September/August PolicyHub Update
Each month, we will aim to collect some of the most compelling stories from the Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding field, and share how these programs are impacting the wider policy environment. Please feel free to share this update with colleagues, who can also sign up to receive this monthly update here.
- Following the outbreak of violence in Gaza on August 5th, ALLMEP members rallied and demonstrated the power of civil society as they made calls for a ceasefire and diplomacy to break the ongoing cycle of escalation. Members hosted demonstrations, released statements, and advocated on social media for an end to the violence and negotiations to end the conflict. Responses varied as Itaach Maaki reminded us of the importance of protecting women and children in conflict, while Physicians for Human Rights in Israel fundraised to send medical supplies to Gaza. In addition, Robi Damelin, Director of International Relations at Parents Circle-Families Forum, spoke to the mothers of Palestine and Israel in a statement regarding the violence.
- Project Rozana began their Women4Women program with the first health screening of women in the West Bank, using innovative technologies to collect key health data and transfer the information in real-time to their partner hospital in Hebron where it was analyzed and immediately sent back. The program also includes a nutritionist who taught classes with mothers and children on how to improve their diets based on available local ingredients.
- Hand-in-Hand recently released their 2021-2022 year-end update. The numbers demonstrate the impact Hand in Hand’s work has had on the students, education policy, and in effecting change in schools. Some of these figures include bringing bilingual, shared education to 2,066 Jewish and Arab students across 7 elementary schools, 6 preschools, and 1 high school, within a wider education environment characterized by an almost total lack of visibility of the “other.”
- The Peres Center for Peace prepares to launch their three-year program to build a cross-border medical community, funded by USAID’s MEPPA. The flagship program being developed aims to offer training for medical personnel from both the West Bank and Gaza in Israeli hospitals. They will be given the opportunity to train with some of the top doctors in the world, use state-of-the-art technology and eventually return to strengthen the Palestinian public healthcare system. The program, together with shared workshops, conferences and face-to-face collaboration, will also create crucial professional connections enabling future consultations in various medical fields.
- Itach Maaki released a statement on recent policy action and recommendations regarding the principles UNSCR 1325, the landmark UN Resolution concerning women, peace and security. They negotiated with the Israeli government to agree to take gender into consideration when issuing emergency regulations, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Until now, considering how these regulations affect women more acutely was almost always an afterthought.
- USAID announced three new MEPPA awards, which totaled over $7.8m and included funding awarded to ALLMEP members Our Generation Speaks and Project Rozana. Our Generation Speaks was awarded $4.5 million in support of their three-year Next Generation Acceleration, which will create a generation of Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the skills, motivation, and networks to see beyond conflict and build an entrepreneurial community committed to a more peaceful shared future. Project Rozana received $2.3 million for their Palestinian-Israeli Specialist Nursing Hub, which uses a systematic approach to cross-border cooperation as a form of health diplomacy and a way to improve health delivery by engaging nurses from leading Palestinian and Israeli healthcare institutions as practitioners and trainers. The final grant will total $1 million over two years toward ‘Making Peace,” an initiative of Reut USA which works to connect Israelis and Palestinians and leverage engineering innovations and additive manufacturing tools, like 3D prosthetic printing. The heavy focius on health in MEPPA’s first year comes in the context of a continued crisis in the Palestinian health sector, with the WHO issuing a report earlier this year warning of “escalating debts with major Palestinian providers of referral services – including providers in east Jerusalem, the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip” and of “reduced availability of services and significant concerns around access.” ALLMEP President and Founder, Avi Meyerstein, has put forth a policy paper with the think tank Mitvim about MEPPA’s progress and promise during its first year in action. His paper included a series of recommendations to further encourage MEPPA’s growth and impact. Meyerstein further reflected on his article and the future of MEPPA in an article in the Times of Israel.
- On September 21st, the United Nations’ International Peace Day was celebrated at the 10th edition Peace Talks in Geneva, Switzerland. ALLMEP Director of Programs Wasim Almasri, as well as other invited keynote speakers, spoke on what peace means to them to an audience of key stakeholders and fellow peace activists from the field. Almasri described the importance of youth in peacebuilding and how ALLMEP’s network of 160+ members can be used as a source to build young Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the peacebuilding field.
- Norwegian Ambassador in Israel, Kare R. Aas, hosted Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun and highlighted their partnership of Israeli and Palestinian women as well as their devotion to peace. Ambassador Aas hosted a variety of diplomats for the event and emphasized the importance of having women in the peace process, chiming with the continued work that ALLMEP is leading to ensure that UNSC Resolution 1325 is fully implemented in Israel/Palestine.
- Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun began their month-long “Journey to Peace” campaign, which will see the journey of Israeli and Palestinian women marching and calling upon the leadership in Israel and the Palestinian Authority for negotiations and bringing an end to the conflict. The campaign will end with a march outside of presidents’ houses in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
- EcoPeace Middle East filed objections opposing settlement construction near a World Heritage Site and key environmental location from an ecological, scenic, and hydrological perspective. They were one of many organizations filing ahead of the objection deadline last week.
- New Story Leadership for the Middle East delegates met with Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington, D.C., who prompted them to write a joint statement explaining their vision for peace in the Middle East and how American supporters can help. The delegates shared their stories and their hopes of breaking down barriers and building a shared future of peace, security, and equality in their countries.
- Rebuilding Alliance awarded Senator Patrick Leahy with their Leadership Award at their “Palestine: Hope and Resilience” event. Twenty-five years ago, Senator Leahy drafted a unique law, known as the Leahy Law for Human Rights, that seeks to assure justice wherever the U.S. provides military aid.