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The WCLAC Bulletin - January 2017

WCLAC’s new Board of Directors – During its annual meetingon 17 January 2017, WCLAC’s General Assembly elected a new board of directors to serve a three-year term for the years 2017 – 2019. The new Board consists of nine members: six women and three men with four from the previous board and five new members. The General Assembly also welcomed seven new members who had been accepted to join the General Assembly. During the meeting, the General Assembly also approved WCLAC’s narrative and financial reports for 2016 as well as the 2017 budget and the corresponding Action Plan. Read more

A Chilean court rejects lawsuits against Israeli Supreme Court justices – On Friday 27 January 2017, a Chilean court rejected lawsuits against three Israeli Supreme Court justices  for endorsing the construction of the West Bank annexation wall and the seizure of lands and the property on them from Palestinians. Chile's Palestinian Federation filed a war crimes lawsuit last week against current Justices Uzi Vogelman and Neal Hendel and retired justice Asher Grunis, who was president of the court in 2012-15. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the stretch of the wall, built on land the international community considers occupied, has separated them from properties and farmland. The group argues that Chile's international agreements allow for suits to be brought in its courts involving crimes against humanity committed in other countries. Read more.

Prints of Palestine: When tradition meets modern fashion - Five distinctively Palestinian designs make up fashion designer Natalie Tahhan’s “Prints of Palestine” collection that shapes the Jerusalem-born designer’s brand. With her solo collection, Tahhan has set out to reinvigorate traditional Palestinian embroidery with contemporary and fashionable designs. Since she was a child, fashion and design have been part of Tahhan’s life. “I would fill up sketch books with little illustrations of clothes, and in school I was always really interested in art and design,” Tahhan told MEMO. “So naturally when I moved on to university, it was definitely something that I knew I wanted to do and pursue.” Read more 

Voice of a woman from Jerusalem - On 1 December 2016, mother of a 13 year old boy from Silwan finds out that her son was detained by Israeli police as he walked home from school. He was later accused of throwing stones and was put under house arrest for 5 days. “On 1 December 2016, at around12:30 p.m., I was home waiting for my son Mahdi (13) to come back home from school at the usual time. I started to worry when Mahdi didn’t show up. At around 2:20 p.m., I went out to the neighborhood and asked his schoolmates who told me Mahdi had left school on time.” “I informed my husband then called Mahdi’s teacher, the teacher told me that the Israeli police arrested a group of children in the area around two hours ago. I became extremely worried and afraid; I called my husband and at around 5:00 p.m. we both met in front of the police station, which is located in Salah Eddin Street in East Jerusalem.” Read more.

Haaretz - "The IDF's Civil Administration is carrying out Netanyahu’s vow to demolish the homes of Arabs with a vengeance". Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to settlers from the unauthorized outpost of Amona to enforce the law "equally" by demolishing the homes of Arabs is being strictly fulfilled. The number of Palestinian buildings demolished in the first week of January 2017 is almost four times as high as the weekly average for 2016: 20 structures. In 2015, the average was 10 structures a week, according to the records of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and security control, between the 2nd and 3rd of January, Israel authorities demolished 65 structures in Palestinian communities, and seven rainwater cisterns. The Jerusalem Municipality demolished another two homes in East Jerusalem. Some 151 people, including 90 children, lived in the buildings that were demolished. Read more

Training with the Palestinian General Union on UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security: WCLAC has completed its UNSCR 1325 training on women, peace and security with 70 women activists this January. The training that was a result of WCLAC and the General Union for Palestinian Women agreement enabled women activists and leaders in civil society organizations and community based organizations to receive training on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the national action plan and subsequent UNSCRS. This training is significant as women activists and leaders were empowered, through building their capacities in monitoring and documenting Israeli violations against Palestinian women, advocating for women’s rights in times of conflict and under occupation, and developing their capabilities to conduct advocacy campaigns at the international level. The advocacy campaigns would highlight the Israeli violations and urge the international community to take measures to make the occupying power accountable. Read more

Exemption of medical report fees for women victims of gender-based violence: On the 25th of January, the Palestinian Minister of Health Mr. Jawad Awad signed off a decision to exempt women victims of gender-based violence from all medical report fees at the time of the incident. This governmental decision was very well received among Human Rights organizations and women’s rights organizations in specific. In its official statement the Ministry of Health expressed: “This decision was made after consultation between MoWA, MoH and the Palestinian government as part of women’s rights protection strategy. The decision exempts women from medical fees in cases of GBV and also asks hospitals to follow up on women’s psychological and health conditions even after conducting the medical checks”. Read more

WCLAC signs a new MOU with Women Center Althawri Silwan:  As part of “Wujood” project for strengthening the resilience of vulnerable Palestinian communities in Jerusalem, WCLAC signed an MOU with the Women Center Althawri Silwan in order to build their capacities and strengthen services for local communities in East Jerusalem. Wujood is a 3 years project that works on strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities in East Jerusalem through targeting 5 communities including Silwan, the Old City of Jerusalem, Sur Baher, Esawiyyeh, and Al Tur. The demographics of this project are diverse as it targets women, men, youth, school and university students, parents and people with disabilities to enable them to respond to emergencies and to promote and strengthen their identity. Read more

WCLAC holds awareness-raising meetings for political parties and general unions: WCLAC held six awareness-raising workshops for 45 representatives of political parties and general unions on discriminatory laws and existing cultural factors in Palestine that contribute to increasing violence against women. The meetings, which were sponsored by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), have increased knowledge and capacities of political parties and unions on methods to advocate for women’s rights and to put this issue on the agendas of their parties and unions. As a result, these participants are expected to become catalysts for change in their communities and to advocate for women’s rights utilising the skills and knowledge they have acquired.