Occupied Jerusalem -

In 1966, the Palestinian Intissar Saadeh began the first stages of school education in her village, Al-Jib, northwest of occupied Jerusalem.

At that time, there was no female school in the village, so she received her basic education in a house that was designated as a school, which is Dar Ali Abdel Aal, and after she finished fifth grade, she had to move to study at the “Fatima al-Zahraa” school outside the village.

The school, which was located in a middle area between Intisar village and 6 other villages, was the only chance for girls to complete their education until the ninth grade, and she was one of the lucky ones who managed to do so.

But the journey from home to school was not easy for her and the rest of the girls who completed their basic education, so they had to cross this road on foot, in addition to adhering to the rules imposed on them as females.

Their school was adjacent to the "Union of the Pocket" school for boys, so they had to take different routes with different dates, so during her studies she did not meet the students of the male school on the road or around the school.

Researcher Wassan Qurman in simulating the journey of students in the sixties from home to school (Al-Jazeera)

Details and date

And Intisar’s path from her home to her school, as she remembers, was not just geography only, but rather a shorthand for the details of social life, which was what researcher Wasan Qurman was able to follow during her research “Preparations from Home for School,” which was part of the “Unseen Map” project supervised by the Popular Architecture Center. A gallery to restore the narrative of the social and cultural geography of rural Jerusalem.

Over the course of a year, through interviews and simulations of the journey of 18 residents of the two villages about the routes they followed during the 1960s and 1970s from their homes to their schools, the researcher tried to provide an understanding of the common history of these villages.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, she said that she was able to identify some of the features of social and environmental identity associated with geographical features at that time, compare them with what is currently on the ground and monitor changes due to the separation wall and occupation interventions.

"Most of the people I met from the village of Qalandia spoke of the strawberry of the town as part of their memory, which was the most important feature of the village's main entrance, where students gather to go to school, and after school to play and have fun under it," she added.

But now, through the tours that she made with those she met, this tutu has become an abandoned place after the entrance to the village was changed due to the construction of the wall separating it from the city of Jerusalem.

After completing the documentary research, Karaman, who studied the arts, embodied its results through a work of art.

The mulberry tree, the pomegranate tree, the cypress, which was on the outskirts of the rugged roads at the time, and was famous for that area, and the school bag, which was a cloth bag woven by mothers, attended it.

Part of the pictured map of the town of Al-Jib, the results of the oral and documentary research - Rwaq (Al-Jazeera)

recover geography

Through the second research on “The Geography of Pottery in Jerusalem between the Rural and Urban Void”, the architect, Dina Saqf Al-Hait, investigated over the course of a year, her work in the village of Al-Jib, the material found in the land of the village of Al-Jib, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, which made it the most important centers of the pottery industry in Palestine since the Bronze Age 1300 years ago.

This craft stopped after the death of the last women who used to make these pottery pots in 2011, and the occupation separated Jabal Al-Matayin, the source of the mud that characterizes the village behind the wall.

But what the Palestinian researcher found in her research, that the people were able to discover another source of this clay in the village is what made them revive this craft after its hiatus for more than 10 years.

The third research dealt with the history of Wadi Beit Hanina and its relationship with the residents of the town outside and inside the wall, which was implemented by the "Block" group, a group of Jerusalem architects and artists, who started their project spontaneously through tours in the valley during the spread of the Corona pandemic.

Researcher Dina Saqf Al-Hait in the exhibition of the results of her research on pottery in the town of Al-Jib (Al-Jazeera)

During these tours, they met with citizens and talked with them to discover a lot about the history of this valley, which has turned into a neglected and currently deserted area, so they redrawn this history by drawing a map for each tour documenting the history told about the place.

The architect, Areej Al-Ashhab, from the group, said that through this project, they were able to draw maps of the place as it was before, using what they were able to collect from the memory of the citizens, and everything related to it from tales, popular and social heritage and legends whose manifestations disappeared after the construction of a settlement bridge in the valley and isolating it from the world.

Al-Ashhab continued to Al-Jazeera Net, "According to what we have observed from the conversations of the citizens, this valley was one of the vital and important areas of the town of Beit Hanina, which was divided by the wall, but now its most important vital features have disappeared after the construction of settlements and settlement roads."

Odeh: The occupation has marginalized us as a nation and a people (Al-Jazeera)

reviving memory

The "Block" group project, which bore the name "Wadi Beit Hanina from the center of life to an isolated fringe", dealt with Beit Hanina as a single unit, projecting the current geographical reality created by the occupation by dividing the town and changing its features, and isolating part of it outside the wall. Which completely separated Israel from the city and deprived an entire generation of Palestinians to live in natural geographical contiguity.

The researcher in the history of Jerusalem, Jacob Odeh, who followed this project, spoke about the importance of focusing on the completely hidden Jerusalem countryside, behind the occupation plans that tried to redraw the map of Jerusalem in its countryside, limiting it to the city and its borders within the wall.

According to Odeh, over the years, the occupation was able to reduce the city of Jerusalem, which was a geographical unit that extended, including the city and its countryside, to the city within the separation wall.

"The occupation has marginalized us as a nation and a people, which holds us responsible for combating this marginalization by reviving the memory of Palestinian geography," Odeh said in his speech to Al Jazeera Net.

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