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Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Palestine

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://www.ywca-palestine.org/
Founded1918
In their own wordsThe YWCA of Palestine envisions an independent and free Palestinian democratic state where justice and peace, tolerance, equality, respect for the rights and dignity of human beings, gender equity, freedom of expression, social justice, pluralism and cultural diversity and women’s leadership are promoted and sustained.

Funding

Activities

  • YWCA rhetoric includes accusing Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid”; participating in BDS campaigns; promoting a Palestinian “Right of Return”; and supporting the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and rationalizes, justifies and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
  • In October 2016, YWCA, as a member of the Palestinian Women Coalition of UNSCR 1325, released a statement urging the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to “take concrete actions towards investigating war crimes committed against Palestinians,” as “Gaza has been the site of the most war crimes and where women have been most systematically impacted by Israeli collective punishment policies; a prolonged imposed siege and a severe humanitarian deterioration resulting from Israeli military aggressions.”
  • In November 2015, released a statement for the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People stating, “the prolonged military occupation of Palestine with its ongoing policies of colonialism, apartheid, genocide in Gaza, attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque, shoot to kill policies in Jerusalem, and now summary executions and punitive home demolitions have violated the Palestinian people’s human rights, freedom of movement and religion, and sense of dignity, freedom, and security.” (emphasis added)
  • In October 2015, following a wave of terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians, YWCA published a document, “Endless State of Emergency,” accusing Israel of “executing” four Palestinian teenagers and shot dozens more, without noting the context of violent attacks and riots, and “settlers and soldiers” of “storming” Al Aqsa. YWCA called for BDS and “lawfare” against Israel.
  • In August 2015, YWCA, alongside Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development, the Women’s Legal Aid and Counseling Center, Women Studies Center, and Mada al-Carmel, called for people to wear black to “show your opposition to those who aid Israel’s accumulative genocide against the Palestinian people.”
  • Co-signed an August 5, 2014 open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, under the headline “stand for law and Justice or resign!,” expressing “extreme[] disappoint[ment] by your performance, notably by your biased statements, your failure to act, and the inappropriate justification of Israel’s violations of IHL, which amount to war crimes.” The letter alleges that his “statements have not only allowed the continuance of Israel’s killing our people, but also, encouraged States to continue providing Israel with impunity.”
  • In July 2014, during the 2014 Gaza war, YWCA issued a press release titled “Join the Global Movement to Support Gaza’s Right to Life,” accusing “Israel’s illegal military occupation” of “collectively punish[ing] a whole population…civilians, journalists, and medical workers.” The “action alert” called to “support arms embargos like the ones that were imposed in South Africa” as well as to “Demand severance of diplomatic ties with Israel.”
  • Jointly produced a 2013 report “Barriers to Female Labour Market Participation and Entrepreneurship in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” with Birzeit University and Christian Aid that mentions “Hamas” and the “Palestinian Authority” once, while mentioning and blaming “Israel” 40 and the “occupation” 28 times. The report places sole blame on Israel “as a common denominator” and highlights the “devastating role of Israel’s occupation on women’s involvement in the labour market.”
  • Together with the YMCA – East Jerusalem, founded the “Joint Advocacy Initiative,” which “works for Peace with Justice in Palestine, based on Humanitarian and Christian Values, by mobilizing the world movements of YMCA and YWCA, churches, church-based organizations, UN agencies, and other relevant organizations to influence decision-makers and prompt actions that contribute to end Israeli occupation and all its violations of International Law.”
    • The JAI also organizes “advocacy visits and trips,” geared specifically for an international audience, to “make them witness land confiscation process by the Israeli government, the apartheid wall, settlements construction and expansion…”
      • On October 20, 2016, the Joint Advocacy Initiative’s Olive Picking Program met with Applied Research Institute Jerusalem for a “presentation on the Apartheid Wall and land confiscation.”
    • In 2013, a JAI participant reflected upon her experience saying: “…this is NOT a conflict. This is a genocide, one that is funded by the U.S. and other international governments. This is a genocide that uses a settler strategy to steal land and to justify the imprisonment, torture and deprivation of an entire group of people.”
    • The JAI together with the Alternative Tourism Group published a 2012 report, Life Under Occupation – An Introduction to the Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which provides historical inaccuracies, refers to the security barrier as the “apartheid wall,” and promotes a Palestinian right of return, meaning the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

BDS Activities

  • Member of the Coalition for Jerusalem, which issued a campaign to boycott Hewlett-Packard in 2014 on the grounds that it is “complicit with Israel’s stratified ID system.”
  • YWCA launched and manages (together with East Jerusalem YMCA) the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI), which calls for a “wide boycott of goods from Israel, from Israeli settlements and from companies that contribute to the occupation until the occupation has ended and Palestinians enjoy their basic human rights.” JAI published a “BDS Resource” page as well as a “List of Products from Settlements in the Occupied Territories and List of Settlements.”
    • JAI signed an appeal in 2008 to boycott Israel’s 60th Independence Day celebrations – “Sixty years ago, Zionist militias and gangs ransacked Palestinian properties and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages…We urge international civil society in all its components, particularly institutions and individuals working in the arts, academia, sport, trade unions, and communities of faith to boycott the ‘Israel at 60’ celebrations wherever they are held in the world.”
  • In November 2016, YWCA released a statement on the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” calling on all governments and civil society organizations to “support the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to put economic pressure on Israel until it respects international law.”
  • In May 2016, signed a call titled “Enough with the criminalisation of the BDS movement for justice in Palestine! Let’s support right to boycott!” calling on the European Commission to “introduce the human rights guidelines guaranteeing freedom of speech and right to boycott.”
  • In 2014 on “United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” YWCA released a statement accusing Israel of colonialism, apartheid, and genocide and called upon “governments and civil society” to take actions including joining BDS campaigns and ending “the military occupation of all Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
  • In May 2013, YWCA called on YWCA’s around the world and human rights organizations to “advocate for an end to Israel’s continued displacement and dispossession laws, policies, and practices by putting pressure on Israel to comply through morally responsible investment initiatives like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).”
  • YWCA’s 2010 newsletter features a pro-BDS cartoon and an article by Advocacy and Media Coordinator Arda Aghazarian that concludes that BDS is the “only option left.”
  • 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.

Partners

  • Member of the Palestinian Women Coalition of UNSCR 1325, which consists of twelve different Palestinian women’s organisations, including the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD), MIFTAH, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), YWCA of Palestine, the Culture and Free thought Association, and Women’s Affairs Center (WAC).
  • Member of the Coalition for Jerusalem, which aims “to oppose Israeli Government arbitrary measures… and to reaffirm that East Jerusalem is the capital of the future Palestinian state.”

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