International Women's Day is a global celebration of all the achievements women have made over the centuries and a reminder of what is possible when women are given a fair and equal chance at living in a free and justice society. Today (8.02.11), the women of Gaza gathered together to remind the world that they too were a part of this global female community and that they too should have their rights protected. The Palestinian woman is known for her ability to bare pain with patience and dignity as her country is occupied by the Israeli entity.
Palestinian women, like many women who have had to endure abuse and tyranny at the hands of their Occupiers, have been subjected to an array of human rights abuses, from being denied the right to live a normal family life, to being imprisoned or having their lives threatened during Israeli military incursions. Pregnant Palestinian women in the West Bank have been denied medical treatment due to the impenetrable Israeli check points while some mothers must watch on hopelessly as their sick child is denied clearance to exit the blockaded Gaza Strip to seek medical treatment. These are just some examples of what women in Palestine have been made to endure.
In Gaza, Palestinian women in a typically Palestinian way, strive to continue living their lives to the fullest despite the illegal siege they suffer under. Many of these women have been left widowed or their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons are detained by Israel, leaving them in charge of being the breadwinners for their families. In the Gaza Strip, women have free access to education, health facilities and have their social needs catered for by the Palestinian government; however their basic human rights are still being impinged upon by the on-going siege. Their desire to rebuild their society remains steadfast and the international community should step up the campaign to ensure Palestinian women are given their due rights enshrined in international law.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad