Monday, 22 July. 2024
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
Untitled Document
MIFTAH - Biannual Newsletter
Tenth Edition (July - December 2021)

The 10th issue of MIFTAH's semi-annual newsletter comes in light of major challenges on the national and global arena and within the difficult political, security and economic conditions that occupied Palestine is going through. During the second half of 2021, rights and freedoms, especially those related to civil society, were under unprecedented attack. Palestinians saw a wave of political arrests and assaults on civilian demonstrators and the press during the protests over the killing of activist Nizar Banat. Moreover, the first phase of local elections was held in “C” categorized local councils in the West Bank only, despite civil society institutions’ rejection of dividing elections into two stages according to an Elections Law that does not support women and youth’s participation.

The past six months have also witnessed a continuation of Israeli violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, the continuation of forced displacement and house demolitions, especially in occupied Jerusalem, and the criminalization of six Palestinian human rights institutions by the Israeli government, which constitutes additional restriction on the work of civil society institutions.

Nevertheless, MIFTAH succeeded in realizing a number of achievements, which we are pleased to present here to our friends and partners. MIFTAH focused on fostering dialogue in a bid to influence public policies and reach consensus on political positions, in addition to supporting women and youth’s participation in elections, and to shed light on the Israeli violations against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Fostering dialogue in the West Bank and Gaza on Cabinet decision on local elections

MIFTAH fostered dialogue among several institutions and representatives of national parties and factions during which civil society institutions shared a position paper on local elections. CSOs believe the government’s continued insistence to hold elections in two stages, with a date for the second stage already set, is an expression of political bias towards one specific faction and far -removed from national interests and the exercise of true political participation and elections on the basis of good governance and the peaceful transition of power. They also said civil society demands were not taken into consideration, demands which were extensively discussed in past years over certain amendments such as: the lowering of the candidacy age, raising the women’s quota and cancelling the threshold, which would pave the way for increased participation of women and youth in the electoral process.

Fiscal Justice

Continuing to support and enable civil servants (budgetary teams) to institutionalize work within the standards of international budgetary transparency and to integrate gender and social justice indicators. To this end, MIFTAH implemented a number of interventions in cooperation with the various ministries, including the release of the 2021 Citizens’ Budget, capacity-building for the budgetary teams, the integration of gender indicators in the Citizens’ Budget and preparation of the budget manual for ministries. The interventions were aimed at institutionalizing the values of transparency and accountability in decision-making centers, in addition to promoting them among citizens through the periodic publication of fiscal data, simplified for their perusal. During 2021, MIFTAH worked with five ministries: the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Interior.



A group of Palestinian CSOs participated in the dialogue and presented a statement in which they considered this move as part of Israel’s broader assault on Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations, meant to expose Israeli occupation violations against the Palestinian people. A number of committees were formed, including a follow-up committee led by MIFTAH in coordination with three institutions, Aman Coalition, Reform, and PWWSD. The committee arranged for a number of meetings targeting international institutions, a number of Palestinian personalities within the Joint List in Palestine 1948, representatives of the diplomatic corps, including the Irish Foreign Ministry team, in addition to a number of PA ministers and EU representatives.

Influencing policies related to GBV and the National Referral System

MIFTAH worked on influencing public policies and executive procedures for the protection of battered women and ensuring their access to the pillars of protection and justice in Palestinian society. This was achieved through promoting dialogue with relevant national stakeholders based on the results of research and specialized reviews. The dialogue aimed at implementing the National Referral System and unifying measures pertaining to the system’s integration in a way that supports the access of services to women and girls subjected to GBV in Palestinian society. MIFTAH continues to follow-up on the recommendations presented by the relevant organizations related to updating the NRS, especially in light of the social changes and legal developments that arose since its inception in 2013. The need for monitoring, instilling the principle of accountability and restoring the role of the police, general prosecution and judiciary were part of the recommendations, in addition to the role of CSOs in advocating for the ratification of the Family Protection Law and increased government spending on protection programs and services for battered women and women at risk, based on a holistic vision for social protection.

MIFTAH annually supports the NGO Forum for Combating Violence Against Women by implementing a joint advocacy plan during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which this year focused on the rights of Palestinian women in the public and private spheres in view of the rights of Palestinian prisoners and the public freedoms of women. MIFTAH also launched its messages on various social media platforms.

Supporting women and youth candidates in local council elections

MIFTAH completed six training workshops, aimed at empowering women and youth candidates in local council elections in the West Bank running in the first phase of the elections. The training targeted a total of 42 female and 38 youth candidates addressing the stages, laws and procedures regulating the electoral process. The workshops also included ways on how to utilize digital media and social media platforms and how to conduct radio and television interviews.

Additionally, MIFTAH completed a youth camp in Ramallah and Gaza with the participation of 100 active youth (48% of which are females), from all West Bank and Gaza districts. The camp aimed at creating a space for dialogue between youth groups, national figures, women and youth leaders and experts in election affairs. The camp included several activities and dialogue sessions to discuss various election-related topics such as: the map of active social forces in local elections; the position of civil society institutions on local elections and its proposed legal amendments; the role of youth leaders in elections; the 2005 Local Elections Law No. 10; the launching of a digital campaign to support youth participation in local elections; showcasing global democratic experiences; and a dialogue session entitled: “The role of political parties in supporting youth participation in local elections and the role of women in local government, the election process and procedures.

Empowering women and youth in shedding light on Israeli violations against Palestinians

MIFTAH empowered around 25 human rights defenders to document violations against Palestinian women’s rights in Jerusalem in reference to CEDAW. The documentation focused on select articles from the conventions pertaining to economic rights, health rights, family rights and personal status, the right to education and the right to political participation. Based on the documented violations, two reports were prepared on health rights and another on the right to education. Moreover, most of these defenders have become familiar with UN mechanisms and international advocacy principles used in exposing Israeli violations against Palestinian women in Jerusalem.

Shedding light on settler violations against Palestinian women in the northern West Bank

In light of the escalation of settlers’ attacks on defenseless citizens, especially in “Area C” of the West Bank, MIFTAH attempted to shed light on marginalized rural and Bedouin areas and communities in the northern West Bank. The aim of this was to draw attention to the ongoing violations being committed against Palestinians, particularly women, in these areas. More than 500 violations were documented over a period of six months in the Tubas, Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Jenin governorates. These violations were legally analyzed in a report based on international humanitarian law, international human rights law and UNSCR 1325. The report also included practical recommendations targeting international and national actors on possible ways to confront these violations, to protect and compensate the victims and also to hold accountable those who ordered, incited or carried out these violations.

MIFTAH holds virtual reality tours of Israeli violations in Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza

A virtual reality tour of Israeli violations documented by Palestinian youth was organized to showcase violations in the targeted areas. In Hebron, the focus was on the right to freedom of movement, education and religious rights; in occupied Jerusalem, it was on house demolitions, the right to education and religious and cultural rights. As for the Gaza Strip, the VR tour focused on violations against the rights of farmers and fishermen. The VR tour takes the viewer on a journey of the violations against Palestinians and gives them the sensation of being on the receiving end of these violations. It is a simulation of reality and contributes to disseminating the Palestinian narrative from the perspective of Palestinian youth.

Supporting civil society organizations working on the implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda

Civil society organizations working towards the implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda in Palestine were also supported in activating international advocacy efforts for the cause of Palestinian women under occupation. This was achieved through preparing a manual on UN mechanisms within the framework of the WPS. This is seen as a step towards promoting the role of the Palestinian Women Coalition for the implementation of UNSCR1325 in accountability efforts against the Israeli occupation.
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