Monday, March 21, 2016

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International Women’s Day In Palestine Under Israeli Occupation

Steven Katsineris writes about International Women's Day in Palestine and what Palestinian women are forced to endure under the regime of the Israeli occupier.  Steven Katsineris is Melbourne based writer and activist.

A 50-year-old Palestinian woman was killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the morning of the 8th March in East Jerusalem, after a “stabbing attempt” against an Israeli policeman. The Israeli police shot dead Fadwa Abu Tair from Sur Baher town, East Jerusalem, near Al-Hadid Gate of Jerusalem’s old city.

An Israeli army spokeswoman claimed that the police shot Fadwa for her alleged attempt to stab an Israeli policeman. Large numbers of Israeli police rushed to the spot and closed the gates of the old city of Jerusalem following the shooting.

With her death, the number of female Palestinians killed since the outbreak of last year’s October uprising rises to 17.

Shortly after the killing of Fadwa, the Israeli military kidnapped a girl from Qalandia checkpoint, claiming she had a knife.

The same day, the Israeli military arrested Manal Tamimi, a mother of six and prominent nonviolence resistance activist against the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements from her home in Al-Nabi Saleh village. It is not known what charges the Israeli military will present against her. 

She is also active in the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, which presents community-based resistance rooted in a belief in the power of nonviolent struggle, taking various forms, such as strikes, protests, and legal campaigns, as well as supporting the call to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Manal could be held without charge under the repressive Israeli military court system practices where people are held without any charges or convictions as administrative detainees. Many Palestinian writers, journalists, lawyers, bloggers, artists, students, politicians and other activists are being held as administrative detainees by Israel. 

For the past six years, the village of Al-Nabi Saleh held a peaceful demonstration every week against the Israeli wall and illegal settlements.

Coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), Munther Amira strongly denounced the kidnap, calling it a new Israeli crime against women, especially taking place on international women’s day.

Amira said that this act displays the Israeli brutality against all values of freedom and democracy and against all women, and Palestinian women in particular.

Manal’s husband, Bilal Tamimi said Manal was unable to participate in the demonstrations during the past few weeks, because she had a bad allergy towards the massive amount of teargas that is fired during the protests. She was shot and injured in her legs twice, in 2013 and 2015.

Currently, there are approximately 60 ‪Palestinian women held in ‪‎Israeli jails. 118 Palestinian women have been detained since October 2015 and the rise of the Palestinian popular uprising. 10 Palestinian girls under 18 are imprisoned, and 3 of the Palestinian women imprisoned are held under administrative detention without charge or trial. The imprisonment of Palestinian women has risen dramatically alongside the mass incarceration of Palestinian men.

At least 188 Palestinians have been killed since the latest Palestinian uprising against the brutal Israeli occupation begun in early October. Some Palestinians have been killed in protests and clashes with Israeli military, or in resistance attacks against Israeli soldiers, police or settlers, while others have been summarily executed by Israeli forces. And up till the end of February 2016 at least 15,645 Palestinians have been injured by the Israeli forces since the most recent revolt against the oppressive Israeli occupation began. As well, 30 Israeli soldiers, police and armed settlers have been killed. Also an American and Eritrean have died. 

In a joint report, three Palestinian institutions: the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee – said that the Israeli occupation authorities arrested 616 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza in February 2016. This number includes 140 children and 18 women and girls. The number of arrests since the beginning of the popular uprising in October 2015 has exceeded 4,120 people. 

Freed prisoner Fatima al-Zak stated that the world should realize that while it celebrates International Women’s Day, many Palestinian women are “suffering behind Israeli prison bars from racist, repressive policies”.

“Where is the world when it comes to the Palestinian women who suffer horrors inside the Israeli jails, are treated inhumanely and denied access to the most basic rights,” al-Zak said, adding that the world has seemingly forgotten about the Palestinian women. 

Al-Zak called on international human rights organizations to exert pressure on Israel to release Palestinian women and girls from Israeli prisons.

  • Sources: Samidoun, U-Free Network, Addameer, Palestine Chronicle, Palestine Red Crescent, Prisoners Affairs Committee and Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

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