The Palestine Housing Cooperatives Union (PHCU) held the annual meeting of its General Assembly and commemorated the twelfth anniversary of  the passing away of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

The meeting began with the Palestinian national anthem and a moment’s of silence was observed to honor the people who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom.

Izz Al-Deen Abu Taha, the PHCU chairman, welcomed guests and representatives of the housing co-ops.  He emphasized that the strategic vision of the Union is The Right of Palestinians to Housing, including co-operative housing, in a way which preserves and maintains their dignity.

He went on to say that over the last three years the Union has concentrated, through co-operation with “We Effect”, on improving its organizational strength and building its capacity to carry out its primary mission which is to support Palestinian steadfastness in remaining on their land and to oppose Israel’s colonial policies which have the intention of uprooting and displacing Palestinians and replacing them with Jewish colonial settlers.

Mohammad Khaled, the head of “We Effect” in Palestine, noted that working with PHCU over the last three years had been both effective and productive, as the collaboration had focused on the development of links between the various co-operatives currently existing in Palestine. The aim of the project has been to strengthen and build the professional capacity of PHCU and to improve its capability of providing services for its members and to defend their rights.  Khaled also announced that “We Effect” had decided to continue to work with the union over the coming years with the aim of promoting the co-operative sector in Palestine as a key component in building a sustainable national economy.

Nazih Arman, the General Director of the Co-operation Department at the Ministry of Labor, remarked that the work of PHCU is essential to the creation of an active and robust co-operative housing sector, and that it is also complementary to the work of the ministry. He added that the Ministry of Labor sees its fundamental role is supervisory, whilst the role of the Union is to represent the co-ops.  He emphasized the need to adopt the Union’s vision when developing policies and strategies for the national plan for the co-operative sector in Palestine.

Moustafa Al-Safarini, the Director of the Housing Co-operative Department in the Ministry of Public Work and Housing, praised the role of the PHCU and its contribution to the discussion of the national strategic plan for housing 2017 – 2022.
He also welcomed the co-operation between the Ministry and the Union and stressed that it was essential as the Union is in direct contact with the housing co-ops and is well aware of their needs, whether permanent or the ad-hoc .

The general manager of the Palestinian Housing Council (PHC), Omar Khafash, praised the productive nature of the co-operation between the PHCU and the PHC, stressing the fact that the relationship between the two parties is strategic and complementary to the need to provide services for a large section of the Palestinian people, especially in Jerusalem and  in Area C.

Following the opening speeches members of the PHCU General Assembly discussed the administrative and financial report. The discussion took place within a context of transparency and democratic debate with the Union providing copies of the reports, in both electronic and hard copy formats, several days before the meeting was held.

The members of the PHCU General Assembly expressed their appreciation of the efforts of the Board of Directors in redeeming and reactivating the Union. They also hoped the Union will be able expand its activities including advocating for the rights of housing co-ops.