One morning an MPTer and two IWPS [International Women’s Peace Service] women met with the vice principal of the girls’ high school in the village of Az Zawiya, in the district of Salfit. A few years earlier, this village with several organized demonstrations pressured the Israeli government to move the apartheid wall construction farther toward the western part of the village. This allowed them to save a part of the land that was to be confiscated for an illegal Israeli settlement.
The international women were warmly welcomed by the vice-principal and the teacher of the human rights class and then were introduced to the district coordinator of the human rights project. The project is funded by the Red Cross with the purpose of educating the Palestinians about the UN International Declaration of Human Rights and rulings of the International Court of Justice. The purpose of the class is to instill in the young Palestinian women an awareness of their rights and the desire to defend them, even though they see the international law and their human rights constantly violated by the occupying country of Israel.The teacher explains the Declaration
The students asked the internationals why rulings of the International Court of Justice and the Declaration of Human Rights were not applied in all parts of the world, particularly in Palestine. They also inquired as to what the internationals were doing in this regard. The internationals explained that they tried to inform and educate the people in their home countries, that they encouraged the boycott of Israeli products, divestment in Israel and worked for the sanctions against Israel. The internationals stated that getting their countries to respond to the many human rights violations in Palestine was a slow process and needed much more work.
The young women students and the women teachers warmly welcomed the internationals. They were thrilled that one of them spoke excellent Arabic and one was originally from Pakistan.
The MPTer saw this session with the students very valuable in teaching human rights and legal rights, in getting to know the students, but also in helping the young Palestinian women understand the work of groups like MPT and IWPS. Some students and teachers knew the work of IWPS and were grateful.
To read the full declaration of human rights, please go to: www.unhchr.ch/udhr /lang/eng.htm