Category Archives: Mideast

How the Islamic Revolution Gave Rise to a Massive Women’s Movement in Iran

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article by Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi in Counterpunch

Let me start with a straightforward proposition that is everywhere on social and mass media these days: The Islamic Republic’s patriarchal repression of women reached a tipping point after the murder in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini by the Guidance Patrol on September 16, 2022. A revolt, led by young women, engulfed the entire country under the banner of women, life, freedom. At the root of this movement is the anti-women core of the Islamic regime and the struggle of Iranian women against it since its very beginning in 1979.

The whole nation — inside and outside the country, the global community, the progressive Left as well as the hawkish Right, stand in solidarity with this movement. The protests that began against the compulsory hijab and the demand for abolishment of the Guidance Patrol, has now become a full-fledged intersectional revolt for regime change in Iran, led by women.


This indeed is true that the Islamic Republic instituted draconian patriarchal policies after the revolution on 1979 that stripped the very basic formal rights that women had been granted under the ancien régime. These measures formally reduced women to second-class citizens in matters of marriage, custody, inheritance, crime and judiciary, dress code, segregation, and many other spheres of social life.  Yet, despite all this, women’s social mobility and presence in public sphere grew exponentially in the past four decades.  Ironically, this is in part an effect of the unintended consequences of these policies. Women learned very quickly how to navigate the new terrain, push the boundaries of the new institutions, and in practice gain access to rights and privileges from which the Islamic Republic deprived them. The recent revolt could not materialize without the remarkable agentive presence and mobility of women who carved out a space for ceaseless social and political engagement during the past four decades. Women are revolting because they refuse to continue the struggle in a field the boundaries of which are drawn in the dilapidated spirits of patriarchy.  Their gains have reached a hard as well as a glass ceiling that needs to be overcome.

The Iranian revolution succeeded in ending the monarchy on February 11, 1979. On February 26, only two weeks after the victory of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini annulled the Family Protection Law of 1967 and its 1975 amended version, which had given women more rights in divorce and matters of custody under the Shah. Since its inception, the clergy by and large had opposed the law’s basic premises, which they believed violated the Islamic views on women’s role in family.  Khomeini knew that the unity and uniformity that his leadership afforded the revolutionary movement would not remain uncontested for long after the triumph of the revolution. He knew that the spirit of Islam and the symbolic revolutionary language with which it inspired millions of Iranians of many creeds and classes needed to be translated into a body of institutional projects of postrevolutionary state-building.  So, he seized the opportunity to put women under the control of their menfolk.

Despite such overt assaults on women’s rights, most political parties continue to address women’s issues in the frame of revolutionary politics, nationalism, class struggle, and anti-imperialism.  For the first few months after the revolution, except for the National Front, the oldest liberal organization in Iran, and small Trotskyist group, Left and liberal parties remained ambivalent about women’s issues. They failed to recognize the remarkable contribution of women to the revolutionary struggle and the need to check the assault on their rights.  At the time, most of the women’s organization operated as an appendix to different political parties to further the anti-imperialist struggle and tied women’s issues to greater demands for social justice.

The establishment of the Islamic Republic proved inconsistent with fundamental women’s formal and legal rights.  Despite earlier assurances, on the eve of March 8, 1979, less than a month after the triumph of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini called upon the Provisional Government to uphold Islamic dress codes in its offices.  His pronouncement scandalized many who played a significant role in the revolutionary movement, including several members of his own Revolutionary Council.  This was the second time, after the abrogation of the Family Protection Law, in three weeks that issues of women’s right had become a point of contention in the postrevolutionary power struggle. That was why the festive preparations for the first postrevolutionary International Women’s Day turned into a rally with specific women’s rights demands such as the recognition of women judges and, most importantly, a call against compulsory hejāb.  Thousands of women gathered in Tehran University and the next day in front of and inside the hallways of the Ministry of Justice chanting: In the Spring of freedom, absent is the rights of women.

Instituting compulsory hejāb even in the tightly controlled parliament and implementing it throughout the country was not an easy proposition. It took another four years for the mandate to become an enforceable law. Different factions inside the government as well as influential clerics in seminaries raised questions about the wisdom of such a law, its religious justification, as well as its feasibility. Nevertheless, the new law went into effect on August 9, 1983.

The institution of compulsory hejāb and other patriarchal measures in cases of travel, marriage, custody, inheritance, criminal laws, etc. all of which formally reduced women to second-class citizens, gave yet more credibility to feminist concerns that the Islamic republic would entirely force women out of the public sphere. Comparisons were made with Reza Shah.  Some argued that whereas he liberated Muslim women by the “unveiling law” that banned the hejāb in public spaces in 1936, the Islamic Republic was now forcing women back into the private sphere where they would be subjected to the repressive domestic patriarchy.  Yet curiously – these contrasting policies produced paradoxical results on the ground. Reza Shah’s “unveiling” did not liberate women, and the Islamic Republic’s repressive measures did not imprison women at home. Ironically, it was under Reza Shah’s “unveiling law” that a great majority of women in urban areas were forced to stay at home, either because they chose not to appear in public without a veil or were not allowed to leave their homes by their fathers or husbands. Under the Islamic Republic, despite the institution of repressive anti-women laws, rather than being imprisoned in their homes, women gained unprecedented mobility in the country and year after year increased their presence in the public sphere.

These were unintended consequences, but they were quite substantial. As a consequence of the restrictions imposed on women in public places, a new system emerged of what I call patriarchy by proxy. The new laws created the possibility for a great majority of socially conservative Iranian families who were previously reluctant to see women’s participation in social affairs, to trust the new “Islamized” public sphere as an extended domain of patriarchal/religious order. The state became the ultimate guardian of patriarchy and by becoming so, paradoxically, sanctioned an unprecedented mobility among rural and urban women. Despite barring women from entering key political and judicial positions of decision-making, women entered and shaped the conditions of those spheres in significant numbers.

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Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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In practice, gender politics and policy under the Islamic Republic have been far from the mere enactment of literal readings of the Qur’anic verses or a replication of women’s repression in Saudi Arabia. There is no doubt that the postrevolutionary regime instituted formal and legal apparatuses in order to constitute a homo Islamicus. But in its realpolitik, the Islamic Republic negated the anxieties that it would implement a literal reading of the Qur’an and expunge women from the pubic and restrict their lives to the domestic sphere. A quick look at the human development indexes in relation to women’s status in education, health, sports, artistic and cultural production, and civic engagement shows that the women in Iran have the most visible presence in public sphere in its history.  These changes were not the result of top-down state policies, but rather the consequence of a contentious engagement between different factions within the polity, women’s community and civic institutions, and political parties and activists.

From the time of revolution in 1979 to the latest reports in 2019, women’s literacy rate rose from 36% to 97.93%; share of women students in higher education rose from 15% to 60%; women’s life expectancy rose from 55 to 77; infant mortality decreased from 90 per 1000 to 10 per 1000. None of these could have been possible without a remarkable presence of women in public space and their involvement in policy planning and implementation.

The significant presence of women in the public arena created unanticipated shifts in gender relations in the country, conditions that forced even the most patriarchal factions in power to advocate unlikely propositions regarding women’s role in society. In 2006-2007 school year, women comprised 60% of incoming class of university students, and that trend continues. The conservatives of the 8th Parliament introduced legislation for affirmative action for men to catch up with women in higher education. The conservative parliamentarians, who otherwise insist that the place of women is at home to raise a virtuous family, argued that women who use resources of free public universities had to commit to a 10-year employment (public or private) after graduation. The paradox there is self-evident.

Another measure that contributed to the remarkable shift in family structure and gendered relations in public and private spheres was an aggressive family planning and population control program that was instituted in 1989. Although the Islamic Republic repealed the family planning and protection laws of the old regime soon after assuming power, in a significant shift, in 1988, the government introduced and carried out one of the most efficient family planning programs in the economically developing world.   Dictated by the perceived necessity of containing an unchecked rise in population, the program successfully reduced the population growth rate from the high of 3.4% in 1986 to 0.7% in 2007. During the same period, the number of children per family dropped from 6.5 to less than 2. Before his death in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini endorsed the new program thus affording religious legitimacy to this ideological reversal.  As the Candadian-Iranian anthropologists Homa Hoodfar has shown, without national consensus-building, a massive mobilization of women, both by government agencies as well as non-governmental agents, promoted with effective religious justification, and offered through an efficient delivery service in birth control and contraceptives (such as distribution of free condoms), and premarital sex-education programs, this ambitious family planning project could not have been realized. Called by many “The Iranian Miracle,” the program was so successful that, fearing the emergence of an aging population, the authorities are now trying to encourage families to have more children.

The purpose of this brisk history is not to draw a sanguine picture of women’s conditions in contemporary Iran. The complexities of how government and non-governmental actors interact on these issues, how the expansion and containment of state power shape the social realities of women of different classes and ethnicities, or how religious doctrines and convictions hinder or facilitate women’s mobility cannot be fully detailed here.  Rather, I want to show that the Islamic Republic instituted policies and imposed patriarchal laws that produced unintended consequences in gender relations and women’s mobility. For an uprising to materialize, there needs to be a socially mobile, politically conscious, and subjectively free population. Iranian women have long been the fierce political actors we see on the street, not the oppressed, shadowy, veiled subjects that are the meat and potatoes of foreign misperception and paternalism. Yes, a mighty patriarchy shaped social order in Iran, like many other places in the world, but women were never its hapless captives. That image, the helpless veiled women, while effective in gathering support in global liberal feminist circles who believe that Muslim women need to be saved, does not correspond to the practice of those women’s everyday lives and fails to credit two generations of Iranian women for their political creativity.

At its core, Women-Life-Freedom is a movement for dignity and sovereignty of the subject.  It is a movement that has changed the political culture of defiance and expressions of dissent. Its radical creativity— posters, songs, graffiti, and imaginative forms of collective action, has opened in practice the possibility of thinking of politics anew. The transformative acts of insubordinate bodies and liberated souls has made party platforms and unruffled sermons ineffective and obsolete.

While Iranian women and their male allies fight against the state’s brutal crackdown, their aspiring revolt, with its novel singularities, faces instrumentalization by regional and global actors, facilitated through a misreading of Iranian women’s history of deliberate and agentive action. While the global reach of this movement through the media operates as an instrument of its effective dissemination, paradoxically, it also subjects it to a discursive violence.

We should not misread the core principles of Women, Life, Freedom as being a simple “desire for the west” by a population who are simply fed up.  Under such a misreading, a whole host of unsavory interests, from neocolonial expansionists to ethno-nationalist separatists, from delusional monarchists to all those who still lament being on the losing side of the 1979 revolution, try their best to claim ownership of this movement.  Yet Iranian women on the ground have been the very actors who historically have created the conditions of possibility for their protest.  They have opened space for themselves and their daughters in the face of a state desire for repressive patriarchy. Over decades they have succeeded to take advantage of the unintended consequences of state policies; they are not merely reacting—they are instead determined.

Today’s massive women’s movement in Iran represents one of the great achievements of the 1979 revolution—a revolution that generated hope-bearing, conscious subjects who have perpetuated themselves for more than four decades – despite and in the face of all manner of repression. The paradoxical effects of the Islamic Republic policies brought women to the centerstage of social transformation in Iran. Now that transformation has reached a point of frontal war with the state. Iranian women today hold key positions in journalism, artistic and cultural production, civic engagement, political organizing, higher education, scientific communities, local political offices, etc. Daughters of those women, irrevocably demand an extension and expansion of their mothers’ positions without any patriarchal restrictions, either by the state or inside their homes.

Those demands will only be realized through the transformation of the state, or by rethinking the meaning of the state. How this transformation will unfold and with what means is yet not known, but its inevitability is evident. How fortunate we are that these generations of women taking the lead.

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Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi is an Iranian-born American historian, sociologist, and professor.

The Western Sanctions That Are ‘Choking’ Syria May Be Crimes Against Humanity

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Benjamin Norton in Agencia Uruguaya de Noticias

The United Nations special rapporteur said the “outrageous” sanctions the West has imposed on Syria are “suffocating” millions of civilians and “may constitute crimes against humanity.” The country’s economy contracted 90%. Nine out of 10 Syrians live in poverty.

“The entire [Syrian] population is in life-threatening conditions with severe shortages of drinking water,” electricity, fuel and food, the UN special rapporteur reported on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan.


Foto: Syrian children walk past ruins on their way home from school / UNOCHA / Ali Haj Suleiman 

The United Nations special rapporteur said the “outrageous” sanctions the West has imposed on Syria are “suffocating” millions of civilians and “may constitute crimes against humanity.” The country’s economy contracted 90%. Nine out of 10 Syrians live in poverty.

“The entire [Syrian] population is in life-threatening conditions with severe shortages of drinking water,” electricity, fuel and food, the UN special rapporteur reported on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan.

She wrote about the “enormous negative effect of unilateral sanctions”, which have “a devastating effect on the entire population” and “a devastating effect on almost all categories of human rights”.

“Maintaining unilateral sanctions amid the current catastrophic and still deteriorating situation in Syria may amount to crimes against humanity against the entire Syrian people,” the UN expert said.

Douhan, a respected international law professor, visited Syria for 12 days in October and November to investigate the impact of sanctions on the country. On November 10, she released a preliminary report that “calls for the lifting of long-standing unilateral sanctions that ‘suffocate’ the Syrian people.”

The UN special rapporteur described a medieval-style blockade, in which sanctions have “eroded to the level of complete extinction the purchasing power of households, which are in a prolonged state of survival.”

“The sanctions imposed have shattered the state’s ability to respond to the needs of the population, particularly the most vulnerable, with 90% of people now living below the poverty line,” she wrote.

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(click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Are economic sanctions a violation of human rights?

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Prices have risen more than 800% since 2019, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, and sanctions block the importation of “food, medicine, spare parts, raw materials, and items necessary for the country’s needs and economic recovery,” she said.

While Western governments claim to have humanitarian exceptions to their sanctions regimes, the UN expert stressed that “secondary sanctions and over-compliance” by international financial institutions prevent Syria from importing necessary goods, and have even made it very difficult for UN institutions and international humanitarian aid organizations to operate in the country.

Today, more than half of Syrians suffer from food insecurity. Furthermore, 24% of Syrians are disabled and 14.6% suffer from diseases.

The sanctions have also prevented the government from rebuilding damaged infrastructure, and have caused a “shortage of electricity and drinking water”, leading to daily blackouts, including in hospitals, contaminated water and even a cholera outbreak.

Due to the occupation of Syria’s oil-rich regions by the US military and its Kurdish allies, government oil production is only 10% of its pre-2010 levels, and with Western sanctions making the oil importation nearly impossible, the Syrian people face a chronic shortage of gasoline and fuel.

Douhan called for the unilateral sanctions that the United States and Europe have imposed on Syria to be lifted immediately, stressing that they are illegal under international law.

The UN expert has also previously traveled to Venezuela and reported that illegal Western sanctions had similar devastating effects on the civilian population there, while depriving the government of 99% of its revenue.

Most of the sanctions imposed on Syria came after the West launched a proxy war against the country in 2011. But the UN expert noted that Washington has imposed sanctions on Damascus since 2004.

Aggressive US sanctions imposed against Syria in 2011 and 2012 expanded to a de facto blockade in 2019, with the passage of the Caesar Act, which Douhan noted “authorized secondary sanctions against non-US persons anywhere in the world who provide financial resources.” , materials or technological support to the Syrian government or that carry out transactions with it”.

The European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada and Australia have imposed similar sanctions, along with the Arab League, which is dominated by the Persian Gulf monarchies.

As part of her trip, Douhan met with representatives not only of the Syrian government but also civil society organizations, health clinics, financial institutions, humanitarian groups, businesses, universities and religious bodies, as well as other UN entities. that operate in the country.

Douhan will present the final version of her report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2023.

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*Benjamín Norton is a journalist, writer and filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of Multipolarista, and lives in Latin America.

Abu Dhabi opens the ninth edition of the Peace Forum

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

An article from Atalayar

The United Arab Emirates is once again hosting the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, formerly known as the Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies. This ninth edition of the meeting will begin on Tuesday 8 November and will run for three days under the title “Global Conflict and Universal Peace: Urgent Needs and Opportunities for Partnership”, bringing together more than 30 pioneering international organisations in the promotion of peace and nearly 500 participants from 60 different countries, representing every continent. 


President Joko “Jokowi“ Widodo shakes hands with Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace (ADFP) secretary-general Al Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah, who presented the President with a peace award at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Nov. 7.(Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr.)

“The role of the Peace Forum, […] which is usually hosted by Abu Dhabi and is one of the most important forums in the Islamic world, is to serve as a space for the discussion of humanitarian problems and intellectual and religious conflicts in Muslim societies,” the forum’s official website states. “Hundreds of Islamic scholars and thinkers participate in the forum in order to establish a unified position to address unrest and acts of violence in the Islamic world”. 

Religious leaders, politicians, officials, representatives of national and international organisations, and peace activists from around the world will travel to the United Arab Emirates to address the promotion of peace at one of the most critical times for the international community in recent decades. With several armed conflicts raging, more than 100 million refugees – according to UNHCR – and growing food and energy insecurity threatening the world’s poorest regions in particular, the forum’s attendees face one of the most complex meetings since the forum opened its doors in 2014. 

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(Click here for a French version of this article, or click here for a spanish version.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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Strengthening coexistence between Muslim societies, reviving interfaith values, creating a space for spreading the message of peace and strengthening the role of the UAE in all these areas are the main objectives of the Peace Forum. This year, they are expected to be worked on the basis of four central themes: the challenges of global peace in the face of an international order in crisis, the role of youth and women in the promotion of peace, the universality of peace in the face of the globalisation of war, and the role of religious leaders in the peace process. 

The forum was born in 2014, under the chairmanship of H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, and the patronage of the then Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, under the name ‘Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies’. Since then, the meeting has become a space of reference in the Islamic world, where scholars strive to promote peace, tolerance and the correction of certain concepts.

Last year 2021, when the meeting formally changed its name to become the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, the forum kicked off in Al Wasl Square at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Imam Hassan bin Ali International Peace Award

In addition, the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum is – since 2015, just one year after its birth – a platform that works to empower creativity in peace advocacy through the ‘Peacemakers Hackathon’ initiative, as well as a space to recognise and “honour the creators and precursors of scientific works and initiatives for the promotion of a culture of peace and the consolidation of its value in Muslim societies” with the Imam Hassan bin Ali International Peace Prize, as explained on the official website. 

This year’s recipient of the Imam Hassan bin Ali Prize is the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), for his work as a promoter of peace during his presidency of the G20. A particularly complicated year for the group due to Russia’s membership, which put at risk – on more than one occasion – that the group’s ministerial summits held to date would conclude more or less normally. 

“For President Jokowi, as well as for all the Indonesian people, this is an extraordinary award that symbolises confidence in the president as a leader who spreads the message and culture of peace in the world,” Indonesian State Minister Pratikno said after Abu Dhabi Peace Forum Secretary-General H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah travelled to Jakarta to ratify the presentation of the award to Jokowi at the Merdeka Palace. 

“The world is currently facing many kinds of crises: a war, a food crisis, an energy crisis. Not only can people not afford to buy, but the supplies themselves have changed. […]. So if we can do this, it means we can contribute to this world,” Pratikno added.

Arab and Middle Eastern States: International Day of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

A survey by CPNN

The following 28 events in 15 Arab and Middle Eastern countries were listed in Google during the week of September 17-28 this year under the key words “International day of peace” “peace day”, “journee internationale de la paix” and اليوم الدولي للسلام .

About 18 events are listed on the maps of One Day One Choir and Montessori schools singing for peace, but there is no indication which took place this year and which took place only in previous years


Meeting of the League of Arab States on the International Day of Peace

ALGERIA

Today, Wednesday, on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Peace, the National Council for Human Rights affirmed that Algeria had several initiatives in this regard.

BAHRAIN

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Peace, Her Excellency Mrs. Fawzia bint Abdullah Zainal, Speaker of the House of Representatives, affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain is a symbol of coexistence and openness and an example to follow in peace between different religions and sects, thanks to the wise visions and wise leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

BAHRAIN, ABDUL RAHMAN KANOO INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 

Abdul Rahman Kanoo International School (ARKIS) celebrates International Day of Peace also known as Peace Day, which is observed worldwide each year on September 21. . . . Under the direction of Mrs. Abeer Mahmood (Events & Activates Coordinator), 18 classes from Preschool supported the peace day celebrations and each class was given a large cardboard picture of a dove and were given the opportunity to stick a green leaf to paper, understanding the importance of the day. As a separate event, an olive tree was fitted to the garden at the Schools Main Gate, as a symbol and reminder to all students, parents, and stakeholders of peace and friendship.

BAHRAIN SCHOOLS

The schools of the Kingdom of Bahrain celebrated the International Day of Peace, which falls on the twenty-first of September each year.
The events focused on benefiting from the activities of the “School Enhancing Citizenship and Human Rights” project, which it implements The Ministry of Education for several years, with the aim of promoting the values of peace, tolerance, coexistence and dialogue in the school community . In an example of these efforts, 550 students and 58 administrators and teachers at Al-Qadisiyah Primary School for Girls participated in several Activities that varied between storytelling, coloring, crafts and educational games, with the participation of all school departments.

BAHRAIN, ISA TOWN

In order to enhance the concept of peace, the Al-Amal Institute for Special Education of the Child and Maternity Welfare Association held a simple celebration on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, which included a chant about peace prepared by Professor Batoul Abdel Rahim and implemented by the students of the Institute.

EGYPT, CAIRO

Arab Parliament Speaker Adel Abdulrahman Al Asoomi marked the International Day of Peace, celebrated annually on September 21. The Speaker stressed the importance of spreading peace and the culture of coexistence, especially in light of the conflicts and humanitarian crises around the world. Al Asoomi called for unifying Arab efforts in tackling violence and hatred.

EGYPT, DAMIETTA UNIVERSITY

Under the patronage of Prof. Dr. El-Sayed Mohamed Daadour – President of the University and under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Wael Farouk Al-Taibani – Vice President for Education and Student Affairs, the UNESCO Club, in cooperation with the General Administration for Student Welfare, organized today, Wednesday, 9/21/2022, the celebration activities of the day The International Peace Conference on the University Campus, in the presence of Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kamel Khalil, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al-Zaki, Head of the Department of Fundamentals of Education at the Faculty of Education, Coordinator of the UNESCO Club, and a number of faculty members and university students.

EGYPT, SHARM EL-SHEIKH

Sharm El-Sheikh hotels celebrated today, Wednesday, the International Day of Peace . . . A group of hotel staff, led by Sherine El-Hawary, assistant manager and training officer at the hotel, gathered, raising some slogans calling for peace, and taking a group of memorial photos at the peace icon. The icon, located in the Peace Square in Sharm El Sheikh, is the tallest peace icon in the world . . . The icon design is in the form of black granite clusters bearing lotus leaves topped by eight wings inspired by the wings of the god “Ra”, the sun god, among the ancient Egyptians. Above it is the pigeon carrying an olive branch as a symbol of peace, and the eight wings indicate the main directions, North, East, South, West, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest.

ISESCO

The International Day of Peace comes this year under the
 slogan: “Ending racism.. and building peace.” The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) seizes this occasion to call for mobilization and solidarity, to meet the challenges of peace and security , which impede social development and human capital building around the world, with an estimated economic impact of approximately 10.5% of global GDP. In an effort to achieve a tangible qualitative leap, ISESCO launched its Leadership Training Program for Peace and Security, which in its first edition enabled the training of 30 young men and women who became ambassadors of peace, while 50 others from 45 countries will benefit from the training in its second Edition. ISESCO, in cooperation with the International University of Rabat in the Kingdom of Morocco, launched the program for integrating ISESCO’s “360 Degrees for Peace” approach into academia.

IRAQ

As the world celebrates the “International Day of Peace”, a number of Iraqi women activists and a human rights center are taking advantage of this day, to reveal discrimination against women at work, as well as the pressures and difficulties they face in their various activities, amid calls to stop “arbitrary practices” against them, which amounted to killing and displacement. . . . In this regard, the head of the Iraq Center for Human Rights, Ali Al-Abadi, explains to Shafaq News Agency, “Women have started resorting to civil activities due to the lack of justice in their rights, and despite the Iraqi and international laws’ emphasis on gender equality, but many aspects of life are still monopolized by men, or unequal pay, as The tribal institution, especially the southern one, underestimates women’s rights.”

JORDAN, ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLES OF EURASIA

On September 21, 2022, the Assembly of the Peoples of Eurasia held a reception in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Peace, approved by the UN General Assembly. The event was attended by prominent public and scientific figures, senators, members of Parliament, representatives of international organizations, state and non-state structures of Jordan. . . . The culmination of the evening was the charity ceremony “Peace Bell” for strengthening peace and mutual understanding between countries and peoples, which was accompanied by a video recording of the musical composition “Stork on the Roof” performed by Yaroslav Degtyareva and Valentina Biryukova.

JORDAN, AMMAN

 The participants in the conference “The Holistic Transformation Towards a Green Feminist Economy” unanimously agreed on the importance of empowering women and enhancing social, economic and psychological security; To achieve a green feminist economy in its holistic form.
The Minister of Culture, Haifa Al-Najjar, who sponsored the opening ceremony of the conference organized by the Feminist Economy Foundation and the “Think Project” yesterday evening, at the “W” Hotel in Amman, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, said that she came to the conference not as a minister, but because of her absolute belief as a partner and a person who believes in a project. Think of all humanity and world peace.

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Question related to this article:

What has happened this year (2022) for the International Day of Peace?

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LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES

The statement of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab
States on the International Day of Peace . . . .  On this day, the League of Arab States affirmed, through joint regional efforts, the commitment to exert more effort and support joint Arab action, which would activate the participation of all parties in efforts to build and sustain peace without exclusion or discrimination. As well as emphasizing the importance of exerting more effort to support the peace process, unity and reconciliation, spreading a culture of non-violence in all circles, and working for a world free of racism and discrimination.

LEBANON, UNIFIL

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) held on 21 September 2022 a ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace at its headquarters in Naqoura, South Lebanon. Peacekeepers representing the current 48 troop-contributing countries in UNIFIL were joined at the event by representatives of the local authorities, religious leaders, Lebanese armed and security forces and members of the international community.

LIBYA, BENGHAZI

The Permanent Peace Foundation, in partnership with Vision Research, Training & Consultancies and Barah Culture & Arts, celebrates the International Day of Peace, which falls on September 21 of each year. At five in the evening at the headquarters of «Brah for Culture and Arts» in Benghazi.The celebration includes many cultural and artistic activities and a dialogue session for speakers who have experienced peace, according to “ Facebook ” .

OMAN, SALALAH

Participants in the first Omani Cultural Forum, which concluded in the Omani city of Salalah today, Wednesday, affirmed that “the Gulf states represent a global model for peace and coexistence among peoples, as it includes dozens of nationalities living in peace and brotherhood on one land.”  The conference was held over two days under the slogan (Oman, Love and Peace), in the presence of a crowd of people interested in culture and peace from various Arab countries, coinciding with the International Day of Peace, which falls on September 21 each year.  

QATAR, DOHA

Wijdan Cultural Center of the Ministry of Culture celebrated today the International Day of Peace, which falls on the Sept. 21 every year, which this year adopts the theme “End racism. Build Peace,” through organizing an event in which researcher Yasser Al-Gharbawi, head of the Research and Studies Department at the Center, delivered a speech, which was broadcast on the center’s social media platforms. . . . Wijdan’s head of the Research and Studies Department said that this global occasion is an opportunity to promote a culture of peace.

SAUDI ARABIA, RIYADH, MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE

In conjunction with the commemoration of the International Day of Peace, which falls on September 21 of each year, the Muslim World League, with the participation of the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly and a high-level delegation from the Kingdom of Sweden, celebrated the inauguration of the famous symbol of peace; “The Knotted Pistol”, at the sub-headquarters of the Muslim World League in Riyadh, which has become a global icon that started from the United Nations headquarters, bypassing the framework of its first idea in New York, where the United Nations installed a model of the knotted pistol for its global connotation calling for peace and rejection of violence.

SOMALIA, MOGADISHU

Today, Wednesday, Somali Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh Ahmed Jameh, inaugurated an event to celebrate the International Day of Peace, organized by the Ministry of Interior, Federalism and Reconciliation in Mogadishu, under the title: “Together to Promote Peace and Reject Racial Discrimination.” This came with the participation of the Minister of Interior, Federalism and Reconciliation, His Excellency Ahmed Moallem Faki, his deputy, Mr. Abdul Hakim Ashkar, the United Nations envoy to Somalia, Mr. James Swan, and the ambassadors of a number of concerned brotherly and friendly countries to Somalia, in addition to representatives of regional governments and the Banadir Governorate administration. civil society organizations, and the Women’s Union.

SUDAN, DARFUR

To mark the International Day of Peace, ten youth peace advocates from Darfur met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Volker Perthes, and his Deputy, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Khardiata Lô N’Diaye. . . . The discussion covered a wide array of subjects including the impact of the continued political crisis on the escalation of violence across Sudan, and gaps in the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement and the National Plan for the Protection of Civilian. Participants also stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding and the importance of empowering women and youth as peace advocates.

SUDAN, KADUGLI

On Wednesday, the women of Southern Kordofan marched from Freedom Square in Kadugli to the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Government of Southern Kordofan on the occasion of the International Day of Peace. The women participating in the procession handed a memorandum to the Deputy Governor of Southern Kordofan, Al-Rasheed Attia, which contained 16 demands, including speeding up the formation of a civilian democratic government, involving women and not tolerating violence against them, in addition to activating the role of the police in protecting women and appointing policewomen.

SUDAN, KHARTOUM

On the International Day of Peace, the director of the General Administration for Women at the Ministry of Social Development, Mrs. Suad Dishol, said, “We celebrate this great occasion and take a moment to reflect on it and slowly read the slogan of this year’s celebration, to see between these phrases the state of our country and the pain that squeezes the hearts of millions of those who have been stung by the fire of racism.” The hateful and the distortion it caused in the relations of the various groups and tribes and torn apart their entities that were known for tolerance and living in peace.

SYRIA

Video: Peace Day, Syrian youth sing for peace and harmony.

SYRIA, WOMEN’S COUNCIL

The United Nations General Assembly declared the International Day of Peace in 1981 in order to celebrate and promote the ideal of peace among all nations and peoples. Two decades later, the General Assembly set September 21 as the date to celebrate the occasion annually. On this occasion, the Women’s Council in North and East Syria and the Human Rights Organization in Al Jazeera prepared a lecture entitled Women and Peace. (with photos of poster and meeting).

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, DUBAI

The International Peace Day Celebration, by the Council for Universal Peace, which is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is held at Sheikh Rashid Tower World Trade Centre, Dubai. The summit was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Obaid Suhail Al Maktoum and was presided over by Khaled Al Maeena, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Addressing the summit, His Highness Sheik Obaid Suhail Al Maktoum said, “It’s the right time to work together for Global Peace and Bond beyond boundaries.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, SHARJAH

The Department of Social Services in Sharjah organized community events and activities on the occasion of the International Day of Peace. . . Maryam Ibrahim Al-Zarouni, happiness specialist and social educator in the department, said that the occasion receives the attention of many institutions and authorities in the country, because of its importance in instilling the concept of peace and love in the hearts of members of society, and raising their awareness of its importance, in order to spread peace and tolerance among peoples.

YEMEN

Tomorrow Thursday evening, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the Nidaa Organization for Coexistence and Construction will hold a symposium entitled Peace Challenges in Yemen, via the virtual space ZOOM, in cooperation with the SAM Organization for Rights and Freedoms. 

YEMEN, ADEN

“Southern Women Group for Peace”, on the International Day of Peace, reaffirms its firm position and its call to all parties to the conflict to sit at the dialogue table under the supervision of the international efforts and for regional and international bodies to play their desired role and firm positions towards stopping the war that has drained human energies, resources and national wealth of Yemen . . . . A group of southerners for peace, on this International Day of Peace, renews its demands that southern women occupy their rightful place in all negotiations calling for peace, based on resolution (1325) issued by the UN Security Council.

Solidarity with the Palestinians and the forces of peace operating in Israel

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

A press release from Mouvement de la Paix Corrèze (translation by CPNN)

Mouvement de la Paix condemns the Israeli bombings on the civilian population of Gaza. These are not preventive strikes, as the Israeli army and government call them, but war crimes against civilian populations, already victims of an inhuman blockade. The strikes have caused dozens of deaths and injuries among the population, including children. Our solidarity is expressed with the victims, but also with the peacekeeping forces who demonstrated in Tel Aviv against these bombings and against Israeli policy against the Palestinian populations.

In Gaza, as elsewhere, war and bombardments bring no solution.

For the Mouvement de la Paix, the official recognition by France of the State of Palestine, in compliance with resolution 2887 adopted almost unanimously on December 2, 2014 by the National Assembly, would be a strong gesture to reinforce the pressure on the Israeli government for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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There is urgency because, as this resolution underlines, “the status quo is untenable and dangerous because it feeds frustrations and growing mistrust between the two parties”. This resolution also “stresses the imperative for a rapid resumption of negotiations between the parties according to clear parameters and a determined timetable; affirms the urgent need to reach a definitive settlement of the conflict allowing the establishment of a democratic and sovereign State of Palestine in peace and security alongside Israel, on the basis of the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as its capital of these two States, and based on mutual recognition; affirms that the two-State solution, consistently promoted by France and the European Union, presupposes the recognition of the State of Palestine alongside that of Israel; calls on the French Government to recognize the State of Palestine with a view to to obtain a final settlement of the conflict. »

The Mouvement de la Paix, as a partner of a European citizens’ initiative made up of a coalition of around a hundred organizations and in France of a coalition of around thirty trade unions, associations, NGOs and political parties , calls for the promotion and signing of the petition aimed at obtaining an end to European trade with the colonies illegally established in the occupied territories.

Click here to sign the petition.

Mouvement de la Paix. August 11, 2022

(Thank you to Roland Nivet for sending this article to CPNN.)

UNAOC Announces Call for Applications for the 2022 Edition of its Fellowship Programme

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An announcement from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is pleased to launch the Call for Applications for the 2022 edition of its Fellowship Programme. The Call is open to participants between 25 to 35 years old, from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America, with a strong interest in intercultural exchanges and intercultural cooperation to challenge and deconstruct hate speech and stereotypes.

The theme of the Fellowship 2022 is “Countering discrimination and racism: the nexus to building pluralistic and diverse societies”. The choice of the theme stems from UNAOC’s core mandate of tackling racism and discrimination and finding ways to addressing root causes of polarization within and between societies.

The context of the current global challenges is more complex than ever before. Recent years have witnessed the rise of discrimination against various groups and hate crimes targeting vulnerable populations, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which revealed that no society is spared. Growing intolerance, xenophobia, discrimination, and hate speech pose an enormous threat to international peace and security. Peace is the central promise of the Charter of the United Nations and one of the principal global public goods the United Nations was established to deliver (Our Common Agenda, The report of the Secretary-General). Thus, investing in prevention and peacebuilding is paramount to building pluralistic and diverse societies.

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Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Discrimination and racism take many forms and impact all aspects of life. All of these can hinder the efforts of the international community to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The 2022 Fellowship Programme is designed to provide an excellent platform to build bridges across cultures, borders and beliefs and thus contribute towards achieving the Agenda 2030.

Intercultural dialogue represents an important tool to prevent conflict and build social cohesion, peace and stability. As a mainstay of UNAOC’s work, intercultural dialogue will remain a central focus of the Fellowship agenda with visits and activities aiming at providing participants with crucial comprehension tools to help them understand the plurality and the complexity of their surroundings, and to get an extensive grasp of their host country’s culture, politics, society, religion, media and more.

To be selected, candidates must be able to present professional achievements related to the theme. The Call will lead to the selection of a group of 8 young leaders from Europe, North-America (EUNA) and a group of 8 young leaders from the Middle East and North-Africa (MENA) who will travel together to selected countries in both regions for two weeks.

The goal of the Fellowship is to challenge perceptions and deconstruct stereotypes by providing participants with first hand exposure to cultural diversity. In every country they visit, UNAOC Fellows will interact with a wide range of local stakeholders. Together, they will explore opportunities for intercultural collaboration and exchange ideas and good practices on building pluralistic and diverse societies as a foundation for sustainable peace.

Candidates have until Sunday, 5 June 2022, 11:59 PM EDT to apply.

APPLY AS A EUNA CANDIDATE

APPLY AS A MENA CANDIDATE

Palestine: Tears and hope from the last few days

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

A blog by Mazin Qumsiyeh
 · 
A world renowned journalist Shireen AbuAqleh was intentionally murdered by an Israeli sniper in Jenin. Millions of tears were shed for her including ours at the Palestne Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (palestinenature.org). We planted ten trees in her honor. The constellation of events and circumstances and her background actually were so amazing that it provided a huge dose of sadness but also a big ray of hope for us.

Jenin, where she was murdered, is a center of heroic resistance to occupation (resistance not suported by any government, international or even Palestinian). She was a journalist and wearing protective blue journalist vest and helmet. Thus she mobilized the media. She was beloved by every Palestinian home for her coverage of their daily miseries inflected by foreign occupiers for decades. She was a US Citizen thus exposed by her death the hypocrisy of the Zionist run state department that like with Rachel Corrie and other US citizens killed by Israel (a “special country immune from accountability because of a strong lobby in Washington DC). Her body underwent autopsy in Nablus att a Palestinian Medical School then taken to Ramallah and then to Jerusalem. That she is a Jerusalemite with both her Parents burried there was fortuitous bliss. She was also Christian and all Christian churches in Jerusalem rang their bells. Muslims prayed for her on their holy day in Friday just before she was burried. Millions watched and thousands participated in her burial in Jerusalem on a Friday. Mourners were Christians, Muslims, and conscientious Jews and adorned with Palestinian flags (forbidden by the Israeli occupation forces).

Occupation forces then attacked the funeral including pallbearers of Shireen after they murdered her. Here are the shocking video from different angles
Youtube-1
Youtube-2
Facebook

Initial investigations and human righst statements on the murder of Shireen:
AlHaq investigation
BTselem
Amnesty

The hypocrisy of the west is becoming even more blatant. In the murder of Shireen Aby Aqleh, they simply “call for investigation”. But Shireen was reporter number 49 murdered by occupation forces and certainly Israel murdered tens of thousands of civilians (including American citizens like Rachel Corrie). They always got away with it. Here is what the state department said about a reporter of the same age as Shireen killed in Ukraine: “We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces. This is yet another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.” They did not call on the Kremlin to “investigate”. Now imagine if they were not hypocritical and said the same thing about Shireen. It would read: “We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Palestine by Zionist forces. This is yet another gruesome example of the Zionists’ indiscriminate actions.”

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Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from the left column)

We did not hear of sanctions let alone ramping up pressure against the Zionist regime for doing a hundred fold more than Russia did in Ukraine. Like with South Africa, governments supported apartheid, people opposed it and engaged in demanding and putting together programs for boycott, divestments and sanction (BDS – see BDSmovement.net). Western corporate media is also complicit and must be challenged.

How the media failed in their duty to honor one of their own

Meanwhile this same week, the Israeli regime with US government support approved removal of over 1200 people from the homes in South Hebron hills and simultaneously announced thousands of new housing units in illegal colonial settlements in the illegally occupied areas (both violations of international law). The announcement of 4427 new units was done after lengthy negotiations with the US who also was given greenlight from AIPAC to state they oppose them (even though they actually approved and funded them). The EU also produced empty words of opposition while continuing to fund the occupiers/colonizers. Here is what Jewish Voice for Peace (braver tahn all these arab and western governments) said on one incident: “Taking advantage of Palestinians’ grief [over the murder of Shireen], American Jewish settlers took over a Palestinian home in Hebron, known to Palestinians as Al Khalil before its Judaization. This theft of Palestinian homes by foreigners is a feature of Zionism, not a bug. Settlers — and of course their Palestinian victims — are clear on this. ‘We are continuing the Zionist endeavor of redeeming the Land, said Shlomo Levinger, a representative for the settler families said. And by “redeeming the land,” they mean Judaizing it, erasing Palestinians’ history and connection to it, and ethnically cleansing the Palestinians who live on it. To prevent future settler home theft, we must oppose Zionism, which has always required the forced displacement of Palestinians — as both early Zionists and today’s settlers have made explicit.”

Shireen’s voice is amplified by her murder just like Nizar Banat’s murder and just like >110,000 civilians murdered here in Palestine since Zionists arrived from Europe. We must amplify victims’ voices especially in cases like this where the constellation of events are what they are. Shireen was our voice to the world and now we must be her voice. A Jerusalem main street was taken over by its rightful owners – Palestinians with Palestinian flags and sounds of Christian and Muslim prayers. Shireen plby her sacrifice list the road for resistance and resilience. Her coffin, carried by Muslims and Christians, reminded us of what beauty and unity was like in Jerusalem before this horrific gruesome occupation. It was a sign of hope and it is a beacon of courage despite the overtime hasbara/propaganda that spends billions to keep western audiences in teh dark. We must redouble our efforts to end this nightmare and liberate Palestine. The harder we work the quicker this will happen and this in turn saves lives. 23-year old Palestinian Walid Al-Sharif died of wounds sustained two weeks ago in Al-Aqsa mosque by occupation forces who attacked Muslim worshippers. We all must say enough is enough of this. EVERYONE is called upon to act in their capacity to end this nightmare (exposing Western Hypocrisy is just one of many tools)

David Shulman- Israel Prize Winner on South Hebron hills

A great speech by Charlie Chaplain during the heat of the horrible 1940s when Hitler whipped-up hatred in the name of safety for the German people as the Zionist regime does today. Still valid today if people would listen. How much better we would be if Zionists stop regurgitating hate and oppression that was inflicted on hundreds of millions throughout the ages. Listen to these very powerful words

Amnesty International : Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

A report from Amnesty International

In May 2021, Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, began protesting against Israel’s plan to forcibly evict them from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers. Many of the families are refugees, who settled in Sheikh Jarrah after being forcibly displaced around the time of Israel’s establishment as a state in 1948. Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank in 1967, Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have been continuously targeted by Israeli authorities, who use discriminatory laws to systematically dispossess Palestinians of their land and homes for the benefit of Jewish Israelis.


video by Amnesty

In response to the demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah, thousands of Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) held their own protests in support of the families, and against their shared experience of fragmentation, dispossession, and segregation. These were met with excessive and deadly force by Israeli authorities with thousands injured, arrested and detained.

The events of May 2021 were emblematic of the oppression which Palestinians have faced every day, for decades. The discrimination, the dispossession, the repression of dissent, the killings and injuries – all are part of a system which is designed to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.

This is apartheid.

Amnesty International’s new investigation shows that Israel imposes a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians across all areas under its control: in Israel and the OPT, and against Palestinian refugees, in order to benefit Jewish Israelis. This amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law.

Laws, policies and practices which are intended to maintain a cruel system of control over Palestinians, have left them fragmented geographically and politically, frequently impoverished, and in a constant state of fear and insecurity.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT

WHAT IS APARTHEID?

Apartheid is a violation of public international law, a grave violation of internationally protected human rights, and a crime against humanity under international criminal law.

The term “apartheid” was originally used to refer to a political system in South Africa which explicitly enforced racial segregation, and the domination and oppression of one racial group by another. It has since been adopted by the international community to condemn and criminalize such systems and practices wherever they occur in the world.

The crime against humanity of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention, the Rome Statute and customary international law is committed when any inhuman or inhumane act (essentially a serious human rights violation) is perpetrated in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system.

Apartheid can best be understood as a system of prolonged and cruel discriminatory treatment by one racial group of members of another with the intention to control the second racial group.

TAKE OUR COURSE

Amnesty International has created a free 90-minute course called “Deconstructing Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians”. To learn more about the crime of apartheid in international law, what apartheid looks like in Israel/OPT, and how it affects Palestinians’ lives, sign up to our course on Amnesty International’s human rights education academy.

WHY IS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNING AGAINST APARTHEID?

Apartheid is not acceptable anywhere in the world. So why has the world accepted it against Palestinians?

Human rights have long been side-lined by the international community when dealing with the decades-long struggle and suffering of Palestinians. Palestinians facing the brutality of Israel’s repression have been calling for an understanding of Israel’s rule as apartheid for over two decades. Over time, a broader international recognition of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid has begun to take shape.

Yet, governments with the responsibility and power to do something have refused to take any meaningful action to hold Israel accountable. Instead, they have been hiding behind a moribund peace process at the expense of human rights and accountability. Unfortunately, the situation today is one of no progress towards a just solution and worsening human rights for Palestinians.

Amnesty is calling for Israel to end the international wrong, and crime, of apartheid, by dismantling measures of fragmentation, segregation, discrimination, and deprivation, currently in place against the Palestinian population.

TELL ISRAEL: DEMOLISH APARTHEID, NOT PALESTINIAN HOMES

The Palestinian experience of being denied a home is at the heart of Israel’s apartheid system. That’s why, as a first step towards dismantling this system, we are calling on Israel to end the practice of home demolitions.

Palestinian families need people to stand with them against injustice and discrimination, by taking action to help them protect their homes.

TAKE ACTION

ISRAEL’S SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION AND DOMINATION OF PALESTINIANS

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, successive governments have created and maintained a system of laws, policies, and practices designed to oppress and dominate Palestinians. This system plays out in different ways across the different areas where Israel exercises control over Palestinians’ rights, but the intent is always the same: to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.

Israeli authorities have done this through four main strategies:

Fragmentation into domains of control: At the heart of the system is keeping Palestinian separated from each other into distinct territorial, legal and administrative domains

Dispossession of land and property: Decades of discriminatory land and property seizures, home demolitions and forced evictions

Segregation and control: A system of laws and policies that keep Palestinians restricted to enclaves, subject to several measures that control their lives, and segregated from Jewish Israelis

Deprivation of economic & social rights: The deliberate impoverishment of Palestinians keeping them at great disadvantage in comparison to Jewish Israelis

FRAGMENTATION INTO DOMAINS OF CONTROL

In the course of establishing Israel as a Jewish state in 1948, Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages, in what amounted to ethnic cleansing.

Since then, successive governments have designed laws and policies to ensure the continued fragmentation of the Palestinian population. Palestinians are confined to enclaves in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the refugee communities, where they are subject to different legal and administrative regimes. This has had the effect of undermining family, social and political ties between Palestinian communities and suppressing sustained dissent against the apartheid system; it also helps to maximise Jewish Israeli control over land and maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

Millions of Palestinians remain displaced as refugees and continue to be physically isolated from those residing in Israel and the OPT through Israel’s continuous denial of their right to return to their homes, towns and villages.

DISPOSSESSION OF LAND AND PROPERTY

Since 1948, Israel has enforced massive and cruel land seizures to dispossess Palestinians of their land and homes. Although Palestinians in Israel and the OPT are subjected to different legal and administrative regimes, Israel has used similar land expropriation measures across all areas – for example, since 1948, Israel has expropriated land in areas of strategic importance that include significant Palestinian populations such as the Galilee and the Negev/Naqab, and used similar measures in the OPT following Israel’s military occupation in 1967. In order to maximize Jewish Israeli control over land and minimize the Palestinian presence, Palestinians have been confined to separate, densely populated enclaves. While Israeli policies have allowed for the discriminatory allocation of state land to be used almost exclusively to benefit Jewish Israelis both inside of Israel and in the OPT.

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(click here for the article in French or click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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SEGREGATION AND CONTROL

Successive Israeli governments have pursued a strategy of establishing domination through discriminatory laws and policies which segregate Palestinians into enclaves, based on their legal status and residence.

Israel denies Palestinian citizens their rights to equal nationality and status, while Palestinians in the OPT face severe restrictions on freedom of movement. Israel also restricts Palestinians’ rights to family unification in a profoundly discriminatory manner: for example, Palestinians from the OPT cannot gain residency or citizenship through marriage, which Jewish Israelis can.

Israel also places severe limitations on Palestinians’ civil and political rights, to suppress dissent and maintain the system of oppression and domination. For example, millions of Palestinians in the West Bank remain subject to Israel’s military rule and draconian military orders adopted since 1967.

DEPRIVATION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS

These measures have left Palestinians marginalized, impoverished and economically disadvantaged across Israel and the OPT.

Decades of discriminatory allocation of resources by Israeli authorities, for the benefit of Jewish Israeli citizens in Israel and Israeli settlers in the OPT, compound these inequalities. For example, millions of Palestinians inside of Israel and East Jerusalem live in densely populated areas that are generally underdeveloped and lack adequate essential services such as garbage collection, electricity, public transportation and water and sanitation infrastructure.

Palestinians across all areas under Israel’s control have fewer opportunities to earn a living and engage in business than Jewish Israelis. They experience discriminatory limitations on access to and use of farmland, water, gas and oil amongst other natural resources, as well as restrictions on the provision of health, education and basic services.

In addition, Israeli authorities have appropriated the vast majority of Palestinians’ natural resources in the OPT for the economic benefit of Jewish citizens in Israel and in the illegal settlements.

LIFE UNDER APARTHEID

DENIED A HOME: DEMOLITIONS AND FORCED EVICTIONS

Palestinians are systematically subjected to home demolitions and forced evictions, and live in constant fear of losing their homes.

For more than 73 years, Israel has been forcibly displacing entire Palestinian communities. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians’ homes have been demolished, causing terrible trauma & suffering. More than 6 million Palestinians remain refugees, the vast majority of whom live in refugee camps including outside of Israel/OPT. There are over 100,000 Palestinians in the OPT and another 68,000 inside of Israel at imminent risk of losing their homes, many for the second or third time.

Palestinians are caught in a Catch-22 situation. Israel requires them to obtain a permit to build or even erect a structure such as a tent, but – unlike Jewish Israeli applicants – rarely issues them a permit. Many Palestinians are forced to build without permits. Israel then demolishes Palestinian homes on the basis that they were built “illegally”. Israel uses these discriminatory planning and zoning policies to create unbearable living conditions to force Palestinians to leave their homes to allow for the expansion of Jewish settlement.

Mohammed Al-Rajabi, a resident of Al-Bustan area in Silwan, whose home was demolished by Israeli authorities on 23 June 2020 on the basis that it was built “illegally”, described to Amnesty International the devastating impact on his family:

FRAGMENTED LOVE: SEPARATION OF PALESTINIAN FAMILIES

Israel has enacted discriminatory laws and policies that disrupt family life for Palestinians. Since 2002, Israel has adopted a policy of prohibiting Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from gaining status in Israel or East Jerusalem through marriage, thus preventing family unification.

Israel has long used discriminatory laws and policies to separate Palestinians from their families. For example, Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza cannot gain legal status in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem through marriage, denying their rights to family unification. This policy has forced thousands of Palestinians to live apart from their loved ones; others are forced to go abroad, or live in constant fear of being arrested, expelled or deported.

These measures explicitly target Palestinians, and not Jewish Israelis, and are primarily guided by demographic considerations that aim to minimize Palestinian presence inside Israel/OPT.

Sumaia, was born and raised in Lod in central Israel. She married her husband, who is from the Gaza Strip, in 1998 and he moved to live with her in Lod. In 2000, Sumaia and her husband began the process of applying for family unification, so they could live together legally. The family unification process took 18 years, during which the couple lived in fear and anxiety. Sumaia told Amnesty International:

UNDER SIEGE

Over the past 14 years, more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under Israel’s illegal blockade. Along with four major military offensives, the blockade has had catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza.

The blockade is a form of collective punishment. It forces Gaza’s population – the majority of whom are refugees or their descendants who fled in 1948 – to live in increasingly dire conditions. There are severe shortages of housing, drinking water, electricity, essential medicines and medical care, food, educational equipment and building materials. In 2020, Gaza had the world’s highest unemployment rate, and more than half of its population was living below the poverty line.

On 30 March 2018, Palestinians in Gaza launched the Great March of Return, a series of weekly mass demonstrations along the fence between Gaza and Israel.

They were demanding their right to return to their villages and towns in what is now Israel, as well as an end to Israel’s blockade on Gaza. The response was brutal: by the end of 2019, Israeli forces had killed 214 civilians, including 46 children, and injured more than 8,000 others with live ammunition. A total of 156 of those injured had to have limbs amputated. More than 1,200 patients require long-term, complex and expensive therapy and rehabilitation, and tens of thousands more require psycho-social support -none of which are widely available in Gaza.

The blockade prevents Palestinians from accessing adequate healthcare, in particular life-saving and other emergency medical treatment only available outside Gaza. The Israeli authorities often delay these permits and sometimes fail to provide them at all.

Adham Al-Hajjar, 36, is a freelance journalist and lives in Gaza City. On 6 April 2018, while he was covering the Great March of Return demonstrations, Israeli snipers positioned along the fence separating Gaza from Israel shot him. He is unable to get the medical help he needs in Gaza because of the debilitated health services there.

CRIMINAL PATTERNS

Israel has been systematically committing serious human rights violations against Palestinians for decades. Violations such as forcible transfer, administrative detention, torture, unlawful killings and serious injuries, and the denial of basic rights and freedoms have been well documented by Amnesty and others. It is clear that Israel’s apartheid system is being maintained through committing these abuses—which have been perpetrated with almost total impunity.

They form part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian population, carried out within the context of Israel’s institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination over Palestinians, and therefore constitute crimes against humanity of apartheid.

DISMANTLING THE SYSTEM

There is no place for apartheid in our world. It is a crime against humanity, and it has to end.

Israeli authorities have enjoyed impunity for too long. The international failure to hold Israel to account means Palestinians are still suffering every single day. It’s time to speak up, to stand with Palestinians and tell Israel that we will not tolerate apartheid.

For decades, Palestinians have been calling for an end to the oppression they live under. All too often, they pay a terrible price for standing up for their rights, and they have long been calling for others around the world to help them.

Let this be the beginning of an end to Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians.

Join us in the fight for justice, freedom, and equality for all.

TELL ISRAEL: DEMOLISH APARTHEID, NOT PALESTINIAN HOMES

The Palestinian experience of being denied a home is at the heart of Israel’s apartheid system. That’s why, as a first step towards dismantling this system, we are calling on Israel to end the practice of home demolitions.

Palestinian families need people to stand with them against injustice and discrimination, by taking action to help them protect their homes.

TAKE ACTION

Further Reading

Q&A: Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity

Phyllis Kotite has passed away

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An obituary from the facebook page of the Academic University for Non-Violence & Human Rights – AUNOHR

(Phyllis Kotite was a reporter and frequent contributor to CPNN) Here is her obituary from the Academic University for Non-Violence & Human Rights in her beloved homeland of Lebanon.)

Our very dear friend, the first member to join the Council of Fellows of AUNOHR, has passed away last week in Paris. Although she was more than 90 years old, she was at the peak of her intellectual prowess and she maintained her ever energetic and generous spirit.


Click on image to enlarge

One of the first Lebanese women to work at the UN in New York, and then at UNESCO in Paris, Phyllis continued to serve as a consultant and contributor to peace-building and non-violence education as well as conflict prevention programmes.

She was a born into a Lebanese family (Marjeyoun; South Lebanon) that immigrated to the United States of America at the beginning of the last century. However, she chose to build strong relations with her homeland and she actively immersed herself in all the challenging affairs that Lebanon was going through. She was an influential activist who decided that her ties to Lebanon and the Arab World should not be merely a matter of family heritage, but a matter of significant social change. She was a firm secularist whose beliefs were never compromised when sectarian warfare raged in Lebanon and she always remained true to her ideals.

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:
 
Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column).

She always sought to utilize her international relations and networks to support hundreds of individuals and tens of civil society organizations from all countries, especially Arab countries, as well to advocate social change causes and political and cultural liberation causes. This was especially true for Lebanon and for the Palestinian cause. She was most drawn to working with youth whom she saw as the face of the future.

Not a week would pass without her suggesting a new initiative to our university. She always sought to build new connections and networking opportunities, and she would relentlessly reach out to others, develop plans and open various horizons for future growth. She was incredibly generous and she always gave us her unwavering support, for she was convinced that the establishment of a university to spread the culture of non-violence and human rights in the Arab World was a unique and momentous undertaking, and that it was nothing short of a “heroic act”.

She offered all this incredible support while she was all on her own, with no institutions or office staff assisting her. Up until her last day, she continued to independently live by herself. She was an avid lover of music, arts, and culture. She was also an enthusiastic reader and a seeker of knowledge, and she was active in multiple initiatives and organizations.

Two days before her passing, she messaged Dr. Ogarit Younan, to send her regards and propose ideas for the MOU with Birzeit University. She had been a close friend to the founders of AUNOHR since the early nineties. Over the years, she offered several lectures for trainees, including some who have pursued this interest to become students at the university. Her lectures were on the topic of conflict prevention and she distributed her 2012 UNESCO publication on the topic to many of the students.

It was hard for anyone to guess her age given how she led her life with such youthfulness and passion. She was always dynamic and positive, no matter what the circumstances were, and she was a spontaneous and natural giver, without once weighing what she would get in return.

A loving and giving person never truly passes away, for love has never been held back by death.

Goodbye Phyllis Koteit, with our love.

The Elders: Israel’s designation of Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist” undermines core democratic principles

    . . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

    A press release from The Elders

    The Elders express their grave concern at Israel’s recent designation of several Palestinian civil society organisations as “terrorist”, and wider misuse of anti-terrorism frameworks to restrict civil society.


    Photo: joiseyshowaa

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    Question related to this article:

    Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

    Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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    Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia, Nobel Peace Laureate and member of The Elders, said: 

    “Israel’s recent designation of six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organisations” is part of a wider pattern of repression of Palestinian and Israeli civil society, and undermines core democratic principles. Global anti-terrorism frameworks such as the Financial Action Task Force standards should not be misused to restrict the legitimate work of civil society. Any designation must be proportionate and evidence-based. I urge the Israeli government to lift the designation or provide sufficient justification of it, and to recommit to the preservation of civic space and democratic freedoms.”

    Hina Jilani, human rights advocate, Co-chair – Task Force on Justice, said:

    “Human rights defenders and wider civil society play an indispensable role in our democracies.  When they are silenced, governments can no longer be held accountable. The designation of six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organisations” by Israel without adequate explanation puts their vital work and survival at risk, and sets a dangerous precedent. The Elders stand in solidarity with the NGOs, and call on donor governments to stand firm in their support for Palestinian civil society.”