Taghyeer (Change) Palestinian National Nonviolence Movement
Empowering Palestinian Communities in the Face of Occupation
At the August 30 U.S. Zoom Town Hall, Palestinian leaders took on participant questions on Taghyeer's vision and work; nonviolence, youth, and the context of violence by Palestinians in the conflict; the role of the P.A. and Taghyeer, the political future and disunity; and on the ground programs, women making change, nonviolence education, the partnership with Rawabi - and how people in the U.S. can support Taghyeer through Friends of Taghyeer Movement.
Highlights from the Taghyeer Movement Zoom Town Hall
Ali Abu Awwad spoke of the confusion of identities, anger and despair among Palestinians under occupation and under a governing "authority" that is not a state. Taghyeer offers training and support to local leaders and activists, in its nationwide Messengers of Change program developing actions of social change and self-development with their communities. Under the guidance of the Nonviolence Charter, they partner with other organizations to build a mass movement of resistance. Such actions of moral purpose -- standing up and taking responsibility for changing conditions and living a nonviolent identity -- is the path of dignity and strength in the struggle for freedom.
Siham Fayyad spoke of her work with the Taghyeer Women's Leadership Program. There are "layers of pressure" on women, a sense of changing roles that have developed since Oslo and a wide recognition of Palestinian women's power and leadership ability, but not satisfactory space to practice that leadership. Taghyeer believes that it is men who must be educated about women's rights, and women's leadership given the respect and place in leadership to make real change. Siham and the Forum are providing training and resources to women from villages, towns and cities to expand the space in their communities (where they already lead) to take responsibility for campaigns and projects they create, and to take leadership positions in the Taghyeer Movement.
Muhanad Kharaz spoke of the challenges and layers of complexity of working under covid and how Taghyeer stepped up in this unanticipated circumstance -- first finding a way during closure to get food supply to an isolated village cut off between Bethlehem and Jerusalem; building a West Bank food program in which local Messengers of Change identified food security needs and delivered parcels to hundreds of families; a partnered program to assist chronically ill Palestinians needing safe hospital treatment with PPE and support; and PPE for front-liners, disinfection and community covid awareness campaigns, food security needs in the South Hebron Hills, home garden project -- and the piloting of a larger agricultural program for food and income and steadfastness on the land threatened by settler encroachment. Projects are being developed which access Palestinians to their rights and build democracy in municipal voting - and as covid wanes re-building the full on the ground Messengers of Change social agenda enabling the goal of Palestinians waking up every morning more connected to their community and society.
Background of the Movement
In 2016, Ali Abu Awwad and Taghyeer Movement co-founders gathered more than 3000 Palestinians in Jericho to share a dream and a vision. "Together, we can build a grassroots movement through nonviolence in action to better Palestinian lives and forge a path to freedom." Since then - village by village, embattled community by embattled community - Taghyeer has been equipping hundreds of emerging Palestinian leaders and activists to build trust and capacity for independent self-development projects in and with their communities. Through asserting nonviolent identity - Taghyeer is combatting despair, fragmentation, and the denial of rights.
By the summer of 2019, Taghyeer leadership and its local coordinators were coalescing around two flagship efforts and a major strategic planning exercise to reach deeply into Palestinian society.
1. "Messengers of Change" -- the core group of Palestinian leaders and activists who are the carriers of Taghyeer's Vision, Mission and Values. Workshops and training equip emerging leaders (especially women) to work with other Palestinian activists to engage with communities on the West Bank to determine their priority social and development needs, to identify responses to those needs, and to implement community self-development projects under the Taghyeer umbrella.
2. "The Palestinian Nonviolence Charter" -- a statement of purpose and identity for Palestinian individuals and organizations, which will be workshopped, refined and signed throughout Palestine. It aims to build unity among Palestinians in support of national nonviolent resistance to occupation.
Taghyeer in the Field: Exemplary Grassroots Partners and Activities
- The Women's Association of Jubbet ad-Dhib organized its isolated village (surrounded by three settlements) to overcome lack of access to water, electricity, education and basic opportunities. Backed up by a Taghyeer-facilitated Palestinian support network, this struggle for services, spearheaded by the Woman's Association, has turned the village into a hub of nonviolent development in the area -- protecting and developing the elementary school and village solar panels; providing a health clinic; and responding to ongoing water emergency.
The Youth of Sumud in South Hebron Hills established Sumud Freedom Camp to bring international support to cave dwellers and other Palestinians in the area, and to offer a measure of nonviolent direct protection to those threatened by demolitions and encroachments. Iftars bringing together hundreds of Palestinians with youth activists and their supporters were organized with the Taghyeer network. Taghyeer activists are partnering with Sumud to develop the Freedom Garden in al-Twani as a hub for community engagement and place of respite and activity for this embattled area.
- The Nablus Taghyeer Group began less than two years ago when a social worker-led group of three women found an outlet for their community activism as they met with Taghyeer leadership. Taghyeer then provided mission development and nonviolence identity workshops, and an action group of more than 50 women and men was built. In this past six months, they've carried out workshops empowering women's stories through photography which were linked to a mass action to begin reclaiming a severely deteriorated Nablus central park and are now identifying potential community greening and restoration projects, and more.
Taghyeer Field Coordinators in 13 geographic areas around the West Bank (among them Nablus, al-Twani, and Jubbet ad-Dhib) are working with the core community organizers in Taghyeer leadership to deepen the impact of the work of the Messengers of Change and the Nonviolence Charter within Palestinian society.
Friends of Taghyeer Movement in the US is committed to supporting Taghyeer (Change) Palestine!