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Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://www.wclac.org/english/index.php
Founded1991
In their own wordsAn “independent Palestinian, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization” that aims to “address the causes and consequences of gender-based violence within the Palestinian community as well as the gender-specific effects of increasing militarisation associated with the Israeli occupation.”

Funding

Activities

  • Offices in Ramallah, Hebron, and East Jerusalem.
  • According to its “Vision and Mission” statement, WCLAC “works to protect and promote women’s human rights within the framework of international human rights mechanisms and standards” through “monitoring, documentation and advocacy at the local and international levels; providing social and legal services to women victims of violence and those whose human rights have been violated; undertaking awareness, advocacy, training and legal reform programmes that ensure gender equality; developing the capacity of grassroots organisations and volunteer groups.”

Demonization of Israel

  • WCLAC rhetoric includes accusations of “collective punishment,” and “apartheid,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • Accused Israeli forces of “resorting to extra-judicial killing, mass intimidation and collective punishment in order to maintain their grip on Palestinian territory in violation of basic international norms.”
  • Randa Siniora, General Director of WCLAC and former General Director of Al-Haq, has stated, “Although resistance against occupation and its arbitrary practices is legitimate under international law, and these acts are considered a part of the Palestinian people’s resistance and struggle against occupation in order to achieve their right to liberation and independence, the occupation forces call it ‘terrorism’ or ‘destructive acts.’”
  • WCLAC’s website features a section titled “Occupied Lives,” highlighting anonymous and unverified “testimony” from women claiming to have been violently attacked or harassed by settlers and Israeli soldiers. The statements are “produced with the assistance of the European Union.”
  • In February 2016, WCLAC alleged that: “Regarding mental health, the occupation itself was noted as a major cause of problems. Depression, anxiety disorder and psychological distress are the most common mental disorders. Research in east Jerusalem has shown that the psychological toll of demolitions and forced evictions hits women harder.”
  • Published a September 2014 report, “Jerusalem: A City Divided,” promoting the Palestinian narrative of the “Nakba” (“catastrophe”) and accusing “Israeli settlements [of] forming a concrete and human shield.” The report was funded by the European Union and Oxfam.
  • WCLAC’s submission to the “UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Summer 2014 Gaza Conflict” consisted of “evidence” of Israeli “violations of international law” based on unverified testimony of 36 anonymous women, recorded by unnamed field workers. The report places sole blame for the conflict on Israel, making no mention of Hamas war crimes, rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, terror tunnels, or Hamas’ exploitation of the civilian population in Gaza as human shields.
  • As a member of the PHROC, co-signed a July 14, 2014 open letter calling in the EU and member states to: “Immediately and unequivocally deplore Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects”; “Refrain from condoning Israel’s misuse of the notion of self-defence”; “Take the position that the root cause of the ongoing hostilities is Israel’s belligerent occupation and accompanied violations of international law”; and “Unequivocally support Palestinian accession of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
  • Its 2014 Semi-Annual Report accuses Israel of “collective punishment,” “human rights violations,” “women’s rights violations,” and seeking “to “suppress resistance” by “targeting civil society in order to obtain land and continue to undermine the economic stability, the growth and the development of Palestinian society.”
  • October 2012, published “Women’s Voices: Glimpses of life Under Occupation” meant to “illustrate some of the day-to-day challenges faced by Palestians living under prolonged military occupation through the eyes of ordinary women.” The report was produced with the financial support of France.
  • In its submission to the UN Commission on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2011, WCLAC neglected to discuss women’s rights issues inside Israel, as well as incidents of violence against women in Palestinian society such as honor killings. Instead WCLAC focused primarily on blaming Israel for women’s rights issues in the Palestinian Authority.

BDS Activities

  • WCLAC’s 2014 annual report shows the progress the BDS movement has made by mentioning that “the international BDS movement has continued to gain ground with the American Presbyterian Church voting to divest $21m from Israel.” Under “international and national landmark days,” WCLAC listed that it organized a “mass rally for a boycott of Israeli goods.”
  • WCLAC joined an April 2012 campaign against companies doing business in Israel, calling to “intensify[ing] the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.
  • In May 2005 signed a petition calling for the academic boycott of Israel as a means to “isolate Apartheid Israel…forging effective solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and sovereignty.”
  • Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

2014 Grants

Amounts based on WCLAC’s 2014 Annual Report.

Donor 2014 Amount (in USD)
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding of Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)230,000
Caritas146,725
Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)139,956
Norway 509,763
Bread for the World- EED (Germany)206,730
Broederlijk Delen (Belgium) 52,400
Iceland 50,000
Open Society Institute 50,000
UNDP30,000
DanChurchAid (Denmark)26,960
France15,250
Germany 13,063

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