The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development— REFORM implemented a dialogue session to discuss the importance of holding elections to enhance youth participation in political life.
The Political Division’s Impact on Social Life
In the presence of Dr. Ahmad Ghneim, a member of the Fatah Advisory Council, Eng. Ghazi Murtaja, Director of Al-Najah’s Media Center, and a number of young political activists, The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development— REFORM implemented a dialogue session to discuss the importance of holding elections to enhance youth participation in political life. This session also aimed to highlight the reasons for the youth’s reluctance to participate in political life and the impact of the disruption of the democratic process on their desire to participate. The young men and young women participants also searched for ways to guarantee the holding of general, legislative and presidential elections.
The facilitator, Ms. Maysa Ayyad, initiated the session by explaining the state of the political division in Palestine since 2007 as a result of the state of conflict and political competition between the Palestinian factions, which has become clear that it is a struggle for power and political decision-making. The participants further discussed the division’s impact on social life, specifically increasing the social, cultural and political division among groups of society, especially young people.
The Necessity of Young Palestinian Women and Men’s Participation in the Electoral Process
In turn, Dr. Ahmad Ghneim called on the Palestinian youth to actively contribute to building state institutions and promoting good citizenship for individuals through their active participation, which is based on principles of justice, democracy, rights and duties. He also called on the young men and young women to contribute to the formation of a generation of young people who are capable of political and social participation and to promote ways of development in society through their partnership and presence in the leadership of institutions and parties. Dr. Ghneim further stressed the need to invite the parties to regularly hold their internal conferences and to move towards holding elections in the Palestinian territories in order to move from the stage of necessity to the stage of implementation.
Moreover, Eng. Ghazi Murtaja discussed the nobility of the Palestinian people and their practice of elections in various levels and situations outside the framework of political power, such as elections within popular unions and parties. He further indicated that Palestinians must deal with the obstacles when implementing the democratic process and the entitlements required by elections, especially since the Palestinian people are still going through a difficult reality of the occupation and its negative impact on the electoral process and democracy building. The occupation has also prevented Palestinians from holding elections in occupied Jerusalem as well as not ending the Palestinian-Palestinian division between the movements, Fata and Hamas.
One of the participants in the “PARTAKE II” project, Ahmad Alyan, a lawyer, also pointed out the importance for young Palestinian women and men to participate in the electoral process. He further stated how the Palestinian political disputes and conflicts have affected the holding of elections, the importance of ending the Palestinian-Palestinian division that has prolonged for more than 14 years. Additionally, he highlighted the absence of the national partnership among the Palestinian factions and the demand to hold legislative and general elections with the participation of young Palestinian men and women.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
This meeting comes as part of the “PARTAKE II,” which is implemented by the Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development – REFORM, in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. This project aims to promote the socio-political participation of women and youth and provide equal access mechanisms that enable them to engage in organizing policies responsive to their needs. The project also seeks to foster civic engagement by providing safe and interactive spaces that link young activists with decision-makers to bridge the gaps between them by knowledge sharing. It aims to enhance the participation of young women and men in advocating for positive change in democratic processes through monitoring public policies, drafting policy papers, and providing policy suggestions. To achieve this, the project provides the social and political activists with the ability to engage in a deep analysis of power dynamics between different social components and points of access through facilitating public debates. “PARTAKE II” increases youth’s awareness in democratic processes and enhances their abilities in pressuring policymakers to hold elections with their participation.