Resist to Exist | Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine

Sumud means “steadfastness” or “steadfast perseverance” and refers to the Palestinians’ capacity to resist. Sumud is a pivotal term within the dialectic of oppression and resistance.


Nabi Saleh is a village of about 500 inhabitants located at 21 km from Ramallah. The area is mainly agricultural land and covers approximately 4,800 dunas. The illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, which lies in the southern part of Nabi Saleh, hosts about 1,054 settlers and was funded in 1977. Since then it has been expanding, stealing 250 dunums of private Palestinian owned land.

In 1978, the inhabitants of Nabi Saleh presented a complaint to the High Israeli Court against the confiscation of their land. It was sentenced that the lands should have been returned to the original owners, but as it often happens in cases of illegal appropriation of OPTs land, the decision was never enforced.

In 2009, the settlers feeling confident by the gained impunity, they expropriated the land around the natural spring of ‘Ain al-Qaws. The Israeli Occupation Forces forbid the access to the water source to Palestinians, allowing the entrance to settlers.

The on going land grabbing, the lack of legal protection and endured violence pushed the inhabitants of Nabi Saleh to react. Since 2009, every Friday, they stage a nonviolent demonstration against the expansion of the illegal Halamish settlement, the confiscation of their land and of the oppressive occupation system in its whole. Taking inspiration from the first intifada, which was a popular uprising, Nabi Saleh aims to forge its own model of resistance which doesn’t necessary fit in the western definition of nonviolence or peaceful. The strength of this movement resides in the fact that’s popular therefore inclusive, anyone can participate contributing according to theirs skills and will.