Palestinian PM Prepares Legislation Ensuring Social Equality for Women

A woman walks past a mural in Gaza City

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has pledged to issue legislation that aims to empower women and allow them to enjoy social equality.

“The Palestinian woman plays a great role in the development process in the local community,” he said in a recorded speech on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8.

“We are proud of the levels women have reached in professions. They have become doctors, engineers, writers, entrepreneurs and business women.”

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee Saeb Erekat recalled stages of the Palestinian women’s struggle in the Palestinian Territories.

He saluted women held in Israeli prisons and mothers of the martyrs, expressing Palestine’s pride in them and their sacrifices to achieve “the legitimate rights of our people to gain sovereignty of the state according to the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said Israeli occupation is the main obstacle hindering women from achieving their rights and self-reliance and integrating in the development process of their society.

The ministry stressed the importance of immediate cessation of all measures that are inconsistent with international law, as well as discriminatory legislation, policies and procedures committed by Israel against Palestinian women and girls, who are the most affected by its policies, crimes and racist practices.

It noted that in 2019, nine Palestinian women and 28 children were killed by Israeli forces. A total of 732 women and 227 girls were injured in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

Since March 30, 2018, more than 2,000 women and 600 children were injured during the peaceful return marches in the Gaza Strip. Some inhaled tear gas and others were hit by live or rubber bullets fired by the Israeli troops.

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

Gaza Health Ministry Advises Citizens Against Leaving The Enclave

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The health ministry in the Gaza Strip has advised Palestinian citizens not to leave the enclave and asked them to take necessary precautions so as not to get infected with the coronavirus.

The ministry, in a statement distributed to citizens on Saturday, said that unless there is urgent need for travel citizens should not leave the Strip for the time being.

It added that all those returning to the Strip via the Rafah border crossing will be held in quarantine out of keenness on safety of all residents.

No cases of coronavirus were detected in Gaza while 16 cases were reported in the West Bank.

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, 43 PALESTINIAN WOMEN DETAINED BY ISRAEL

Ramallah (QNN) – The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said on the occasion of the International Women’s Day that there are 43 Palestinian women incarcerated in Israel for resisting the Israeli occupation of their land.

PPS said 27 of the women have been sentenced to various terms, the highest is 16 years for Shurouq Dwayat, from occupied East Jerusalem, and Shatilla Abu Ayyad.

It said that 16 of the women prisoners are mothers, four held in administrative detention for various period without charge or trial and based on secret evidence, and eight were shot and wounded by soldiers before they were detained.

The PPS said one of wounded women is Isra Jaabis, 35, a mother of one child from Jerusalem who was arrested in October 2015 after a gas cylinder exploded in her car near an Israeli army checkpoint that caused her 60% burns on her body, mutilation, and amputation of eight fingers. She was also sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The PPS said Israel detained more than 16,000 Palestinian women since its occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in June 1967.

It said the women prisoners undergo heavy interrogation and torture during detention to force them to sign confessions

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

CORONAVIRUS SITUATION UPDATES

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(Last update: 6 March 2020)

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is carefully monitoring the situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19, or 2019-nCoV) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Israel and Lebanon. We are currently engaged in contingency planning with regards to potential impacts on our programmes and the need for additional support to health services, and will update supporters as this develops. We will also update supporters with any relevant changes to fundraising challenge events as necessary.

SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY AND ISRAEL

Currently there are seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territory. The latest local updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) are available on their website here.

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced a 30-day “state of emergency” on 5 March, closing schools, restricting non-essential travel between areas, and canceling foreign tourist reservations and international conferences. MAP has therefore suspended visiting medical missions to the West Bank for this period.

There are 16 confirmed cases in Israel. The latest global updates from the WHO are available here.

SITUATION IN LEBANON

Currently there 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lebanon. The latest local updates from the WHO are available on their website here.

MAP’s community midwives are taking precautionary preventive measures including hand washing, antiseptic lotions, and gloves, and are conducting individual health education sessions for beneficiaries. They have already received hard copies of the WHO printed corona virus material and are reporting daily to our Maternal and Child Health centres and visiting beneficiaries in the camps as usual.

TRAVEL AND HEALTH ADVICE

The latest travel advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding COVID-19 is available on their website here.

The WHO’s health and prevention advice to the public is available here, and advice from NHS England here.

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

What is the Big Deal? Why Palestinians reject “the Deal of the Century”

 By Rev. Dr. Jack Sara

As a Palestinian Christian living and serving on both sides of the Separation Wall, I live with the people on the ground.  Being a native of Jerusalem has given me the advantage of understanding how Jerusalem residents think, and serving in the West Bank for many years has given me an understanding how West Bankers think. On both sides of the wall, sadly, Palestinians continue to drown in an atmosphere of uncertainty, unfulfilled promises and crushed hopes.

Deal after deal and agreement after agreement has made our people dull and suspicious of anything that is proposed. If we look back at the former peace treaties and proposed partition plans, the losers have always been the Palestinians.  We have never gained from any of these plans, only lost more.  For example, the partition plan under the United Nations shrunk the Palestinian portion of land to about 43% of our homeland, though the number of Arabs at the time was almost twice that of Jews. In succeeding wars and peace accords, we lost even more land, resources and rights.  Through the years that followed, we were given proposals such as Oslo and Camp David, both of which—from our perspective—required greater compromise on our part without making equal requirements from the Israelis.  We feel that international peace plans have generally always been biased towards Israel, but none moreso than the latest plan from the White House.

Now, we have been offered a deal from the Trump Administration which the president calls “The Deal of the Century.”  This plan is basically asking for another huge compromise from the Palestinians; allowing Israel to annex about 30% of the West Bank (which is in itself only 22% of our original homeland) and pushing us increasingly into the margins. Trump’s plan cuts all throughout the Palestinian territories, making it look like Swiss cheese—with the disconnected “holes in the cheese” being Palestine.  The non-contiguous land will be connected by tunnels and “safe roads” which will be controlled mainly by Israel.  It is a future of more checkpoints and closures, our freedom micromanaged by another people.

I am sure that aspects of the “peace plan” are more complex than what I have mentioned so far.  I am also willing to acknowledge that from some points of view the plan might offer a few positive things for the Palestinian people.   Nevertheless, a few economic proposals do not to do much to alleviate the larger loss, subjugation and humiliation that this plan imposes upon us.

Taken as a whole, the plan reminds me of a verse uttered through the prophet Micah:

“Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, for it is in the power of their hands. They covet fields and then seize them, and houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, a man and his inheritance” (Micah 2:1-2).

Having a plan without the involvement of the people who have lived in the land for centuries is not a plan at all — it’s a setup.  It is an ironic plan that was disrespectfully imposed on us without even asking us of our own opinions.

My friends, when President Trump announced the plan were there any Palestinian leaders with him on stage? Did he make a statement that this is what the Israelis and the Palestinian leaders have agreed upon?  No!  To us, this plan was nothing more than a scheme cooked up by two leaders who are facing their own political pressures: one with a trial over corruption and another who wants to make a business deal.

We are concerned that this matter will continue to deteriorate the already-precarious situation here.  Among other things, it will inflict a greater sense of hopelessness upon our people.  And unless something changes, it will continue to facilitate the depletion of Christian citizens from Palestine.

Many people may not know this, but most of the lands that were confiscated around the Bethlehem Governate—which includes three major Palestinian cities, Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala—have a majority of Palestinian Christians living in them. This so-called “peace plan” will increase the loss of these Palestinian Christian lands.  How can it be expected of us that we would agree to a plan that will only inflict pain, loss and suffering on our own people?   Under these circumstances, incentive for younger Palestinian Christians to remain here continues to decrease.

In conclusion, the whole situation requires prayer.  Here are a few points:

Pray for the peace of God to come upon the Palestinian people in a new way, since clearly no man is able to deliver that.

Pray that there will be an international intervention that will halt all of these absurd plans that are being projected upon us.

Pray for the Palestinian church not to lose hope; but rather the opposite.  Pray that we will become a beacon of hope for our people.

Pray for the leaders of Israel and Palestine to find a way to come together with mutual respect and create our own peace agreement.

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

Israel Destroys Palestinian Bedouin Village for 176th Time

Israeli occupation authorities, on Thursday, destroyed all Palestinian homes in the Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev desert for the 176th time, Middle East Monitor reports.

The so-called unrecognised village which is inhabited by over 20 Palestinian families, has been repeatedly destroyed for the last decade. Each time the residents rebuild their tents, and structures, built of wood, plastic, and corrugated iron, the Israeli occupation razes them.

An Israeli court ruled that the Palestinian villagers have “broken into state-owned land” by rebuilding their demolished homes.

According to the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights;Article 3:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 17:

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Palestinians living in Israel pay taxes to the Israeli government, are subject to Israeli law, however they are denied the same rights and services awarded to Jewish Israelis.

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

Israeli Troops Invade Birzeit University Dorms; Abduct 5 Students

Early Friday morning, Israeli forces raided student dormitories at Birzeit University in Ramallah, in the central West Bank, and abducted five students.

According to local sources, Israeli troops kidnapped five students affiliated with the Islamic Bloc, the student branch of the Hamas movement, at Birzeit University in Ramallah.

The sources reported that the Israeli military raided a number of student dormitories in Ramallah, searched them and abducted five students.

The detainees have been identified as Ahmad Farah, Mohammad Naser, Osaid Qaddumi, Barakat Raed and Rayyan Kharboush.

All of them are Islamic Bloc student activists at Birzeit University.

Israeli authorities gave no reason for the abductions of the students.

(Source / 08.03.2020)

Unemployment Among Gaza Women Hits Record High of 90%

In new remarks by the Gaza-based head of the Popular Committee for Breaking the Israel-imposed Blockade of Gaza, Dr. Jamal Alkhodary said that Palestinian women in Gaza have been badly affected by the Israeli blockade, in terms of labor.

The statement, released Saturday by Alkhudary to local media outlets, suggested that the rate of unemployment among Gaza women, has reached an unprecedented level; reaching as high as 90% .

Alkhudary maintained that women constitute 49 percent of the overall Palestinian population in both the coastal territory of Gaza and the West Bank, asserting that women play key roles in development of the Palestinian society, as well as in the struggle for freedom and equality.

Also, he pointed out that under the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Gaza-based women have suffered the brunt of Israel’s restrictions and frequent deadly attacks on the territory, as women have lost beloved ones such as children, husbands, brothers or parents.

According to Alkhudary, supporting female labor in the Gaza Strip, has increasingly become vital, as many thousands of women have lost sources of income, due to the Israel-forced absent of family members.

He called on all relevant local and international organizations that are concerned with women development, to promptly provide support and assistance to Palestinian women in Gaza, by creating some new operation programs that could alleviate the suffering of those women.

The man’s statements came on the eve of International Women’s Day March 8.

Over the past 13 years, Israel has been enforcing a blockade on the Gaza Strip, with a great deal of restrictions on the coastal enclave. A part of Israeli measures against Gaza has been numerous military attacks that have claimed the lives of thousands of residents, including women, men and children.

Israel alleges that its siege has been imposed for security reasons,  after the Islamist Hamas party was elected in 2006 and formed a government in the tiny coastal territory following an internal fight with the Fatah party of western-backed Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

(Source / 08.03.2020) 

Coronavirus in Palestine

Ramallah (QNN) – The Palestinian Ministry of Health said today that the number of people who have been infected with coronavirus in Palestine has risen to 19, and are quarantined in Bethlehem district.

Three people who came in contact with the infected cases at Angel Hotel in Bethlehem were tested positive and placed in quarantine, said the ministry.

It said tests were conducted until today on 500 people suspected of contracting the disease but all turned out negative.

It said 32 others are kept in a quarantine at Angel Hotel in Bethlehem, the same hotel were the confirmed 16 cases of coronavirus are kept, and 15 others at Paradise Hotel also in Bethlehem where infected tourists seem to have been.

(Source / 08.03.2020)