Report: “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Promoting the Reconciliation”
On Sunday, 29 October 2017, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), in cooperation with its partner Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), organized the last workshop of the year, dealing with “The Role of Civil Society Organizations to Promote Reconciliation in the Gaza Strip”. The civil society organizations were represented by Mr. Hani Al Masri, Director of the Masarat Center, Mr. Issam Younis, Director of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. Ms. Amal Siam, Director of the Center for Women’s Affairs, Dr. Ayed Yaghi, Director of Palestinian Medical Relief Society in the Gaza Strip (PMRS) and Dr. Maher Tabaa, the Manager of Public Relations of the Chamber of Commerce.
The discussion focused on the expected role of society following the start of the reconciliation process. The guests talked about the main demands from the point of view of civil society in order to maintain the course towards reconciliation. The last decade’s schism has had an impact not only on political but also on economic and social life. Above all, participants argued that the laws in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank should be harmonized and double payment of certain fees and taxes would have to be stopped. Furthermore, the fundamental human rights and freedoms would need to be guaranteed once again, and the one-party system should be abandoned. Further, the weak socio-economic situation would need to be addressed, for which the economies’ unification was essential. Under these conditions a return to normal life would be possible, the guests argued.
The workshop aimed at finding common ground among the participants of the whole project. There was a lively discussion between the speakers and invited guests from civil society, representatives of women’s associations and journalists.