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Internship with the Al Quds University Legal Clinic, May/June, 2018

al-quds-logoIn May/June, MPhil student Benjamin Potash took up an internship in Palestine at the Al Quds University Human Rights Clinic in the Old City of Jerusalem. Ben overcame stiff competition to be awarded the internship opportunity. The internship programme, established by Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne and cemented through the signing of an international MOU (the first of its kind between TCD and a Palestinian organisation) is now into its third year and is facilitated by Dr Browne's colleagues in Palestine, Dr Munir Nuseibah (director of the legal clinic), Ms Nada Awad and Mr. Osama Al Risheq. Their work involved documenting human rights abuses against Palestinians in the greater Jerusalem area, recording affidavits, and conducting research on international law to be incorporated into future publications. Sam and Hayden's personal reflections can be read below. Applications for the 2019/20 internships will be accepted in due course.

Personal Reflection: Ben Potash

Interning with the Al Quds Human Right’s Center in Jerusalem is an incredible learning and growth opportunity, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in conflict resolution, peace studies, or international law. The Al Quds team is an extraordinary group of Palestinian Jerusalemites – a mixture of academics, activists, and lawyers from a variety of backgrounds that are also amazing teachers. This was my fourth visit to the region and, with guidance from the staff at the Community Action Center (CAC) in the Old City and their network, my understanding of Jerusalem and the Palestinian experience there grew by leaps and bounds. As interns our education was taken very seriously, with staff generously sharing time for personal, professional, and academic discussions. At work we were treated as adults that could contribute practically to the functions of the CAC, and were given the freedom to figure out how each individual could best contribute.

My work with the CAC was focused on advocacy and writing, utilizing my academic skills and perspective as an American living abroad. Much of my time was spent contributing to a large-scale research report on collective punishment of Palestinians in Jerusalem as well as CAC statements addressing timely political events. Working with the CAC on projects like this entailed meetings and collaboration with other local Palestinian NGOs, greatly increasing the depth and breadth of my contacts in the community and knowledge of the issues. All interns became familiar with issues of international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as concerns specific to refugees, prisoner’s rights, UN missions in the area, and more. During our time in Jerusalem we witnessed Israeli Independence Day, Jerusalem Day, the moving of the US Embassy, commemoration of the Nakba and Naksa, Lag Ba’omer, and Ramadan to name just some of what was happening around us. Working in the CAC provided perspective and context on all of these, and many of them found their way into our daily work.

Following many of the interns before me, I was able to stay at the Kenyon Institute in Sheikh Jarrah. The institute is a perfect setting for getting work done, meeting academics focused on a variety of issues in the area, and to get a taste of life in occupied eastern Jerusalem. The Kenyon can also provide a bit of calm when the emotion and intensity of the city and work start to weigh on you, something that proved invaluable. I can’t recommend this internship opportunity highly enough. This year’s faculty can put us in touch if you have specific questions you’d like to discuss me.

Last updated 13 February 2019 by Irish School of Ecumenics (Email).