The Palestinian Maintenance Fund (PMF) works to assure legal, economic, and psychological safety for marginalized groups, mainly women and children. The PMF carries out its responsibilities as a public institution of political will in accordance with international treaties to which the State of Palestine has acceded, namely the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The PMF was established through the Maintenance Fund Law No. (6) for the year 2005, issued on 26 April 2005, corresponding to 17 Rabi I 1426H followed by the Executive Regulation No. (2) of 2007, issued on 10 October 2007 to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Palestinian Fund Law. Affiliated with the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers and an independent legal personality, the PMF enjoys financial, administrative and intellectual independence.
According to Shari’a Law, maintenance is defined as “the sufficient provision of the ordinary needs for food, clothing, housing, and utilities.” Based on the Jordanian Personal Status Law of 1976, wives, children, parents, and relatives are entitled to receive maintenance. Through this process, women are achieving their fair rights of maintenance and respect. Becoming aware of their legal and economic rights has empowered many of the women to negotiate and change their life conditions by challenging the obstacles they face and making better life choices. Women beneficiaries of the PMF have used this knowledge and status as a bargaining tool to obtain their divorce papers. These women now stand on a higher pedestal than their current or former husbands.
The PMF aims to guarantee the implementation of maintenance rulings that are not implemented due to absence of the accused, unfamiliarity with his place of residence, or lack of funds for the implementation of the court decision/ruling. The PMF plays a vital role in following up on the enforcement of maintenance and child support payments from parents who are delinquent in their payments due to reluctance towards or evasion of payment because of judgment, travel abroad, or the lack of a clear residential address. As an external, public institution that has the specific mandate to intervene within the private sphere, PMF obliges delinquent parties to pay maintenance by exercising lawful authority powers on those convicted. It operates by enforcing imprisonment orders and travel bans, and by seizing assets through legal action in partnership with the courts, the police, the monetary authority, the ministries of interior, economy, transportation, and local governance, the land authority, and other official bodies. These partnerships underpin the effectiveness of PMF in claiming the resources to which vulnerable parties are entitled.
The PMF operates with a comprehensive understanding of protection that goes beyond ensuring the monthly maintenance payments. It utilizes an integrated approach that aims to fill the practical, economic, legal, psychological, and social-services needs of beneficiaries, thus sparing them the humiliation of hardship and destitution. Furthermore, it raises the voices of beneficiary groups and maintains their representation in the plans, policies, programs, and activities of both formal and informal institutions. PMF partnerships include, in addition to the abovementioned, the ministries of health and social development, and civil society institutions, as well as private sector institutions and individuals in order to enable beneficiaries to expand their choices and control.