In cooperation with the Centre for Muslim Minorities and Islam Policy Studies of Monash University in Melbourne Australia, Zajel Youth Exchange Program organized a video conference for Monash students to hear first hand the views and experiences of the occupation and the conflicts in the Middle East from students from An-Najah National University.
Kylie Baxter, lecturer of the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash introduced a group of her students, whilst Alaa Yousef reciprocated from the Nablus end and commenced the presentations from An-Najah.
Lucy Royal-Dawson, the Coordinator of the Right to Education Campaign at the Public Relations Department of An-Najah National University, briefed the audience on how the occupation hinders the process of education for thousands of students and staff throughout the country. She noted that the daily humiliations endured by students are fast becoming normal when the abusive practices of the occupation are a far cry from anybody’s normality.
Saed Abu Hijleh, human and political geographer and lecturer of the Geography Department gave a short historical overview of situation in Palestine and he spoke about the importance of building bridges between nations. He said, ‘I truly believe that the truth about Palestine should be spread’. He added, ‘Palestinians are peace lovers and they believe in justice but there is no peace without justice. The international community should understand the situation and that we are under occupation.’
Mira Nabulsi, active volunteer in the Zajel Youth Exchange Program, spoke about Zajel’s approach to reaching the international community through projects such as video conferences, the International Summer Work camps, study visits and international speaking tours. She welcomed the students of Monash to be active in Zajel.
Students from Monash then posed questions to An-Najah students on a range of topics including the level of contact with people in Gaza, the degree of support for the political factions, the impact of the Israeli war in Lebanon on the political landscape in the West Bank and Gaza and the viability of the one-state and two-state solutions. An-Najah students addressed these questions and also gave personal accounts of the difficulties they endure living under occupation.
Chris Staples, a British visitor to the Occupied Territories, spoke about his experience while traveling across the country. He added that people are not aware of what is happening here in Palestine. He asked Australians to come to Palestine and witness the truth and to show Palestinians that they are not forgotten.