Upon initiative from civil society organizations, the 'Women's Call: One Country, One People, One Flag' conference demanding the immediate restoration of national unity and popular action to end the political division”, was held simultaneously in Ramallah and Gaza on Monday, June 25, 2015. The conference was held in light of the continued political division, which has lasted for over eight years, and the popular fear that this will turn into a complete separation, thus threatening the Palestinian national project. Furthermore, there is the dead end of political prospects and the escalating crimes of the Israeli occupation and its racist plans to uproot the Palestinians, all which require consolidated national efforts to confront the dangers facing the fate of the Palestinian people and its national cause.
This conference is a confirmation of the importance of the Palestinian women movement participation in political and social life and the embodiment of their historical and pioneer role in actively participating in the national liberation struggle against Israeli colonization of the occupied Palestinian territory. It is a reaffirmation of Palestinian women’s humanitarian and civic role in line with international agreements to which the state of Palestine in bound, including the CEDAW Agreement of 1979.
The conference included four panels discussion, where the participants discussed the dangers of the continued division on Palestinian society and on its national struggle against the Israeli occupation. They also reconfirmed the unity of the PLO’s representation of the Palestinian people everywhere. They stressed on the need for a structural framework to organize dialogue among all factions, in order to confront these challenges and to unify national efforts to continue the battle for national liberation and freedom from the Israeli occupation.
The conference particularly focused on the impact of the division on Palestinian women and the most pressing challenges and hindrances to their efforts to end this division. The participants stressed on women’s ability and readiness to create pressure, and advocate on the rivaling parties in order to seriously move forward in implementing the reconciliation agreement without further delay. They also called for reviving the committees for ending the division, including the social reconciliation committee and involving women in all of them.
Following the participants’ presentations and discussions, the conference closed with the following recommendations:
- Achieving Palestinian national reconciliation through the complete and immediate implementation of the Cairo Agreement in accordance with the Shati’ Declaration. Also, setting a date for presidential, legislative and PNC elections.
- Restoration of national unity as a priority and basis for continuing the struggle to end the occupation; also considering it the shorter path to reconstructing the Gaza Strip and breaking the Israeli siege, which requires enabling the national unity government to operate in the Gaza Strip and assume its responsibilities and duties; also to remove the obstacles facing the government‘s efforts in taking its responsibilities, and to address the employees issue according to the Cairo agreement.
- Seeking to achieve a social contract based on the concept of citizenship; ratifying women’s rights in political participation based on the declaration of independence and declaration for Palestinian women’s rights, approved by all parties in the women’s movement in Palestine.
- Halting all actions that harm the social fabric, including summons, political arrests, torture and the closure of associations and unions.
- An initiative from the women’s movement including all of its popular and civil organizations , to organize and support a peaceful, popular movement entitled: “Women are capable of restoring unity, reorganizing the Palestinian internal system ( house) and ensuring and securing freedoms”.
- Investing in the prisoners’ lobbying role and forming a national body of key figures to contribute to social lobbying towards ending the division.
- The General Union of Palestinian Women is to formulate a plan to mobilize Palestinian women and educate them on civic peace in order to develop peaceful action in confronting the division.
- Demanding from women’s and rights groups to provide legal support to protect women from all forms of violence and targeting, which women are subjected to because of their activities.
- Ensuring that the interests of the homeland prevail; achieving real national unity that will end all current disputes on the backdrop of the division; unifying civil and security institutions.
- Reaffirming the necessity of political pluralism in society; the participation of everyone, first and foremost Palestinian women in the construction and development process so that everyone can live in freedom and dignity according to the law and in a manner befitting of the people’s struggle and sacrifices.
- Ending the negative media exchanges and adopting a responsible media discourse that calls for national unity; reaffirming the role of the local media in promoting the values of tolerance and freedom of opinion and expression; forming a lobbying public opinion to end the division and investing in interactive methods for change and expression of national and social issues; renouncing factionalism, discrimination and fragmentation.
- Women’s groups and civil society institutions are called on to organize a campaign to influence figures or institutions that feed into the culture of division and intolerance.
- Spreading the concepts of tolerance and civic peace in school curricula; training the education sector on introducing concepts of reconciliation and tolerance in the educational process to create generations who believe in pluralism and acceptance of the other.
- A call for forming a national dialogue forum that includes all political factions and organizations and social forces in addition to the women’s movement.
- The organizers will form a committee as a result of the conference to follow up on the implementation of its recommendations.