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The WCLAC Bulletin - March 2017

WCLAC delivers oral statement at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council – On 20 March 2017, WCLAC’s Program Director delivered an oral statement on behalf of WCLAC during the General Debate under Item 7 at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. WCLAC’s statement highlighted the impact of repeated night raids conducted by the Israeli military on Palestinian women highlighted the fact that evidence collected by WCLAC shows that on average, night raids occur in locations within 2 Kilometers from a settlement or a road used by settlers. WCLAC’s statement called for an immediate end to Israel’s settlement policy as settlements constitute grave breaches of international law. Video recording

State of Palestine submits its first report to the CEDAW Committee – On 8 March 2017, Palestinian minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Riyad Malki, submitted the first official report by the State of Palestine to the CEDAW Committee. The report was submitted to Mr. James Heenan, the Head of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied territory. On 1 April 2014, the Palestinian Authority started the legal process of acceding to 15 international instruments including the four Geneva Conventions and the CEDAW convention which the Palestinian Authority acceded to without reservations. Read the report in Arabic

Palestinian female writer from Jerusalem arrested over her novel - Israeli authorities detain Palestinian writer Khalida Ghusheh on Saturday morning after raiding her home in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina in occupied East Jerusalem. Ghusheh’s manager Amani Abd al-Karim said that Israeli police had raided Ghusheh’s home, before detaining her and transporting her to a police station in the illegal Israeli settlement of Neve Yaqoub near the Beit Hanina. Al-Karim added that Ghusheh called her after arriving to the interrogation center, informing her that she was in need of a lawyer and said that the reason for her detention was related to her novel scheduled to be published in October. The novel, titled “The Jackal’s Trap,” explores Palestinian collaborators with the Israeli occupation. Read more

Israeli soldiers’ raid the house mother from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem at 3:00am - Hania is a 45-year-old mother of two children aged 13 and 22 from Kafr 'Aqab in East Jerusalem. “On 8 February 2017, at around 3:00 a.m., my husband and I woke up to the sound of a loud explosion. I got dressed quickly then we all went to the living room where I was shocked to see about 20 Israeli soldiers in full military gear spread all over the house. Some of them had camouflage mud on their faces. I then realised they had blown up the front door and entered the house. A soldier asked me and my daughter Razan (13) to enter the bedroom; I refused so he pushed me and I fell on the ground. I was hurt but I had to stand up and enter the room, Razan was shivering of fear.” Read more

The Culture of Agriculture: Saving the DNA of Palestinian Heritage - “I don’t like labels,” Vivien Sansour firmly told me. “I don’t know how to label myself,” she admitted. Deciding to leave herself unbound, she characterized her work as “more agricultural—I’m interested in the culture of agriculture.” Sansour, originally from Beit Jalla, left for the U.S. once she turned 18 and studied anthropology at East Carolina University. Her work has consistently gravitated to agriculture—its culture, its history, and its disappearance. From California and Uruguay to Peru and Palestine, Sansour has dedicated herself to sharing the stories of farmers, tapping the riches of elder-knowledge, preserving the seeds of our history, and reviving the dwindling agricultural “DNA of our heritage”. Read more   

WCLAC contributes to the United Nations 61st Session of the Commission on Status of Women: Together with 45 member states of United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), WCLAC participated both as an independent NGO and as a part of the official Palestinian delegation in the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CWS61) that took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from the 13th to the 24th of March 2017. The main theme of the session was women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. Together with the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Haifa Al-Agha, WCLAC played an important role in the session, especially when the discussion shed light on the recent Report of the Secretary-General, 'The situation of, and assistance, to Palestinian women.’ Several parallel events were held besides the official 10-days program. WCLAC participated in several of these governmental and non-governmental events, and also took part in organizing two of the parallel events. One of them was held by the Minister of Women’s Affairs in Palestine in cooperation with UN Women, and the other was facilitated by WCLAC. The parallel event WCLAC facilitated discussed the challenges of integrating economic- and social empowerment under UNSCR1325 in Palestine under Israeli occupation. Read more

WCLAC launches survey in cooperation with partner organisation on the International Women’s day: WCLAC and Jericho Women’s Charitable Society (JWCS) held an event on the 25th of March to celebrate the International Women’s Day, where a survey about the level and type of gender-based violence (GBV) against women in the governorate of Jericho and the Jordan Valley was launched. The survey, that was funded by Drosos and done by Mr. Ziyad Othman in collaboration with WCLAC, questioned what types of violence women in the governorate suffer from and which services are available for them. The survey had four major findings; the first was the wrongly implementation of economic empowerment of women and concluded that there must be a larger focus on the individual next to a specific guideline on how to economically empower women. Secondly, the survey found that women are economically forced to work in Israeli settlements, and face unfair payments due to lack of Worker’s Rights that does not apply to Palestinians who work in settlements. The third finding the survey shed light on was the GBV within the socially clan-nomadic system in many places of the governorate. Women’s behaviour is strictly controlled, which often leads to wives being portrayed as a 'production tool’, denial of women’s right to inheritance and marrying of minor girls. Lastly, the survey expressed the lack of collaboration between media and the Women’s Institutions, which makes it difficult to change the status quo within the society.   

WCLAC celebrates International Women’s Day together with UN Women and the British Consulate in East Jerusalem - As part of the British Consulate in East Jerusalem’s campaign #IWD2017, a joint event of musical and dance performances was hosted, as well as TED style talks from inspirational Palestinian women in cooperation with WCLAC and UN Women. The evening event was attended by a wide variety of international audiences, mainly women. All the revenue of the ceremony went to WCLAC’s partner CBO Women’s Centre Al-Thawri Silwan in East Jerusalem. Video summary

United Nation commission calls Israel’s behaviour towards Palestine apartheid –On the 15th of March, a report from the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) was launched. The report was compiled at the request of 18 Arab countries, and summarizes Israel’s aggression towards Palestinians with the conclusion of Israel as an Apartheid State.  The conclusion is based on a number of studies that e.g. address the suppression of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the discrimination Palestinians in East Jerusalem are exposed to, the inhumane treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the ignored desire among Palestinian refugees to return to their home in Historical Palestine. However, the report has met wide resistance, mainly from the United States of America, forcing ESCWA to withdraw the report from its webpage. The international awareness that the report has raised is nevertheless a progress in the steps towards ending the Israeli aggression against Palestinians and ultimately an independent Palestinian state. Read the report

WCLAC marks International Women’s Day: To mark the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, WCLAC led multiple activities in partnership with its local partners and grassroots in different cities within the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A series of conferences were held in Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus under the theme “Adopting a new penal law that provides protection to women”. The conferences discussed the Penal Law and its ramifications on women and the draft of the Family Protection Law. The conferences were attended by a large number of participants from diverse backgrounds from police departments, public prosecution office, governorates, General Union of Palestinian Women and others. Additionally, WCLAC’s office in Hebron participated in and coordinated a number of activities in the governorate to advocate for the rights of female prisoners and house demolitions.