Women explore Palestinian displacement in Israel
Kayan-Feminist Organization, in cooperation with the Association for the Defense of the Internally Displaced (Adrid) and the Jusur Forum of Arab Women leaders, are working to enhance awareness of the rights of internally displaced persons in Israel. Together, these organizations are improving understanding among Arab women in Israel concerning the displacement of Palestinians stemming from the creation of Israel and subsequent pursuit of ethnic hegemony throughout the country. Through a series of lectures, workshops and field visits to destroyed Arab villages, participants explore the obscured narratives of communities displaced through the founding of the state. By promoting historical awareness among activists for social change, this joint action is facilitating the incorporation of Arab women leaders within the public and political spheres. Thus far, women from the Arab villages of Sulam and Deir Hanna and the Tal’et Ara regional council have participated.
– On Thursday, October 12th, a diverse group of 50 women from the village of Sulam toured destroyed villages in the Western Galilee. The group arrived first to the village of Qwikat, where they were received by Ms. Dima Al-J’mal of Adrid, Towibah Majdoub of Kayan, and Nora Nasra, a displaced former resident of the village. In addition to a detailed summary of the history of Qwikat, Al-J’mal expounded upon the larger paradigm of Palestinian displacement in 1948 and Adrid’s efforts to enhance awareness of Palestinian displacement, build communication between displaced persons, and promote the right of return. Al-J’mal also stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to raise awareness – of women, in particular – with respect to the rights of displaced Palestinians both inside Israel and throughout the Diaspora. Ms. Nasra then provided her own personal perspectives as the daughter of a family displaced from Qwikat in 1948.The group then met Hajj Abu Hatem Nasra, who’s family also fled from Qwikat village. Abu Hatem provided a detailed account of the eviction of Qwikat, the locations from which each family had been displaced, and the places in which they sought refuge. The group visited the local cemetery and then continued onward toward the village of Al-Ghabsiyye.
In Al-Ghabsiyye, former village resident Mr. Abu Badr presented his own experience of his family’s evacuation. The group toured the village cemetery and vistors were provided an opportunity to offer prayers at the mosque.
The partners of the initiative all emphasized the importance of learning about the history of Palestine’s destroyed villages and the multifold issues stemming from forced displacement. In an interview, women’s rights activist and Sulam group coordinator, Ms. Wafa Abu Salah, said, “This program has profound impact, raising our consciousness and helping us to better understand the issue of destroyed villages.” Another activist of the group, Ms. Najd A’alum, also asserted the need to continue educational programs of this type in order to increase women’s cultural awareness and foster deeper connections with their land and history.
Concerning the value of women’s participation in such programs, Ms. Towibah Majdoub commented, “The women of Kayan and the Jusur Forum of Arab Women Leaders believe in the importance of women’s active participation in all spheres of life. Strengthening political awareness within our community, we complement the development and institutionalization of the Arab women’s movement throughout the country. ”