Seminar on Jadal Issue 16: “Personal Status Litigation for Palestinians in Israel: A Controversial Issue”

Following the release of Jadal Issue 16, Mada al-Carmel—Arab Center for Applied Social Research held a seminar on Wednesday, February 20, entitled “Personal Status Litigation for Palestinians in Israel: A Controversial Issue”. The seminar included presentations by Ms. Areen Hawari, Dr. Judge Ahmed Natour, and Adv. O’la Ishtiawi.

Ms. Areen Hawari, the guest editor for the issue, began the seminar by speaking about intervention of religious and civil courts and their concepts of equality. She stated that there are mistaken assumptions regarding both religious and secular ideologies and that a number of human rights violations have occurred under the auspices of both. Ms. Hawari advocated for going back to the definitions of Shari’a and Secularism and that the approach to secularism and religion should be based on values not on authority.

Dr. Judge Ahmed Natour, Head of the High Shari’a Court of Appeals, followed discussing the need to raise the status of women in Shari’a courts. He stated that the family rights laws that remain with since 1948 have deficiencies and do not cover a number of current issues. There are new concepts being developed based on the original text allowing an increasing number of Shari’a Court decrees that raise the status of women in Islamic courts.

Adv. Ola Stewi, from the Law Department in Kayan Feminist Organization, finished the presentations by speaking about the limit of litigation on the personal status of Palestinians in Israel. She said that there is a ceiling in the current judicial system that limits equality between the sexes regardless of improvements that may arise. Another system or other laws should be created to guarantee full equality.

These presentations were followed by questions and discussion from the attendants stressing the importance of the dialogue between feminist and civil society frameworks on one side and religious courts on the other and examining the possibility of cooperation between the two.

To read articles from the issue, please click here.