Areab Monir Maqbol, 26, is the youngest member of the Palestinian municipal council. Last December, she won the elections in Jenean City of the West Bank. Although her success crowns stories of patience and struggle of the
Palestinian women, it has a special favor since she is a Hamas activist, whose stunning victory in polls sparked fears of some Palestinian sectors over civil freedom, concerns that Areab sees as unfounded.
Areab’s win came as a surprise due to the hard conditions of her city. She, in addition, gave birth few days ahead of the elections therefore she experienced a difficult campaign.
Commitment to Civil Liberties
Areab mentioned that Hamas will not force people to practice something against their will. Nevertheless, each community has its unique identity required to preserve, she added. In the secular-claimed Israel for example, no body, including the Prime Minister himself, dares to make a phone call on Saturday. In France, school girls are not allowed to wear the Muslim veil in order to preserve the country’s secular image. By the same analogy, Palestinian people are adherents of their religion and should be allowed to protect their Islamic identity if they choose to do so. Hamas recognized this right and subsequently, the Palestinians people voted for us in both the municipal and parliamentary elections,’ Areab explained.
A woman Prime Minister?
In the future, Areab hope to see a Palestinian female Prime Minister whose nomination should be based on performance and competency not just gender. If a woman has what it takes to be a leader then she should run for office and eventually voters will decide, she hoped.