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Closing NGOs undermining Abu Mazen government PDF Print E-mail
Oct 08, 2007 at 12:00 AM

From our West Bank Correspondent, Conflicts Forum, October 8, 2007

The Al-Wurud Organization supports 130 poor families by providing food packages during holy days, feasts, and at the beginning of the school year. They hold workshops for women on social, educational and health issues. But the Palestinian government — the emergency government declared by Abu Mazen — is closing Al-Wurud, along with hundreds of others just like it. The emergency government claims that the organizations are being closed because they “are not properly registered.” But, in fact, it now appears that the charities that are being closed have crossed a thin political line being drawn by Abu Mazen: it is not that they are not registered, it is that they are registered in the wrong place. As Sumud Dameeree, a lawyer at the Ministry of Interior notes: “Why did these charities register in Gaza when they are located in the West Bank? They are required by law to register in their place and not in Gaza.”

Fadwa Eshaer, a director at the ministry argues that NGOs like Al-Wurud bring with them an Islamist agenda. “We need to build a state,” she says. “We do not need funds from Syria or Iran that will destroy our society. We do not need violence. We don’t need such NGOs which nurture an extreme Islamist agenda.” But Eshaer failed to detail exactly what Islamist agenda a bread-baking NGO like Al-Wurud promotes — or how supporting poor families by providing food packages promotes violence or “nurtures an extreme Islamist agenda.” ...

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Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy

Final Statement of the Palestinian Civil Society Conference,
Cyprus, 16–18 October 2007

As part of the effort by the Palestinian civil society organizations to overcome the state of forced Palestinian fragmentation and consolidate the national role of the Palestinian NGOs in all their places of residence, a conference titled "Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy" was held in Agros, Cyprus, between 16 and 18 October 2007 at the initiative of Ittijah-The Union of Arab Community Based Associations. Forty-four participants representing a broad sector of Palestinian civil society networks, coalitions, and associations in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Kuwait, in addition to a number of international partner organizations supporting Palestinian rights, attended the conference. The Israeli occupation authorities banned the travel of a delegation representing civil society organizations in Gaza.

The conference discussed a number of issues, notably: The Palestinian situation and Palestinian, regional, and international developments, including the Annapolis conference; the collective Palestinian strategy against the forced fragmentation; the endeavors to rebuild terms of reference and assert the constant Palestinian principles; the strategy of collective Palestinian advocacy; Palestinian media strategies; and local and international coordination on the Palestinian question.

The participants in the conference set bases that would help strengthen the overall Palestinian struggle for liberation in all its contexts: the occupation, the displacement and uprooting, and the assault on Palestinian existence in the 1948 areas.

A draft of a collective organizational structure and an action plan were also devised, and a follow-up committee to implement this plan and lead the agreed process was set up.

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