Search

 

Cablegate: Hamas Imposes Conservative Dress for School Girls

VZCZCXRO0604
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1515 2371401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251401Z AUG 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5861
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001515

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND IPA, NSC FOR SHAPIRO/KUMAR,
DEPT PASS TO USAID FOR BORODIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PTER KPAL KWBG KISL KWMN SCUL
SUBJECT: HAMAS IMPOSES CONSERVATIVE DRESS FOR SCHOOL GIRLS

1. (SBU) Summary. The school year in Gaza began on August
23 with Hamas imposing a requirement for girls to wear
conservative Islamic dress. Teachers and administrative
staff were also directed to work segregated by gender. This
follows a July order requiring female lawyers to appear in
court in conservative dress, and seems to be the latest
attempt to impose conservative Islamic social behavior in the
Gaza Strip. End summary.

2. (SBU) Contacts in Gaza report that Hamas-run public
schools have begun requiring female secondary school pupils
to wear the hijab, a head scarf, and the jilbab, a
long-sleeved dress, as of August 23, the first day of the
school year. According to the media, students who failed to
comply were reprimanded and instructed to return to class the
next day in compliance with the new dress code. OCHA
contacts in Gaza reported that the vast majority of
(Hamas-appointed) teachers support the policy, and some
schools displayed banners announcing it. While Palestinian
news media has reported some students' displeasure with the
new rules, contacts in Gaza expect all students to comply.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Education, based
in Ramallah, issued a statement condemning the new policy in
Gaza as a violation of human rights and of the Palestinian
Basic Law. Gaza-based international NGOs also voiced
opposition to the policy, with little effect.

3. (SBU) This decision appears to have been executed at the
district level, and the role of the Hamas "government" in the
policy change remains unclear. Following the media storm
about the issue, Hamas "authorities" expressed support for
the new dress code in the press, and criticized the PA,s
response. Media and local contacts noted that the Hamas
"government" may have given schools the authority to
determine their own dress code, with the understanding that
conservative attire would be required. CHF contacts in Gaza
noted that local stores already replaced the traditional
school uniforms with jilbabs.

4. (SBU) The media also reported that male teachers and
administrative staff are now forbidden to work at girls'
schools, and the same rule will apply to female teachers and
staff concerning boys' schools. According to the latest
statistics provided by PA Ministry of Education, 235,131
students attended public schools in Gaza during 2005-2006,
and 26,172 were girls in secondary school. According to
UNRWA, another 198,860 students attend its schools, which
operate independently from the Hamas-controlled "Ministry of
Education" in Gaza.

5. (SBU) This new policy appears to be the latest step in a
campaign to impose conservative Islamic behavior. On July
26, the chief justice of the Hamas judicial system required
female lawyers to wear a hijab and jilbab in court. Over the
last few months, Hamas authorities have pressured civil
society organizations to separate boys and girls in organized
youth activities. "Modesty patrols," while still relatively
uncommon in the streets of Gaza, reportedly have forced women
to wear the hijab, especially at Gaza's beaches, and have
inspected cars to prevent unmarried couples spending time
together alone. Contacts reported that nearly all women now
wear the hijab in certain public areas, like markets, due to
the increasingly conservative environment.
WALLES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Human Rights: China Journalist Jailed For COVID Reporting Seriously Ill, Must Be Released

UN human rights experts* today urged China to immediately release imprisoned citizen journalist and woman human rights defender Zhang Zhan on humanitarian grounds, saying her health is deteriorating rapidly and her life is in danger... More>>

CID: PNG Deadly Covid Crisis Getting Worse
People in Papua New Guinea are not getting enough Covid vaccines due to misinformation. This is causing immense stress and suffering throughout the country, says Quenelda Clegg Chair of CID’s Humanitarian Network...More>>


Sudan: Bachelet Condemns Killings Of Peaceful Protesters

At least 39 people have been killed by security forces in Sudan since the 25 October military coup, 15 of whom were reportedly shot dead on Wednesday, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>


Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>