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1325 – Protecting Women and Children in the Negev

The home is central to the lives of Palestinian women and losing it to the State significantly hampers the chances of Palestinian women and girls of obtaining education and suitable employment, which would enable them to advance their rights in both private and public spheres.

 

In recent years, Negev residents have faced challenging events that threatened their personal safety – tree planting in the Negev by the Jewish National Fund, which forced the expulsion of Palestinian and Bedouin residents; house demolitions in unrecognized villages; and widespread arrests of protestors. These incidents have highlighted that the rights of women are severely violated.

 

In light of this situation, we call on decision-makers to consider the unique implications for women and girls when addressing complex and politically sensitive issues and to ensure their protection and representation in decision-making centers on such topics. The State of Israel is obligated to include a gender perspective in decision-making on any issue with political or security implications, not only by its commitment to Resolution 1325 but also by its adherence to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Israeli Government Resolution 4631 to implement those objectives and incorporate them into strategic decisions by the various government ministries.

Evictions and demolitions of homes impact both men and women, but the consequences for women are unique:

The eviction of Bedouin women from their homes has significant, long-term financial repercussions, particularly as the employment rate for Bedouin women in the Negev stands at a mere 32%. These financial hardships may hinder women and girls from pursuing higher education, severely restricting their options. This comes on top of the existing disparities in resource allocation, education, and employment opportunities.

A rise in violence against women during crises and following the loss of their homes and livelihoods: The loss of a home often exacerbates a family’s financial situation, increasing women’s dependence on men and leading to higher incidences of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse.

Long-term adverse effects on children of both genders, for which women bear the primary responsibility; the ongoing anxiety resulting from the loss of a home particularly impacts boys and girls. As the primary caregivers and educators of children, women also shoulder the burden of managing the long-term consequences for both boys and girls. 

What do we expect to be done to protect the women and children of the Negev?

Police forces

Allocate resources to solve murder cases of women in Arab society, apprehend and charge the murderers. Furthermore, the police must examine and prevent the involvement of criminal organizations in marital conflicts. Police must protect women during conflicts between families and prevent either party from using women as retaliation tools on social media, as this endangers women's lives and harms their livelihoods and right to enter the labor market.

Welfare authorities

Establish rehabilitation programs for violent men while providing accessible services that enable women to protect themselves from crime-related consequences and contribute to eradicating crime in society.

Ministry of Education

Implement content promoting equality and empowering and strengthening women.

The government

*Engage in ongoing discussions with civil society organizations active in Bedouin society and ensure the inclusion of Bedouin women in all decision-making centers on matters relating to the Bedouin society in the Negev. *Include this in the action plan of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in implementing Government Resolution 2331. *Implement gender thinking in the five-year plan for the Bedouin society and the five-year plan for addressing violence and crime in Arab society, while examining the implications of these programs on women's lives and promoting their security and rights. *Adopt recommendations from the Gun is on the Kitchen Table Coalition on actions to reduce the prevalence of firearms in the public sphere, which end up in the hands of criminals, harming innocent people in the process.

We lead this initiative alongside the staff of the Center for Bedouin Women’s Rights, operated by the Itach-Ma’aki Association in Be’er Sheva.

Simultaneously, we are leading a process to write a position paper focusing on the impact of home demolitions on women in the Negev, a joint initiative with the al-Tufula Center, in cooperation with the Negev Coexistence Forum and the Sidreh NGO. This is part of the activities of the Forum of Jewish and Palestinian Women’s Organizations for the Advancement and Implementation of Resolution 1325 in Israel