Palestinian-Italian Summer Camp in Beit Sahour, August 2008
The activity was aimed at discussing four major topics and figure out methods for follow up on these topics. The topics were basically, Alternative Media, Nonviolence Fair Trade and the BDS, (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions).
The activity had two parts, political informational tours and seminar and discussions. The group toured different Palestinian areas through which the group met with a number of organizations, in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Hebron.
In Jerusalem the group had a tour with the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolition (ICAHD) who are specialized in organizing tours that shows the effect of settlements on the future of Jerusalem and the way Israel is controlling all aspects of life in the Palestinian areas in what ICAHD usually describe as "The Matrix of Control".
They also had a commemoration of Angelo Frammartino, a young Italian man who was killed by a Palestinian thief in Jerusalem in August 2006. The educational center that PCR established in 2008 was named after him upon request from the Italian donors, A La Calle.
The Italian activists had also visited Ramallah and met with some of the active groups in the area. They had a meeting with a representative of the Palestinian People's Party, after which they visited the village of Bilin and met with members of the popular committee against the wall and settlements in the village.
The group then has a meeting with the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Jerusalem and listened to an explanation about the work of the organization.
The first day was about the BDS, a campaign launched in 2005, by the civil society organizations in Palestine calling for boycotting Israel and promoting divestment and calling for sanctions against Israel until it abides by International law.
Hazem Jamjoum from Badil Resource Center began the first day with a brief historic introduction to familiarize Italian attendees with the forces that led to the present conditions of occupation over the past hundred years. He then outlined strategies that ordinary Palestinians and citizens throughout the world can implement to bring about change and at the same time send a message to Israel that repressive policies that deny human rights and strangle the rights of Palestinians can not be tolerated.
The second part of the day was focused on Fair Trade, as a way to support Palestinian farmers and to support the BDS campaign. Nadia Harb from the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) gave a detailed presentation about fair trade and the work they do in PARC in this field.
Nadia said a resurgence of the 1987 program of promoting self-sufficiency during time of siege would be beneficial. During the Intifada, seeds had been provided to families suffering from closures and curfews and there was concerted effort to bring the community together for the mutual benefit for all. After Oslo in 1995, Nadia's role changed. Women's rights and education became the focus. She worked to change laws and develop pressure groups and to elect more women in public office.
The group then paid a visit to the nearby Deheishe refugee camp and met with activists from Ibdaa Cultural center who explained to them about the work of the center and the activities they organize for the youngsters in the camp.
The Second Day was focused on Civil Disobedience. In the morning the group held a workshop about civili disobedience as a method to resist in justice. In the afternoon session, Dr. Jad Isaac, Director of the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) also one of the founders of the Rapprochement Center gave the group a detailed presentation about the experience of the civil disobedience and the Tax Boycott in Beit Sahour during the first intifada.
In the Third Day a workshop about media activism occupied all the morning session. The workshop was facilitated and run by PCR' Director George Rishmawi. The focus of the workshop was mainly on the role of independent media in revealing the truth about the Palestine-Israel conflict. PCR's media project, The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) was the focus of the discussion.
In the afternoon, the group met with Israeli Journalist and Activist Amira Hass at Osh Ghrab site in Beit Sahour. Amira Hass also spoke about her experience and the role of media in the conflict.
On the fourth day, the day started with a nonviolence training to prepare the group to participate in the nonviolent action in the nearby Al-Masara village in Bethlehem. The group were given the basic information needed to participate in the action, including, but not limited to, the type of the action they are going to join, the problem the village is facing from the wall and the nonviolent tactics to face soldiers violence, in addition to safety precautions in case of being injured or exposed to tear gas or sound bombs.
The group participated in two actions in the afternoon, one in Al-Masara and one in Al-Khader village. They made it to Al-Quds newspaper in their action in Al-Masara carrying a Palestinian Flag and and a sign calling for nonviolence.
Among the other activities the group had in Beit Sahour was a barbecue evening and a football game at Osh Ghrab public park.