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Hebrew University
Dr. Rabah Halabi [Hebrew U] participated in a workshop "The Roles of Palestinian Intellectuals in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories"

The Roles of Palestinian Intellectuals in Israel and the Occupied
Palestinian Territories

Written by Ahmad Jaradat and Lubna Masarwa, Alternative
Information Center (AIC) 
Monday, 20 October 2008
The Alternative Information Center (AIC), in cooperation with the
al-Quds Open University – Hebron District, conducted a workshop
this weekend on the roles of Palestinian intellectuals in Israel and
the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Organized in the framework
of its From Alternative Information to Building Bridges Project, the
workshop was attended by 25 Palestinians, primarily professors and
lecturers from various universities in the OPT and Israel.    

Dr. Rabah Halabi from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened the
workshop with a review of the effects of the 1967 Israeli occupation
on the relations between Palestinians in Israel and the OPT. Halabi
argued that it is through the physical-military separation between the
two areas that psychological differences grew between the two groups
of Palestinians. Halabi also detailed how Israel implements
socio-economic policies that further drive a wedge between 1948 and
1967 Palestinians and have a detrimental impact on the identity of
Palestinians within Israel.     

Areen Hawari of the Alsiwar feminist movement in Haifa, raised the
question of Palestinian women’s rights within the OPT and
Israel, particularly highlighting the ignorance that exists concerning
their political and economic rights. Basing her presentation on the
recent doctoral research of Huneida Ghenaim, Hawari detailed how
Palestinian intellectuals from Israel have tended to neglect
women’s rights as they fight against the Israeli oppression of
Palestinians. A lively discussion ensued, in which the interaction
between national liberation and liberation of the individual was
examined in its theoretical and practical meanings. Together with the
participants, Hawari explored means to narrow the gap between the
theoretical understandings and practical implications for
women’s rights. Workshop participants further examined practical
steps for creating real and solid bridges between the women’s
organizations in the OPT and Israel.    

Finally, Dr. Noman Amro, Director of al-Quds Open University in the
Hebron District, raised the question of what roles intellectuals
should play in times of political and social crisis. Amro noted that
intellectuals should play a tangible role in generating social change
and improving the specific situation of various groups within society,
and not simply make due with describing what is happening.    

  Workshop participants were enthused about this meeting, noting how
crucial the 1948-1967 contacts are given that Palestinians in both the
OPT and Israel face policies of occupation and apartheid in different

Workshop facilitators, Ahmad Jaradat and Lubna Masarwa of the AIC,
were extremely pleased with the meeting and the strong needs it met.
“The participants requested that the AIC continue to facilitate
the meeting of these groups, adding new participants and helping to
build a group that can act to develop new critical thinking and a
common plan of action,” noted Masarwa, herself a feminist 1948
Palestinian social-political activist. “This workshop provided a
singular platform in which challenges and questions could be raised
and confronted,” added Jaradat, a political-social activist from
the Hebron area. “The goal of this project is to help
Palestinians, whether from the OPT or the areas of 1948, and Israelis
to identify their shared interests in changing the current situation
and facilitate the process for doing so. Today was a strong step
forward in this long-term process.”    

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    1.  Palestinian Intellectuals in Israel and
     From I. Barr , Sent in 12-11-2008
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