On August 19, 2013 a national conference was held at
the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Ramallah as a concluding event
of the project. The organizations invited around 170 individuals from
embassies, consulates, international and local organizations, and media
agencies. Around 70 people showed up and followed the event. Sadly, Ms.
Zainab Al-Ghunaimi and her colleagues from CWLRC from the Gaza Strip
couldn’t join us because Israel denied their permits.
conference involved an introduction of the project by Ms. Maha
Abu-Dayyeh Shamas, the director of WCLAC. Ms. Mariam Ikermawi, JCW’s
director, launched the documentary ‘Fragmentation of Families’ —
conceptualized and realized by JCW. The findings of the thorough
research on the subject and corresponding recommendations were presented
by Ms. Manal Jubeh, the coordinator of the project.
This first part of the conference was followed by a panel of experts of legal practice and social counseling.
Nasser Rayyes, who works as a lawyer with Al-Haq organization detailed
how Israel has violated Palestinian Families’ Rights and International
Humanitarian Law. Mr. Rayyes illustrated Israel’s violations of
Palestinians’ rights as stipulated in the Personal Status Law — for
example, in denying Palestinians to freely choose a partner for marriage
due to its separation policies and control regime. He asserted that
Israel has perpetrated crimes with impunity. He reiterated that Israel
must be held accountable in criminal terms for its perpetual violations
of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.
Mr. Rayyes called the Palestinian Authority to join international
conventions and treaties to recognize women’s rights, the legal status
of women. Mr. Rayyes concluded that Palestinians need to be enabled to
use legal means to call Israel to account.
Ms. Sana’ Dweik who
works as a lawyer with WCLAC illustrated the legal problems arising from
differences in identification documents in Marital Laws. She
highlighted that the geographic fragmentation of the West Bank, the Gaza
Strip and Jerusalem and different laws and procedures consolidate
violations of women’s rights. Ms. Dweik amplified that not only law
itself but essentially the execution of court decisions is the major
problem. Since there is no coordination between Palestinian and Israeli
courts, the applicability of laws and the enforcement of court rulings
in other geographic areas are virtually impossible — and more often than
not, women pay the price.
Ms. Rania Sinjlawi who works with
WCLAC as a social worker referred to the various social services women’s
organizations particularly in Jerusalem are providing. In this context
she mentioned a critical point that is that female survivors of violence
in East Jerusalem are often blamed if they report to Israeli police.
Yet, the Palestinian Authority neglects any affairs in Jerusalem.
this context the audience appealed coordinated and concerted efforts by
women’s organizations and legal centers in Jerusalem to confront and
solve this problem.
A lively Q&A session concluded the
conference. The audience reiterated the relevance and the importance of
the explored subject of ‘broken families’.
JCW will coordinate a
follow-up campaign in order to continue bringing attention to this
severe subject of ‘broken families’, to advocate change to Israel’s
discriminatory separation policies.
Furthermore, of course, the
organizations are going to continue to support Palestinian women whose
rights are violated due to the legislation imposed by the Israeli
The documentary “Fragmentation of Families” — and all
material the project partners produced — is accessible via JCW’s
website : www.j-c-w.org/brokenfamilies