The 8th of March is the day proclaimed
by the international community to stress women’s rights that are guaranteed
under the international laws and standards and to support women’s struggle to
achieve justice and equality and eradicate discrimination against them.
The International Women’s Day comes this year
while many Palestinian women have been experiencing cruel and inhumane
conditions due to the Israeli arbitrary practices that affected their lives.
Women’s suffering doubled in the Gaza Strip
in particular due to the consequences of the latest Israeli offensive, as they
have been enduring hard and complicated living conditions.
During the 50-day Israeli offensive, women
were exposed to the risks of death or injury because of the Israeli excessive
use of lethal force as well as the blatant Israeli violations of the principles
of distinction and proportionality under customary international humanitarian
According to documentation of human rights
organizations, 293 women were killed(18%
of the civilian victims during the Israeli offensive). Moreover, 2,114 women
were wounded, dozens of whom sustained permanent disabilities.
Women’s suffering was not limited to killings
that affected them or their families, but it increased because they were
forcibly displaced from their houses and were forced to resort to UNRWA
shelters amidst inhumane conditions that lack the minimal basic services,
including clean water, potable water and environmental health services.
Besides, in UNRWA shelters, there was no privacy and there was an unprecedented
state of overcrowding in sleeping places. All this added more responsibility
and complication to the lives of these women. In spite of protection that is
supposed to be offered to civilians, especially women and children, in UNRWA
shelters, women were subjected to indiscriminate attacks in those shelters. As
a result, 2 women were killed and about 70 others were wounded, while family
members were killed or injured in very terrifying scenes.
In light of the obstructed process of Gaza’s
reconstruction, thousands of families have been staying in UNRWA shelters,
while other thousands of families were forced to return to their destroyed
houses, which are inappropriate for human life, and in light of the extreme
frustration and despair for a quick change in their living conditions.
In the West Bank, women’s suffering continues
due to the Israeli violations against the Palestinian civilians. Women
experience harsh conditions because of the Israeli arbitrary practices of
killing acts and/or house raids, arrests, including arrests against women and
girls, house demolitions, and restrictions on the freedom of movement by
permanent and temporary checkpoints. All these measures have increased women’s
suffering and negatively affected their life.
At the internal level, women’s suffering has
not stopped due to the ongoing gender-based violence, which increased because
of the deterioration of economic, social and living conditions in the occupied
Palestinian territory. According to PCHR’s documentation, 16 women were killed
last year in different contexts related to gender-based violence.
PCHR reiterates its full support for
Palestinian women wherever they are and stresses that they live under
unprecedented level of human suffering and cruel conditions due to the Israeli
practices and violations. PCHR also highlights the need for supporting the
Palestinian women by the international and local community.
PCHR calls upon the international community
- Offer protection to civilians, including women, and to compel the
Israeli authorities to respect human rights and comply with the principles
of the international humanitarian and human rights laws; and
- Immediately work on lifting the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza
Strip and putting an end to all forms of the closure in order to allow the
Gaza Strip population, including women, to enjoy their right to live in
dignity and respect for their political and civil rights as well as
economic, social and cultural ones.
Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the Palestinian
Authority and the unity government to:
- Take the necessary measures to put an end to domestic violence and
prosecute those who commit crimes against women; and
- PCHR stresses that the obstruction of the Palestinian Legislative
Council hinders adopting more fair and just laws relating to women.