their ‎conditions. Also, we are all responsible in a way or another, directly or indirectly, ‎the Europeans, the French and the British helped put the chains of colonization in ‎the hands of Palestinians who are completely left alone and nothing but themselves ‎to rely on, as a human beings, as human beings living in democratic and free ‎countries, you don’t need to fight just let them know that you are here for them. All ‎you have to do is to reach out to them. It is crucial to support Palestinians rights, ‎their right of movement, their right of freedom, their right to resist and the right to ‎exist and we have to support as much as we can such as going in Palestine, talk to ‎Palestinians and break the barrier between you and them, otherwise we can let the ‎books say that we left the Palestinians in their misery or say that we were there, we ‎supported and helped them against injustice, discrimination, humiliation and ‎murder. How do you want History to judge you?‎

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