After meeting at the Friends Boys School, Go Palestine Camp traveled to Najah University in Nablus. The representatives of the university welcomed us warmly and told us about the success of the institution in the Middle East as well as provided information of what the school offers in terms of post-graduate studies. Najah University is ranked 6th in the Middle East, offering degrees that range from medicine to fine arts. After we learned about the university, we took a tour of the campus, which allowed us to see the rolling hills of Nablus as well as take a tour of their small museum of artifacts.
We later went to Balata refugee camp to learn about the history of the camp, the struggles of daily life, and the steps we can take as Palestinians to change the situation. We then took a tour of the camp, and the students were shocked about the quality of life of the refugees. The buildings were so condensed that the campers had to walk in a single file line down some of their main roads.Afterwards, we went back to the Yaffa Center and watched a short documentary about two young men who had a passion about photography and film and the necessity for documenting their lives in the camp. Finally, the students learned Dabka with members of the camp and then watched them perform.
After this, Go Palestine Camp went to St. Jacob’s Well and Church. They were told the history of the sacred well and drank water from it. Later, we went to the Tomorrow’s Youth Organization and took a tour. We learned about classes that focus on empowering women to make changes in their lives at home, and the different opportunities offered for children of Balata Refugee Camp to learn, play, and ultimately, cope with the deteriorating conditions of the camp, after this, students were ready for a delicious meal.
To finish off the day, we went to Mesha village and met with the Amer family. The family used to own the entire hill before 1948, but since then, the Israelis destroyed and stole his crops and decided to build a wall less than 20 ft from the house. Currently, their home is trapped between a wall and a settlement, and there is virtually no way they can leave without being monitored by the IDF. Hanni Amer talked about his determination to stay on his land as well as the retaliation he has gotten from Israeli settlers and soldiers for simply living on what was left of his land. He stated that he “would not trade one grain of his land, not even one atom, for the world or even the universe,” when speaking about Israel’s attempts to remove him from his house. The campers then bought soap, oil, and accessories from his wife and went to the roof to get a full view of the settlement, the wall, and the gates surrounding the house.