Women’s Right to Inherit Land in Palestine
In Palestine, legislation and Sharia provide women the right to own and dispose of property independently of men in their family. However women are often obstructed from this right because of legal, cultural and social barriers. Gender construction and the societal reality, distribution of roles and power, norms and traditions, means that men’s access to inherited lands still dominates practice in Palestine. Palestinian women are being forced to give up their rights to inheritance in many ways. Pressure by male relatives to relinquish a woman’s interest and right to land, sighting the preservation of family wealth as a pretext, is just one method commonly used.
With support from the Australian government, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is working with ASALA Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association to interact with targeted communities through TV and radio shows in order to help women in agricultural communities access their right to inheritance. Enabling women to gain access to means of agricultural production is an integral step in supporting women to earn an income.
This TV ad has been designed to show a positive approach to women inheriting land so as to normalise it. Radio ads follow a similar theme to reinforce the message of the TV ads.
Note: the TV ad does not have subtitles. You can read the dialogue below to put the conversation between brother and sister into context.
Brother: May God give you wellness, my sister (this is a common expression of greeting in Palestinian Arabic)
Sister: May God give you wellness as well! (a reply to the above expression)
Brother: I’m so glad you are taking care of your land, as you used to do during the life of our father, thanks to God’s mercy.
Sister: The land is the smell of our father (NOTE: the land is a reminder of her father), we inherited the land from him and we are living from it. My brothers, you were fair and you gave us our right of inheritance.
Brother: May his soul rest in peace, this land is for you and your family. Justice is the basis of life, inheritance of lands from our father is for both sisters and brothers.
The TV spot ends with roughly the following written in Arabic (NOTE: it is hard to do a direct translation of this into English)
“It is my right to Inherit: Fair inheritance maintains good relations for our family”
The Arabic above the slogans at the end reads: “Funded from” (the Australian government) “In Partnership with” (the members of the Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA consortium).