Community Peace Conference, Nablus

SVA held a conference to discuss community peace in the West Bank city of Nablus at the halls of Future Association on June 23, 2013. 104 local youth and university graduates and representatives of local NGOs participated at the conference. SVA’s West Bank Coordinator, Hassan Alkhatib, opened the conference and welcomed the participants, emphasizing on the need to continue the efforts of spreading concepts of community peace, tolerance, dialogue and reconciliation.

 

Mrs. Abeer Qasm chaired the first session of the conference and welcomed the distinguished writer Ms. Imtiyaz Almaghreby who presented her paper ” the role of women in promoting the culture of community peace”. She spoke about the  Palestinian women and the continuous struggle they have been playing to end the current political split and such a struggle has been yet represented in peaceful demonstrations. She also discussed the role of Palestinian women who continue to struggle for the sake of a democratic society as well that is based on social justice, equality and non-violence. She added that the political split has caused a great damage to the Palestinian social structure as Palestinians pay a price for the division. Almaghreby believed that women have a role to play in spreading community peace by means of their efficiency, wisdom and tolerance. She advised women persistence in their struggle for community peace, calling on all parties, including decision-makers, to help organize some relevant campaigns for the best of culture of community peace, in which women can be broadly involved.

 

In the second paper, Mrs. Abeer Qasm also welcomed the Islamic preacher, Zuhair Aldeby to who spoke about the community peace rejects all forms of violence and incitement. He added that the Islamic faith had long ago preached tolerance and renounced extremism or violence. Aldeby also emphasised that an open religious would help sort out hatred or any other form of extremism among members of the local community. He made clear that the Islamic faith respects pluralism and others and encourages interaction, based on rational dialogue, tolerance and mercy. The local preacher also believed that Islam has ever been based on a comprehensive vision not the partisan tendencies. He added that a well-structured society would lead to security and stability. Non-tolerance would mean non-existence of a variety of thoughts or visions, because of the fact that there is a wide range of demagogic dialogues that prevent flow of variety of visions or thoughts. He believed that currently there are some attempts by some parties to abolish doctrines of others.

 

Irrespective to recent global changes around the world, Aldeby said that there are still some social trends or behavior that are outdated like taking revenge or tribal feuds. Through his paper, Aldeb’y expressed his sorry for the killings and injuries of people during political partisan conflicts, attributing such fights to the absence of tolerance and culture of dialogue.

 

In the first session of the conference too, the media practitioner, Mr. Atef Sa’d presented a paper on media role in spreading culture of community peace. Sa’d maintained that media has ever been concerned about community problems and the suffering of a given community members, consequently influencing public opinion. He said that media could assume a certain role in spreading culture of community peace and averting all forms of violence, extremism or partisanship. He noted that a genuine media work could serve the local community effectively for the best of community peace, once such media is backed by the law. He maintained that community peace, the national unity and stability could be secured once media outlets are based on neutrality, objectivity and independency. Sa’d also made clear that a real media role should be based on principle of justice and accountability in a region.

 

During the second session, Dr. Fakhry Aldwaikat, of the Alquds Open  University chaired the session and welcomed Mr. Ghassan Daghlas, non-violent activist to present his paper work on ‘popular peaceful resistance, adding that peaceful struggle, at the political, cultural and economic levels, is necessary.  He pointed out that the popular non-violent resistance, is the best means for the people as a clear future strategy.

 

In a different paper work, presented by priest Ibrahim Naiyrouz, peaceful Islamic-Christian coexistence in Palestine, is an excellent model for dialogue among religions. Nayrouz maintained that the city of Bethlehem, is a city of peace where Muslims and Christians live in a great harmony. He clarified that the Islamic-Christian coexistence in Bethelahem has been marked with suffering under occupation, suffering of prisoners and sacrifices of all other freedom fighters irrespective to the religious background. The priest also noted that both Muslims and Christians have united against all occupation attempts to transform the city. He noted that such a historical coexistence between Muslims and Christians should be enhanced in a way that would allow mutual respect and reinforcement of dialogue and community peace among all members of the local community.

 

Participants and the speakers recommended the following:

 

  • Expanding and generalizing idea of youth participation in social, economic , cultural and political development;
  • There is a need for future similar conferences in all parts of the region.
  • Promotion of rules of law, good governance, values of social justice and equality.
  • Spreading security and safety among the local community and nhancing culture of community peace building with the involvement of all categories of the local civil community and local government.
  • Forming a committee comprising of all local community organizations , so that they will all work for the sake of community-based peace.
  • Enhancing role of local community organizations in relation with concepts of community peace.
  • Organizing campaign of advocacy and lobbying towards political parties so that a Palestinian reconciliation could be observed.
  • Promoting religious Islamic and Christian cooperation that would enhance community reconciliation.
  • Engaging in activities and programs that would enhance community peace and rule of law.
  • Adhering to public national  trends when it comes to media works including print, audio and television or electronic. This would guarantee peace and security of local citizens and remove all forms of incitement, hatred or split.
  • Reinforcing concepts of community peace and dialogue, away from violence and dismissal of others as well as finding new prospects for dialogue among youth, based on public interests, not on factional narrow ones.
  • Spreading culture of community peace among all members of the local community, especially youth.
  • Respecting political pluralism inside the Palestinian community, something that would raise level of democracy and help political parties and institutions succeed.
  • Increasing number of meetings and seminars to discuss the political rivalry at the internal level and spreading culture of community peace among local members of the community.
  •  Opening to others and reinforcing culture of bilateral relations and respect of others’ opinions, exchange of thoughts and expertise for the sake of humanity.
  • Reinforcing culture of dialogue among members of the local community, given the fact dialogue is important for the sake of  mutual respect within the framework of the national interests.
  • Promoting rule of law, as being the safeguard of the community.

SVF launches a Gaza conference Women Political and Social Participation

20 December, 2012 Conferences, News No comments

SVF launched on December 20,2012, aconference on women political and social participation in partnership withGazaUniversityand Center for NGOs development inGaza.

SVF’s Executive Director, Awni Alhaj, opened up the conference by welcoming more than 250 local participants including local residents, NGOs representatives and dozens of women.

First work paper of the conference was delivered by Majeda Albelbeisi, a local media figure. Albelbeisi titled her paper, sociopolitical reality of women and it’s impact on social and political participation of women.

Albelbeisi maintained that women have the right to involve in political life and even in decision-making but women continue to encounter a number of major obstacles towards that right, including social traditions and customs, which have made little of women compared with men.

She also said that women quota representation in parliament has been less than needed, despite the fact women quota reached about 17 seats by the 2006 elections.

Dr. Bahjat Abu Za’nouna, from his part, spoke of the role of media outlets to promote women political participation, saying that media outlets have considerably raised women awareness regarding political participation.

Reham Auda, a social activist, believed that that women role is that significant and that women should be involved in the development process for the local community, calling for selecting women who are well-educated and capable of engaging in such a development. Development for Reham could include education, health, sanitation and technology.

Mohammad Alnajjar, mayor of Maghazi municipality presented his own paper work , which focused on women leaderships within municipal councils , asserting that women should be enlightened towards their own basic rights for women have a great deal of strength points that need to be employed in the right direction. Alnajjar believed that women have maintained a great deal of success throughout their municipal work experiences.

Ibtesam Aza’aneen, a social activist, produced her paper work on experience of women in municipal councils, making clear that women participation in elections has marked a turning point in women political activity, leading women to positions within municipal councils.

She pointed out that women should be further promoted to partake in political life and women capabilities should be developed for the best of genuine women political participation.

Another speaker, Dr. Rami Wshah, said that all international conventions or laws, pertaining to women, have stipulated that women status should be upgraded and that there is a need for applying such laws across the region in order to allow women to smoothly participate in politics.

Participants of the conference recommended that women role should be further promoted in order to create a sort of balance and equality between men and women, something that is more than needed to achieve what they termed social justice. They also called for pushing forward wheel of community development to maintain a state of community-based peace and social security in which women could be an integral part.

SVF launches a Gaza conference Dialogue and Community Peace

30 September, 2012 Conferences, News No comments

SVF organized a conference inGazacity’s Red Crescent society on reach-out and learning for the best of dialogue and community peace on September 30, 2012. SVF invited a number of professional to participate in the conference. The conference was attended by 185 youth and representatives of local NGOs inGaza. SVF organised the conference to review the impact of violence on the stability and peace and the role of 50 CBOs Network to promote peaceful education and non-violence actions. This conference documented by the media and the society voice newspapers.

Representative of the SVF, Awni Alhaj, opened up the conference by welcoming all guests and promoting some community-based peace conceptions that promote tolerance and community-based conciliation. Reham Auda, a social activist, ran the first session of the conference, in which she first said that it is highly recommended that youth should be aware of concepts of community-based peace and social conciliation. She said youth are an integral part of the society and they should be equipped with all needed skills and expertise that serve their community.

Majeda Albelbaisy, a civil society specialist and a journalist, presented a work paper titles “role of media in enhancing culture of community-based peace inside the local Palestinian community”. She believed that local media outlets have not yet played an effective role in raising the awareness of local community towards dialogue and tolerance. She maintained that political rivalry and trade of accusations at the political and media levels have impeded a genuine media role across the community. Albelbaisi called on local media outlets to stay non-biased and help formulate a national media strategy that would assume a fair media role.

Mr. Mohammad Barraka Alnajjar, Mayor for the Maghazi municipality, talked of possible roles by municipal councils inGazaregarding transparency and accountability, especially when it comes to elections and outreach inside the community. He believed that community-based peace are good for all parties concerned, being a common interest. Alnajjar’s paper recommended the following:

-          Promoting the role of preachers of community-based peace and making sure they are protected by law.

-          Expanding community partnership among the various members of the local community as well as fairly distributing powers.

-          Making sure the concepts of religious tolerance promoted.

-          Promoting concepts of social justice and fair distribution of working opportunities.

-          Holding elections on fair basis and periodically by well selecting new local leaderships.

-          Reinforcing concepts of good local governance at all administrative levels

-          Promoting concepts of supremacy of law and social values.

-          Promoting the role of local NGOs and human rights groups.

-          Promoting and reinforcing effective partnership and looking into ways to institutionalize such partnership.

-          Making courts of justice are working properly and within a set of juridical parameters.

-          Promoting the role of observatory bodies, either popular or formal ones.

-          Reinforcing the role of women in a decision-making process, as well as promoting women leaderships for the sake of community-based peace.

Nahed Khalaf, a civil society specialist, ran the second session of the conference and talked of youth as an important category of the local community, considering them to be a great asset in building up the local community side by side with other categories of the community. Khalafd believed that a given society’s development process is measured by youth participation.

Mohsen Abu Ramadan, a leading NGO figure inGazaand head of the Network for NGOs, addressed the participants saying “NGOs have a role to play in promoting and reinforcing dialogue inside the local community. The peaceful speech would help spread concepts of democracy and equality and respect of others”.

Dr. Bahjat Abu Za’nouna, in his paper, addressed the attendees on the role of universities in promoting dialogue and tolerance inside the local community. He made clear that the universities are doing their best to maintain those concepts among youth students, yet he believed that political circumstances are unripe given the spread of political rivalry. As for concepts of tolerance, practiced by the local universities, Abu Za’nouna, explained that democracy is being represented by democratic elections inside the campus in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect among the various student masses.

Again, Mr. Nahed Khalaf, spoke on behalf of Talal Abu Rukba, who apologized for a mourning occasion. Khalaf talked of the importance of youth in promoting community-based peace, as follows:

- Reviving old Palestinian values that are based on tolerance and respect of others, in order to build up a real internal Palestinian relationship.

- Guiding all youth energy towards innovation and creation, in a way to resist the occupation’s policies.

- Raising the new generations both at home and at school on how to embrace concepts of community-based peace.

- Raising the awareness of youth about concepts of community-based peace through holding workshops or seminars.

- Ensure that local media outlets focus on concepts of community-based peace as a main element in seeking Palestinian people’s inalienable rights.

Lawyer Fatma Ashour, concluded the conference by emphasizing on the fact that the Palestinian youth law has been neglected and that there are multiple items of that law that address youth outright. She called for reviving those laws for the best of community-based peace.

The conference came out with a series of recommendations as mentioned above, mainly concentrating efforts by all parties concerned for the sake of ending internal conflicts or disputes and replacing them with a state of political stability. It also suggested that a Palestinian civil society could not be built properly unless concepts of democracy and respect of others are promoted or widespread inside the local community.