Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: After another Abbas rejection, Netanyahu reasserts willingness to meet anytime, anywhere to discuss peace

Posted by Tip Staff - September 06, 2016


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his willingness to meet at any time for peace negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, hours after Abbas refused to meet in Moscow unless Israel acceded to his preconditions. Interest in restarting peace negotiations resurfaced last month when Russian president Vladimir Putin offered to host direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas, who have not met since 2010. “This is something I have said hundreds of times and I say it again here,” Netanyahu said while visiting the Netherlands on Tuesday. “I am not choosy about the location — if it is here in Holland or Moscow, that is no problem….If Abbas wants to meet without preconditions for direct talks I ready at any time. I have been calling on him to do that for seven years already and if he agrees there will be a meeting.”
Netanyahu had already reaffirmed his commitment to meeting Abbas for peace talks when the French government proposed itself as a possible intermediary, prompting Netanyahu to say he would meet Abbas “in Paris or wherever.” But the Palestinian leadership has consistently rejected such offers to speak directly, instead preferring to litigate the issue in international bodies.
The Palestinians have in recent years sought to circumvent the Oslo peace process by pursuing a unilateral bid for statehood through recognition at the United Nations, instead of through direct negotiations with Israel. Since 2005, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have been engaged in what they call the “Palestine 194” campaign, an attempt to gain recognition as the 194th member of the United Nations without a negotiated peace settlement. “Time is short. Netanyahu is trying to buy time [through negotiations], but this time he will not escape the international community,” Palestinian Authority Rami Hamdallah commented back in May.

Palestinians are growing increasingly outraged over the removal of women’s names and pictures from official lists of candidates competing in next month’s municipal elections, longtime Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported Monday.Rather than publishing the female candidates’ names or photographs, Abu Toameh reported, “the electoral lists are using the terms ‘the wife of’ or ‘sister’.”
Not only is this practice being criticized as a misogynist measure, it also may be in violation of the Palestinian law governing local elections, “which stipulates that candidates must be fully identified by name, age, address and registration number in the electoral list,” Abu Toameh explained. The parties have submitted all of the relevant information to election authorities, but have not used female names or faces in campaign materials.
The “disappearance” of women isn’t only an issue in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Islamist terrorist group Hamas, but is also prevalent in the West Bank, which is governed by the more secular Fatah. In local elections that were boycotted by Hamas in 2012, women were represented on the ballot by a picture of a rose or a pigeon.
Nahed Abu Taima, gender unit coordinator in the Media Development Center at Bir Zeit University, protested the removal of women from the lists and called on women to boycott the vote.
I’m against the participation of women in this manner. Let men participate in the election alone. Either we have an honorable appearance or we don’t want this fake appearance, which ignores the reality of women. The Palestinian Election Commission is not fulfilling its role as required. It is disgraceful that they are using the terms ‘sister’, ‘daughter of’ and ‘wife of’. Women are not nobody, so as to be hidden or have their names removed or replaced with the names of their husbands. This is the pinnacle of betrayal and repudiation.

Nadia Abu Nahleh, another feminist activist, blasted the practice:
We consider this action a grave regression in our performance as Palestinians because we are proud of our women’s major and basic role in society. Our women have always been partners in our national life. Therefore, it is disgraceful for any Islamic, national or independent list to scrap the names of the women. If they are not willing to recognize the woman’s name, how will they accept the role of the women after they are elected? If our names are ‘awra [the part of the body of a Muslim that is required to be covered], then our votes should not go to those lists that conceal the names of women.

“‘Awra,” Abu Toameh explained refers to parts of the body that must be covered according to Islamic religious law. Although ‘awra traditionally refers to all parts of the body except a woman’s face and hands, some clerics have ruled that an entire woman’s body is considered ‘awra. In contrast, for a man, only the area from his navel to his knees is considered ‘awra. Exposing parts of the body that are considered ‘awra is a sin.
Social media protests against the practice has spawned a hashtag “Our names are not‘awra.”
Lawyer and legal rights activist Karm Nashwan noted that the move was another example of how women are marginalized in Palestinian society.
“The decision to conceal the names and photos of female candidates is seen in the context of the increased ‘Islamization’ of Palestinian society, which is already considered highly conservative,” Abu Toameh noted. “When Palestinian women carry out attacks against Israelis, Palestinian society glorifies them as heroes. Then the names and photos of these women are plastered across billboards for all to see and applaud. Yet it appears that when the women wish to work for life rather than for death, their identities are not fit for public consumption.”
Hamas recently banned female student drivers from taking driving lessons without a chaperone. In 2013, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency cancelled a marathon scheduled to be carried out in the Gaza Strip after the terrorist group would not allow women to participate.
In 2014, the head of the PA Ministry of Women’s Affairs said that the number of Palestinian women who fell victims to “honor” killings – murders committed against women by relatives claiming to defend the family’s honor – had doubled in 2013 compared to the previous year, Palestinian Media Watch reported. The official added that the spike was the result of “a lack of regulations and laws to guarantee social protection for women, the lack of legal accountability, laxity in pursuing perpetrators, as well as a lack of desire to punish them.” She also criticized Abbas for failing to address a loophole in the PA’s penal code, which exempts the perpetrators of “honor” killings from punishment.
In its latest annual report on the Palestinian Authority, Amnesty International wrote that “Women and girls continued to face discrimination in law and in practice, and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence, including so-called ‘honour’ killings. At least 18 women and girls were reported to be victims of such killings during the year.” (via TheTower.org)

Another Israeli Guinness World record for the books: the largest collection of owls. The Guinness World Records — a reference book published every 12 months listing records of human achievements and extremes of the natural world – recently announced on its website that the late entrepreneur Yaakov Chai, who owned Globe International Holdings, has been awarded posthumously the title for owner of the largest collection of owls in the world. In an August announcement on the GWR website, the reference franchise said it verified Chai’s collection of 19,100 owl-related items. He passed away in May 2015. “Yaakov Chai passed away before the collection was verified, and in that time friends and loved ones have donated owls, bringing the total up to 20,239,” the announcement reads. Chai’s world record is the second Israeli GWR verification to be announced in 2016. In March, the Guinness World Records confirmed that Israel Kristal of Haifa is the world’s oldest living man. (via Israel21c)


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