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UNITED NATIONS DECADE FOR WOMEN:
Equality, Development and Peace
Copenhagen, Denmark 14-30 July 1980
EFFECTS OF THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION OH PALESTINIAN WOMEN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES: SPECIAL MEASURES OF ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN WOMAN
Item 10 (b) of the provisional agenda
Economic Commission for Western Asia
Note by the Secretariat
Report adopted by the Regional Preparatory Meeting of the
2. "Equality", in terms of the Palestinian people, means their equality with the other peoples of the world in an independent political structure which regulates the relations among individuals and groups. In the present context of the Palestinian people and in view of the geographic dispersion of the Palestinian people in and out of the occupied territories, "development" requires different tools for implementation. It is also linked to the availability of the necessary institutions to meet the needs resulting from dispersion. Finally, for the Palestinian people, "peace" requires justice that would allow them to determine their destiny according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations conventions.
3. Issues of the Palestinian people interact with those of the countries of the region in an effort to affirm the principles of equality, development and peace. The Regional Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development in the ECWA. region, adopted by the regional conference held at Amman from 29 May to h June 1978, points out that one of the major issues severely impeding stability and development in the region is the Israeli occupation of the territories belonging to the Palestinian people and to other countries. The liberation of the land and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people are still the core of many issues in this region with all their political, economic, social and psychological dimensions, so that political responsibilities take priority over development plans These issues are matters of urgent concern to the international community.
4. In spite of all this, Palestinian women must benefit from the United Nations Decade for Women through meeting the various needs resulting from dispersion, occupation, the struggle for self-determination, and the building of national institutions once the Palestinian people attain their legitimate rights. The present struggle and future potentialities constitute the frame of. reference which identifies the different needs of the Palestinian women and the relevant necessary international co-operation.
6. The General Conference of UNESCO, at its twenty-second session, on 25 November 1976, condemned Israeli occupation for suppressing the fundamental freedom of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and for depriving them of their right to national education and the cultural life that would preserve their national identity.
7. Reference should also be made to the resolution of the twenty-sixth session of the Assembly of the World Health Organization on 28 May 1975 3 in which WHO was requested, in co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization, to render assistance to the Palestinian people.
8. In General Assembly resolution 33/147 of 20 December 1978, entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian People", the Assembly requested the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in consultation with the specialized agencies and the United Nations organizations, and in co-ordination with the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA) to intensify the efforts to implement Economic and Social and Council resolutions 2026 (LXl) and 2100 (LXIII) which call for improving the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people through identifying their social and economic needs.
9. To implement General Assembly resolution 33/147, UNDP held a meeting for all United Nations organizations and specialized agencies (Geneva, 15-16 February 1979) to form a task force to study the needs of the Palestinian people in the occupied ' territories (West Bank and Gaza) and in the host countries, and to propose specific projects in this field. The Task Force was formed of the following organizations: UNDP, ECWA, UNIDO, ILO, FA0, UNESCO and WHO. At its twenty-sixth session, in June 1979, the Governing Council of UNDP adopted the report of the Task Force and allocated the necessary funds for financing specific programmes for the Palestinian people.
10. At the regional level, ECWA, at its third session (Doha, 10-15 May 1976), requested the Executive Secretary "to make arrangements to carry out a comprehensive study of the economic and social situation and potential of the entire Palestinian Arab people ... in close co-operation with the Palestinian Liberation Organization". 1/ At the same session, ECWA also requested the Executive Secretary "to take all necessary steps, in close co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization, for beginning the population census operation as soon as possible". 2/
11. In terms of the Palestinian women in particular, the 1975 Mexico Conference, in resolution 32, condemned Zionism and urged the women of the world to support the Palestinian women in their struggle to oppose Israel's violation of human rights in the occupied territories. It also called upon the United Nations, its specialized agencies and organizations, as well as national, regional and international organizations to provide moral and material assistance to the Palestinian women and its organization and institutes. 3/
12. In the Regional Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development in the ECWA region ECWA State members requested the Secretariat to introduce an agenda; item concerning the Palestinian women at all international and regional conferences dealing with women and development, starting with the regional preparatory meeting for Western Asia, scheduled for 1979, and leading to the 1980 World Conference on Women and Development. This recommendation, as part of the Regional Plan of Action was adopted unanimously by all ECWA State members at the fifth session held at Amman from 2 to 6 October 1979.4/
13. The above resolution was presented to the Preparatory Committee for the World Conference for the United Nations Decade for Women, 1980. As a result, the Preparatory Committee, at its second session held at United Nations Headquarters from 27 August to 7 September 1979, adopted a decision reading as follows:
"(a) Recommends the inclusion of the social and economic needs of the Palestinian women in the review and evaluation document to be prepared for the Conference;
(b) Entrusts the Secretariat of the Conference, in co-operation with the Economic Commission for Western Asia, with the preparation of a report entitled 'Special Measures of Assistance to the Palestinian Women' which would be presented to the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women Equality, Development and Peace, after its consideration by the Preparatory Committee at its next session." 5/
14. The present document presents programmes of action for assisting the Palestinian woman, inside and outside of occupied territories. The implementation of these programmes depends on the availability of regional and international resources.
15. The areas for assistance to the Palestinian woman include the following:
I. Research, studies and data collection
II. Planning and plan implementation
III. Legal aspects
IV. Education and training
VI. Family services and health care
VII. The role of women's organizations
VIII. The role of mass media and culture
IX. The role of regional and international organizations.
Programme of action
(a) To provide material and technical assistance to the Palestinian Arab universities in the occupied territories to allow them to become the nuclei of centres for research and data collection and institutes for training researchers and statisticians, so that they can co-operate with international and voluntary organizations in scientifically programming projects and activities;
(b) To introduce the subject of the Palestinian woman as part of the ongoing Research activities in the work programmes of the Palestinian research centres, specifically the Palestine Research Centre and the Institute for Palestinian Studies, through collecting data and statistics and undertaking studies on the Palestinian woman in the occupied territories;
(c) To introduce the issues and needs relevant to the Palestinian woman in the research programmes of the national, regional and international research centres and statistic institutes and in the programmes of the Arab universities;
(d) To call on regional and international organizations to classify data related to the Palestinian people, in general, and to categorize them by' sex in particular, so that it would include the Palestinians in and out of the occupied territories;
(e) To call on the Economic Commission for Western Asia to include the needs of the Palestinian woman within the framework of its study on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people and its potentialities;
(f) To provide opportunities for specialization and training for Palestinian women in the field of research and statistics, through the allocation of fellowships in the appropriate institutes inside and outside the region and within the occupied territories;
(g) To undertake field studies that would assist in project formulation and evaluation. The following areas constitute some of the research priorities:
(i) Sample surveys of various Palestinian communities to identify their social problems and needs;
(ii) Study of the extent of the participation of Palestinian women in Palestinian social life, and the means to improve their participation;
(iii) Studies of the extent of the benefit which the Palestinian woman receive from social, health, and cultural services and the extent of her participation in formulating, executing and evaluating the projects;
(iv) Examination of the social and psychological problems resulting from the conditions of work of the Palestinian women in the occupied territories
(v) Study on the effect of the immigration of husbands and sons seeking employment on the family conditions and problems of women;
(vi) Inclusion in the different Palestinian manpower studies of the Palestinian woman power, her fields of specialization and areas of employment, so that she can take part in the organization of different workshops, projects, and institution-building process;
(vii) Study on the condition of the Palestinian woman in Israeli prisons and the effect of the arbitrary laws on her various roles in the society.
Programme of action
(a) To allocate fellowships for Palestinian men and women, to participate in Arab and international training workshops, seminars in the field of general sectorial planning, in order to improve their skills in planning methods and in project and programme formulation;
(b) To organize special training sessions for women leaders in the Palestinian institutions and in the General Union of Palestinian Women in project formulation, implementation and evaluation, taking into consideration the special interest and feeds of the Palestinian woman.
(a) To establish a special international fund to support the defence of women in Israeli detention and prisons and in protecting her right to remain with her family after her exit from prison;
(b) To study the laws which limit the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and to identify their social, economic and psychological effects on the family in general, and the Palestinian woman in particular;
(c) To provide financial and technical support to the voluntary organizations that provide services to children of men and women held in Israeli detention;
(d) To call on the international organizations to examine the extent of the Israeli Government application of the ILO conventions on work conditions, protection of workers, maternity care and other labour laws relevant to women, in terms of the Palestinian workers as a whole and the working Palestinian woman in particular;
(e) To establish a special unit within the existing social institutions in the occupied territories to inform women of the Israeli laws applied to them, and to provide them with legal counselling when necessary;
(f) To urge regional and international organizations to take the necessary measures to implement the United Nations resolution on the protection of women and children in the case of armed struggle and in the case of wars of liberation and foreign occupation, in relation to the Palestinian woman under Israeli occupation.
(a) To provide financial and technical support to the Arab universities, colleges, and schools in the occupied territories in order to guarantee the development and expansion of these institutions so that they can increase their enrolment of students of both sexes;
(b) To increase the enrolment of Palestinian students of both sexes in universities in Arab and friendly countries, especially in scientific and technical fields that are not available in the occupied territories;
(c) To support the expansions of private Arab educational institutions so that they can increase their intake of students in order to avoid student enrolment in the official schools which offer "zionized" educational curricula;
(d) To urge appropriate international organizations to take the necessary measures for securing places in educational and training institutions for the large numbers of children and youth in the occupied territories for whom no educational and training opportunities are available and to help remove the obstacles that account for the absence of such opportunities and that cause the regularity of the school year to be interrupted;
(e) To call upon UNESCO to put a stop to the system of early vocational Specialization now applied to Palestinian students, as this system is contrary sound educational principles;
(f) To call upon UNRWA to develop and strengthen the educational services they offer to Palestinian students of both sexes by improving educational programmes and curricula, by providing the needed buildings and equipment, by reducing the number of students in each class-room and by improving the quality and practical value of the education given;
(g) To call upon UNESCO to review the educational curricula taught to Palestinian women in order to ascertain the educational and cultural relevance of content;
(h) To call upon UNESCO and Arab development funds to take the necessary implementation steps to establish an Open University for the Palestinians, after lending the present review of the project;
(i) To develop, expand, and increase vocational training centres, especially UNRWA centres, and to diversify their specialization in the technical and vocational Fields, and increase the number of women enrolled in these centres;
(j) To enable as many students as possible from the occupied territories to attend international training centres;
(k) To provide assistance from the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women and other regional and international organizations to literacy and adult education centres in the occupied territories, and to supply them with modern methods and expertise, as well as financial support so that they can expand and improve their services;
(l) To call upon women's associations in the Arab States to provide financial support to the educational and training institutions in the occupied territories and to encourage twining with their Arab counterparts in the occupied territories
(m) To support Palestinian children and to improve their educational conditions and to provide them with the appropriate educational and cultural material;
(n) To develop the technical and professional abilities of the Palestinian women through their participation in Arab training programmes in the fields of integrated social work and in programmes for the improvement of their productivity;
(o) To support and develop technically and financially child-care centres and kindergartens in Palestinian camps through training their cadres, and to make provision for increasing their numbers;
(p) To support welfare institutions, especially Beit Atfal As-smoud in Lebanon. (The Home of the Children of the Resistance) by providing technical expertise, educational facilities, and training of the staff;
(q) To give financial and technical support to the Educational City Project for the children of the martyrs of Palestinian revolutionary resistance.
(a) To collect data on the Palestinian labour force inside and outside of the occupied territories, with considerable attention to be given to classifying the data according to economic activity and sex;
(b) To organize on-the-job and in-service training courses for the working Palestinian women to improve their productivity and to provide them with promotion opportunities in their fields of activity;
(c) To provide equal training opportunities for the Palestinian woman during her service in all the fields and especially in present and future training programmes in the field of administration, commodity production, and services;
(d) To organize programmes and activities to encourage the Palestinian woman to enter the various new professions which would contribute to the formation of an integrated Palestinian labour force containing the various professions and specializations;
(e) To establish child-care and nursery facilities and related services to permit the working Palestinian woman to combine family and work responsibilities;
(f) To organize training in the field of labour union activities for Palestinian female labour leaders and to increase the opportunities of her participation in labour education seminars so that she can participate effectively in professions and labour organizations at the different levels;
(g) To support financially and technically the institution of Samed which produces Palestinian products and which employs a large number of women, through training the workers in skills to improve their production capabilities;
(h) To support the voluntary and popular organizations in the occupied Territories by organizing training sessions in agriculture and co-operative action through the various co-operative institutions;
(i) To encourage the voluntary and popular organizations in the occupied territories to increase the participation of the Palestinian rural women in their activities by equipping them with the necessary skills to identify their problems fluid needs, to take the necessary relevant decision, and to share in the responsibility of implementing various projects in rural areas;
(j) To assist the voluntary organizations in the occupied territories that produce traditional handicrafts, representing the Palestinian heritage to establish a special training and marketing centre for their products.
22. Statistical indicators show that the health institutions in the occupied territories have not increased during the past 10 years, and the ratio of physicians and beds to the population has decreased. Other indicators also point to an increase in the death-rate among children in the occupied territories. They also show that the services of the health centres, especially in rural areas, are not compatible with the basic requirements for health care. The Palestine Red Crescent Society carries increased responsibilities in meeting both preventive and curative services, for the Palestinian people.
23. Though there is a decrease in the rate of contagious diseases among the Palestinian people, yet they still suffer from malnutrition, and gastroenteritis, especially in the summer. It is also important to give critical attention to the health activities related to protection against polio and tuberculosis. The expansion of preventive and curative health services against these diseases has become among the priorities in providing effective health care for the Palestinian people, men and women, young and old. There is no doubt that the Palestinian woman plays a vital role in health services, and she is also the main beneficiary from such services due to her basic role in family care.
1. Social welfare
(a) To develop the technical and professional abilities of the Palestinian woman through her participation in Arab training programmes in integrated social work;
(b) To urge the League of Arab States to finalize the necessary steps for the establishment of a fund for the support of Palestinian resistance in its various forms, and for the support of voluntary and women's organizations inside and outside the occupied territories which provide social services to the Palestinians, and the Palestinian woman in particular;
(c) To continue the efforts initiated during the International Year of the Child by expanding the services for the Palestinian child, especially for the pre-school child, inside and outside of the occupied territories;
(d) To support and to develop technically child-care centres and kindergartens in Palestinian camps and within the voluntary organizations inside and outside of the occupied territories, through training their cadres and making provision to increase their number;
(e) To establish centres for the care of the mentally, emotionally and physically handicapped and to train the necessary female management and service staff.
(a) To support mother-child care centres inside and outside of the occupied territories and to assist in expanding their services and establishing additional centres which would also include nutrition services;
(b) To provide technical expertise and equipment to health centres, and to give priority to preventive and environmental services;
(c) To improve the existing health centres and to increase the number of the centres to include the Palestinian villages and the camps inside and outside of the occupied territories;
(d) To organize training sessions and to allocate fellowships for workers and clinicians in the health services delivery system, in order to improve their capabilities and to increase the required human resources for both preventive and curative functions;
(e) To organize training workshops and to allocate fellowships for specialization in the administration of health services and multipurpose centres;
(f) To evaluate the present health centres and to identify the requirements for improving them technically and materially, and to recommend specific action in this field;
(g) To assist the Palestine Red Crescent Society to establish comprehensive Health programmes which would include all children, of both sexes, in preventive and curative programmes for children's diseases, especially those diseases from which the child can be immunized at an early age;
(h) To support the nursing programme of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, by providing financial and technical assistance and equipment;
(i) To establish and to support training institutes for medical and paramedical staff, especially nurses, and to recommend specific programmes of assistance and fellowships for high-level specialization;
(j) To train the Palestinian women in villages to provide primary health care, and to provide them with the necessary equipment for delivering this service;
(k) To provide technical and material assistance to the conscious-raising programmes of the General Union of Palestinian Women and the other women's organizations in the occupied territories, especially in matters related to proper nutrition and the nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women, so that women become aware of the negative effects of improper nutritional care of both sexes;
(l) To introduce nutrition education into adult education programmes, especially in relation to child nutrition;
(m) To organize health statistics and to collect health information and data classified by sex, on the Palestinian people, inside and outside of the occupied territories and .especially in camps;
(n) To study the traditional nutrition and health habits and practices and their relationship to the economic conditions of the Palestinian people in the camps, in particular, to publicize the dangers of these negative habits.
25. It is to be noted that the services of these women's organizations are more concentrated in the cities than in the villages. They also lack technical cadres who possess the necessary skills for the administration, organization, and programming of the activities. These organizations also face the problem of their limited financial resources, which restrict the delivery of family and social services to a large sector of the Palestinian women.
(a) To assist materially and technically the women's organizations and associations in the occupied territories so that they can train their leadership and prepare local leadership, especially in the fields of social work and rural extension services;
(b) To develop the leadership skills of the cadres of the General Union of Palestinian Women through organizing workshops in project organization and programming, and through their participation in Arab workshops in all fields of leadership development;
(c) To support the programmes of the General Union of Palestinian Women materially and technically, as one of the regional priorities when submitting proposals to the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women;
(d) To organize workshops for the cadres of the General Union of Palestinian Women in skills of organizing and participating in conferences, seminars, and workshops, owing to the importance of the effective participation of the Palestinian women in these meetings;
(e) To assist the Palestinian woman to implement her programmes on a regular basis and to recommend means to improve and develop these programmes and to expand their scope;
(f) To find ways and means to make available funds and technical expertise to women's programmes inside the occupied territories;
(g) To prepare specific programmes for exchanging expertise and co-ordinated activities between the General Union of Palestinian Women and the Women's organization in the occupied territories, the regional and international women's organizations.
Proramme of action
(a) To present programmes that demonstrate the varied political, economic and social roles of the Palestinian woman in the camps and in the occupied territories;
(b) To organize training sessions and to allocate fellowships for the Palestinian woman working in the field of mass media, to improve her mass communication skills;
(c) To produce programmes, films and plays that show the role of the Palestinian women leaders in the various fields of life and work, and in scientific, technical and cultural endeavours;
(d) To strengthen the relations between the General Union of Palestinian Women and the regional and international women's organizations, and to formulate a policy to include the General Union of Palestinian Women in international occasions so that the Palestinian woman can express her views on issues relevant to development and peace in the world;
(e) To produce information programmes showing the efforts of and the programmes sponsored by the Palestinian woman in the fields of family environment and child care, vocational training, guidance and other social work activities;
(f) To organize international information seminars for the purpose of clarifying the true picture of the Palestinian struggle and the nature of the oppression and ill-treatment that the Palestinians endure, especially inside Israeli prisons and detention centres;
(g) To include the Palestinian men working in the field of mass media and communication in the workshops, seminars, and meetings which deal with the social and economic needs of the Palestinian woman, so that he can assist in meeting these needs, with a full understanding of the woman's conditions.
28. With due regard to these efforts, the Arab regional and international organizations are called upon to provide further technical assistance to the Palestinian people and to their economic, social and cultural institutions, in a more specific co-ordinated and comprehensive manner. They are also called upon to take into consideration the Palestinian woman as an integral part of the objective of their programmes and projects, so that this aspect would not be marginal to the assistance programmes.
(a) To call on regional and international organizations to classify data by sex related to the Palestinian people, in general, and those in the occupied territories, in particular;
(b) To urge regional and international organizations to take the necessary measures to implement the United Nations resolution on the protection of women and children in the case of armed struggle and in the case of wars of liberation and under foreign occupation, in relation to the Palestinian woman under Israeli occupation"
(c) To urge regional and international organizations to set definite dates for the implementation of the resolutions and recommendations concerning special activities and projects for the improvement of the conditions of the Palestinian people;
(d) To urge the international organizations to play an effective role in finding ways and means to transmit funds and the technical expertise necessary for the implementation of programmes for the Palestinian woman in the occupied territories:
(e) To call upon the regional and international organizations to allocate fellowships for Palestinians - men and women - so that they can participate in regional and international training workshops and seminars, in all fields, especially research, planning, integrated social work, and to benefit from regional and international training centres;
(f) To call upon UNESCO to speed its implementation of the Open University project and to review the textbooks used in the occupied territories in order to ascertain the appropriateness of their national and educational content;
(g) To call upon the ILO to study the extent of the Israeli Government's application of the ILO convention on conditions of work and protection of working women, on Palestinian workers in general, and the female worker in particular;
(h) To call upon UNICEF to continue its efforts initiated during the International Year of the Child and to expand its activities to the necessary services for the Palestinian child inside and outside of the occupied territories;
(i) To call upon WHO to allocate fellowships for training the workers and technicians in the field of health care in the occupied territories, in order to provide the necessary trained human resources for preventive and curative care, and to give due attention to training in the administration of health services id multipurpose centres;
(j) To support vocational training centres so that they can expand and diversify their specialization and increase the number of women enrolled, especially the UNRWA centres;
(k) To call upon ECWA to propose projects as specified in the present document for financing by the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women;
(l) To call upon ECWA to include a section on the Palestinian woman within the framework of its present study on the economic and social conditions and potential of the Palestinian people.
1/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, Sixty-first Session, Supplement No. 12 (E/5785)., chap III, resolution 27 (III).
2/ Ibid., resolution 28 (1ll).
3/ Report of the World Conference of the International Women's Year (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.76.IV.I), chap. III.
4 Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1979, Supplement No.(E/1979/9), chap. Ill, resolution 66 (V).