ActionAid Palestine and Alianza Por La Solidaridad organize a Webinar Discussing Peace and Security Agenda within UN Security Council Resolution 1325
Palestine - On international Women’s Day, ActionAid Palestine (AAP) and Alianza Por La Solidaridad (ApS) organized an online webinar entitled: “Feminist insights on Women’s Peace and Security under Israeli occupation: Palestinian: women’s daily struggles to build accountability and end impunity” with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). During the webinar the panelists highlighted the challenges to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that call for respecting human rights and providing protection for civilians, including women, strengthening accountability, ending impunity, and preventing all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination against women and girls, enhancing their security, physical and psychological safety, their economic security, their opportunities for a decent life, their active participation in peace-making process and peace and security issues.
The webinar was attended by more than 90 participants many were concerned with issues of impunity and accountability in International Law, Women’s Rights, Human Rights, and security and peace issues generally, and Palestine specifically. It aimed to highlight the impact of policies and measures of the Israeli military occupation in Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) on women. It presented the struggle and daily life of women in the refugee camps of Jenin and Shu’fat, the struggle and work of Palestinian women in Gaza, as well as the role and activism of Palestinian young women from Green Line.
The panelists of the webinar included Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, former Minister of Higher Education and Research, and former member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mr. Tony Abu Akleh, brother of Al-Jazeera Correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed while she was performing her journalist duty, in addition to Mrs. Jihad Abu Zenaid an activist from Shu’fat Refugees Camp and former member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Mrs. Aya Zenati, a young activist from the green line, as well as to Mrs. Farha Abu Heja, Director of Kay la nansa organization from Jenin Refugees Camp, and Mrs. Amal Syam the director of the Women’s Affairs Center in Gaza and activist Mrs. Hurria Dofesh resident of the Tel-Rumeida neighborhood who endure the daily attacks of settlers in al-Khaleel (Hebron).
The panelists highlighted different forms of survival and resistance of Palestinian Women living under the Israeli occupation. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi spoke in her opening remarks: “the Palestinian people are deprived of the protection of International Law and International Humanitarian Law, and we do not see that there is a rule of law despite the issuance of UNSCR1325”. It is worth mentioning that from 2015 to 2022 the UN General Assembly adopted 140 resolutions on Israel and 68 on other countries. Since its creation, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) has condemned the Israeli occupation in 45 resolutions. Those 45 resolutions comprise almost half (45.9%) of all country-specific resolutions passed by the UNHCR. Dr. Ashrawi describing the situation of Palestinian women said: “We are a people deprived of our rights and sovereignty, we lack control over our resources, and there is no control over our lives, Israel enjoys impunity, and there is immunity, and this system has proven its weakness and failure to protect the marginalized groups and women. This system still exists while the world still turns a blind eye to it”. Relating to the situation of Palestinian mothers in Jerusalem, Mrs. Jihad Abu Zneid shared the experience of Palestinian mothers who receive home arrest orders. Most of these children who received home arrest orders are under the age of 14. In these cases, their mothers as the jailer guard. During the period of the court order, these children are not allowed to leave for school or access healthcare facilities without supervision. She also shared the various violations imposed on Palestinian women living in Jerusalem, such as house demolitions, lack of security, lack of freedom of movement, and the imposition laws that deny the right of families to live together. Mrs. Abu Zneid ended her intervention by saying: “Palestinian women, not only in Jerusalem dream and wish every day to see their children returning home safe”.
From her side, young activist Aya Zinatey highlighted the realities of Palestinian women and shared her experiences in alternative tourism by organizing tours to villages and towns whose women and residents share their experiences and daily life. Mrs. Zinatey talked about the laws saying: “Israeli practices and policies are not always based on the law. Those laws are being legislated arbitrarily without real legal monitoring. We recognize that those laws do not establish our rights”. She added, that “women also suffer from many forms of persecution, political persecution that is more directed towards digital activities and political activism in the public sphere. It has been proved that the digital rights of Palestinian women among other sectors are systematically violated, according to a report by Hamleh in 2022, there have been 1,119 documented cases of digital rights violations. Mrs. Zinatey ended her intervention by saying: “Women bear the greatest burden of house demolitions and poor infrastructure in Arab neighborhoods and villages”.
Mr. Tony Abu Akleh, the brother of the Palestinian Al-Jazeera correspondent, highlighted the issue of holding Israel accountable in the case of killing and targeting his sister Shereen Abu Akleh and attacking her funeral, as he said: "the main reason for Israel's continued targeting and killing of journalists and the demolition of homes and other practices is the lack of accountability, and it is time to hold Israel accountable”. He shared with the audience that the family of Shereen has headed to many international bodies, and they have received a response in all instances that Israel enjoys immunity, and Israel's security is used to justify its practices. He asserted that although there are many investigations issued by international and human rights institutions confirming that Shireen was targeted by the Israeli army, still there are no even efforts to hold the occupation accountable. He concluded: “Israel must be held accountable for its occupation, and we will continue to seek justice for Shireen, but the most important thing is holding the occupation accountable."
Women in Jenin camp are distinguished by their strength, willingness, and refusal to be displaced again, as declared by Mrs. Farha Abu Al-Haija, Director of Kay la nansa organization, in Jenin Refugee camp. Mrs. Abu-Haija shed light on the daily life of Palestinian women in the Refugee camp as they have to endure the loss of their family members due to the Israeli attacks on the camp. This reality causes a state of uncertainty for women who are anxious all the time about the fate of their families and children, “as they sleep and wake up to the sound of sirens and Israeli army aggressions”, as shared by Mrs. Abu al-Haija. She concluded by saying: “Women play an important role in this context in preserving community cohesion”.
On the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Palestinian context, specifically of Gaza, Mrs. Syam spoke about the challenges on the ground in the implementation of the resolution created by the Israeli’s occupation violations. She explained how it is explained how Gaza bears five wars and an airtight land, sea, and air blockade, imposed by the Israeli occupation since 2005 which is affecting all aspects of life. In 2012, the United Nations warned that by 2020 Gaza will be a place not suitable for humans to live in. The situation in Gaza, she said: “impedes women’s economic participation in the labor market, and their access to treatment and good health care. This situation causes high rates of poverty, unemployment, and hardships, creating, therefore, an environment viable for Gender-Based Violence”. Referring to the fact that UNSCR 1325 calls for activating women’s participation in the peace and reconstruction processes, Palestinian women are still excluded from reconciliation dialogues between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas and reconstruction committees. “There is also the matter of the fragmentation of the women’s movement, she added, as the Israeli occupation impedes the movement between Gaza and the West Bank.”
Based on her daily life and real experience, Hourie Dofesh, an activist living in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in al-Khaleel (Hebron), shared the daily reality of the Palestinian society who resides in the neighborhood that is impacted by the settlers’ violence living inside the neighborhood and protected by the Israeli military. In her own words, Mrs. Dofesh testified that “There is a restriction on women's freedom of movement, as women are constantly stopped at the checkpoint. We live a life full of anxiety and fear about the lives of our sons and daughters while they are on their way to the checkpoint. We are also detained for hours when the checkpoint is closed for Israeli security reasons. However, we have the hope of steadfastness and existence”. The Israeli illegal settlers came to Tel Rumeida in 1984 and started to expand with the support of the Israeli occupation and the protection of the military. The life of the Palestinian society living in the area is hard and lacks any kind of protection in the face of the settlers’ armed violence, which is supported by the Israeli military forces, as this is the only place where the settlements are being imposed inside the Palestinian neighborhoods.
All panelists ended their interventions with a note of hope. They all demanded that the international duty bearers make the Israeli occupation accountable for its violations of all international decisions, resolutions, covenants and human rights documents, and that essentially the remedy of all is the end of occupation.
 It refers to the border separating pre-1967 Israel from the Occupied Palestinian Territories
 See: https://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/133194 and https://7amleh.org/storage/The%20Attacks%20on%20Palestinian%20Digital%20Rights.pdf
 See: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/north-africa-west-asia/uns-warning-that-gaza-will-not-be-a-liveable-place-by-2020-has-been-realised/ and https://news.un.org/en/story/2015/09/507762,