DAYS OF PALESTINE – As the world celebrates Women’s Day, Palestinian women continue to struggle against many forms of oppression and injustice.
Israel continues to implement a range of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that feed into Israel’s broader annexation strategy and intent to diminish the presence of the Palestinian population, including women, particularly in Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.
Such laws and practices include: discriminatory citizenship and residency laws, restrictions on family unification, administrative home demolitions, alongside increased measures of collective punishment, such as punitive residency revocations and punitive home demolitions.
In the Gaza Strip, the systematic oppression is reflected in the 12-year long closure imposed on more than two million Palestinians, which has turned Gaza into an uninhabitable open-air prison.
Over the past 12 years, the closure has resulted in severe restrictions on women’s access to healthcare, to realizing adequate living standards for themselves and their families, including shelter, water, electricity, and sanitation. Palestinian women are also subject to Israel’s aggressive, and sometimes, lethal attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
This has been exemplified over the past year in the targeting of Palestinian civilians participating in the Great Return March protests calling for an end to Israel’s occupation and closure and for the realization of their right of return. Since 30 March 2018, two women were killed and hundreds others were injured as a result of Israel’s excessive use of force and lethal force against peaceful protesters, which may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Israel’s military occupation, discriminatory policies and practices fuel the rise of socio-economic and political violence against women.
Israel’s restriction and obstruction of the Palestinian economy in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem has impacted women disproportionately as it increases their vulnerability to economic injustice and creates further limitations to their access to the labor market.
Women in Jerusalem, and in West Bank in particular, continue to suffer the dire consequences of coercive environments created by Israel, and the implementation of discriminatory policies and practices, such as home demolitions, forcible transfer and arbitrary arrests, in the absence of accountability.
Since 1967, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced as a result of military attacks, and Israel’s unlawful administrative and punitive home demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Displacement has been one of the gravest consequences of the occupation, where women, as a group, have been most impacted as they endure the brunt of additional social and economic costs of dispersal and home loss.
In addition, as of 2017, more than 10,000 Palestinian women have been detained by the Israeli authorities since 1967.
Today, more than 30 women suffer unbearable living conditions in Israeli prisons, deprived entirely of basic human rights, including the right to privacy and the right to education.
Nonetheless, human rights abuses against Palestinian women are not limited to women living in the OPT, but also include Palestinian women within the Green Line and the Diaspora, as they continue to suffer the gendered effects of ethnic discrimination, economic violence and forced displacement.