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A Vision for Palestinian Womens Rights Organizations based on the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325
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Date posted: October 07, 2017
By MIFTAH

Fatah Central Committee member in charge of the reconciliation file, Azzam Al Ahmad reaffirmed his full support for womens participation as members of the reconciliation committees for ending the Fatah/Hamas division, promising to include them in all of the committees and files. Ahmads pledge was made in response to demands by women leaders to involve the womens shadow committee Wifaq in all legal and political committees and not to limit their participation in women-only issues, especially since the repercussions of the division on women affected them more than others.

The speakers at MIFTAHs training workshop cited memos in this regard, which called for understanding this demand given that the division, both political and social, requires a broader dialogue on social issues regarding women. They argued that women are the most capable of putting their issues on the dialogue table, of determining their social and political agenda and setting their own priorities, which must include a social contract that guarantees the rights of all individuals and respects the principles of social justice.

Ahmads pledge was made during a training workshop on transformative leadership, which MIFTAH organized in cooperation and coordination with the Elections Support Project/ Negotiations Affairs Department and which is part of MIFTAHs Promoting womens participation in peace building and security project. The training workshop ran for three days and aimed at enabling the Wifaq womens shadow committee to carry out its pioneer role in efforts to achieve civic peace and national reconciliation, to increase and revive the role of civil society institutions and the womens coalition for Resolution 1325 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and in supporting womens representation in national dialogue circles.

While showcasing the reconciliation file and efforts being made to end the division, Ahmad stressed on the pivotal role of women in all files, including social reconciliation. He expressed hope that they would have an active role in these issues, calling on factions to involve women and include them in the various committees.

Ahmad also said he was optimistic about the recent developments towards achieving reconciliation. What we have been able to achieve so far under Egyptian sponsorship is much different from all the previous understandings, he explained, clarifying that there had only been one reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas on May 4, 2011 and that no other agreement had followed, contrary to popular rumor. He maintained that the division was a non-Palestinian creation, which was actually the manifestation of Ariel Sharons vision for redeployment. He also said there were certain unnamed Arab parties that had and continued to support the division, and that the recently declared understandings were the final opportunity to achieve reconciliation.

Ahmad then broached all of the other reconciliation files including those pertaining to government employees, crossings and security services, saying that according to the agreement, they would be subject to the civil service law. He maintained that the only guarantee for achieving reconciliation is the people, stressing on the need for the Palestinians from all walks of life to contribute to playing a major role in ending the division.

In a recent statement, the womens shadow committee welcomed the latest steps taken by Fatah and Hamas, deeming them positive and necessary steps to end the division. The statement said these steps would help reunite PA institutions, move towards renewing the structure and legitimacy of representative institutions by first and foremost, holding general elections, renewing the structure of the PNC and capping off these efforts with a unified leadership, or the PLO, as representative of all the Palestinian people.

The statement urged political forces to continue working towards: regaining and cementing national unity; continuing efforts to unify PA institutions; searching for solutions to the problems that arose from the division; guaranteeing a unifying law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through one judicial system; reuniting security services and official monitoring institutions; and reviving the role of the PNC in a way that would guarantee the freedom and dignity of Palestinian citizens through the participation of everyone, women in particular. Women, the statement said, had been largely affected by the ramifications of the division in addition to its threats to their safety and security, which increased the range of responsibilities they were forced to assume.

The statement reaffirmed the need to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation through the full and immediate implementation of the Prisoners Document for national conciliation and all agreements signed between political forces in Cairo in 2011 in accordance with the Shati Agreement. It also called for setting a date for presidential, legislative and PNC elections and for providing the necessary climate to ensure their success and integrity. This was confirmed in the statement released by the Womens Call conference in June 2015, which represented all womens parties and groups and which sought to achieve a social contract based on the idea of citizenship and the endorsement of womens rights to political participation. This was based on the Declaration of Independence and the Document on Palestinian Womens Rights, approved by all womens movements in Palestine.

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