Mediation for ReconciliationReconcilation and Community

Discussion of National Unity Initiatives from the Point of View of Palestinian Women

Summary/ Pal Think for Strategic Studies has organized a workshop to discuss the proposed initiatives for national unity form the point of view of Palestinian women, where a number of educated women, journalists, and college graduates as well as active women of the society participated.

Mr. Rajab Abu Serrya started the meeting with an introduction about the current Palestinian realities, and about the struggling Palestinian woman; the one who raises the children, and has the duty of protecting the national project. Mr. Serrya talked about the role the Palestinian woman has been playing through out the old and recent history. He has then started talking about the role PalThink is playing in regards to national unity and the workshops it offered recently. He then stressed the importance of the role the Palestinian woman can play in national unity from many angles including educational and awareness, where the woman is aught to be a decision maker and not wait to be lead. Mr. Serrya has stressed that differences are usually caused by people who are narrow minded an d lead by their own agendas and those working for their own benefits from both sides. And then, discussion for the female participants was open. A friendly and proactive debate went on where points of view were unanimous on the importance of reaching national unity and that being a public demand. Wishes for this were apparent on faces and expressions, saying that this is one people and that all citizens here are brothers and cousins and that mothers are either mothers a killer or of someone who had been killed. All participants have asserted that differences and disputes are only for the benefit of the occupation which has probably started these events. Participants decided that the wounds from within are harder to heal than those caused by the occupation. And that what’s happening in the strip is the reason for the ongoing unemployment, deteriorating economical situ ation and the tough social life where currently people refuse to marry their offspring to others only based on their political affiliations. They also talked about social solidarity in the previous Intifada and how good relations used to be. At the end of the seminar, participants agreed on a number of points including:

– the importance of the role played by organizations of the civil society in containing the crisis.

– We need someone to lead and guide us to be able to implement what we decide on in this meeting.

– Educating the participants and making them aware of how to intervene in crisis time and guiding those around them.- National unity is a public demand of all women.

– Yes to carrying one flag; the Palestinian one in all activities and demonstrations.

-making posters to be distributed on families and hung on walls.- Women only demonstrations.

– communicating with factional organizations and advising them to put their difference aside and to say yes to national accord.

– using all energy against the occupation.At the end, a concluding statement was given, which called all families to start from within and put aside their differences on the family and neighborhood levels.

Date: Monday 10th of March 2008. Location: El-Shoumouh club, El-Zaytoun district,  Gaza city Audience; women # of Participants: Eighty (80)

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