Friday, 8 March 2013, marks the International Women’s Day. It’s an important occasion to assert women’s right to enjoy their rights fully and without discrimination. It’s a day to celebrate women and their achievements economically, politically and socially. This year’s theme is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” in order to assert the international community’s responsibility towards ending violence against women.
This international occasion comes at a time when Palestinian women are being subjected to ongoing Israeli violations. It also comes amidst the continued Israeli enforced blockade and its tight closures of the Gaza Strip. Only in 2012, 14 women were killed and 139 were injured. Of these, 13 women were killed and 105 women were injured during the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip code-named “Pillars of Cloud”. Women also suffer due to the grievous loss of their children who were killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). 37 children were killed and 315 were injured during “Pillars of Cloud”. In 2013, the IOF destroyed 162 houses which are owned by women. 6 of the 162 houses were totally destroyed. The number of women who live in houses which were demolished by the IOF is 10,800, 556 of whom were living in houses which had been totally damaged. Hundreds of Palestinian women were forced to leave their houses due to Israeli warning leaflets.
This day comes at a time when Palestinian women live in extremely dire conditions which are the result of Israel’s blockade. This has negatively impacted Palestinians’ lives on various fronts. The burden of poverty and living tightly under siege - in the Palestinian territories in general and in Gaza in particular - have fallen squarely on women's shoulders.
According to Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the percentage of unemployed women in the Gaza Strip is more than 48%. The percentage of poor families where women are the main source of income is 29.7%. The percentage of women participation in work is still too small compared to men; 15.1%.
Al Mezan congratulates Palestinian women on the occasion of the International Women's Day; it also condemns Israeli continuous violations against them.
Therefore, Al Mezan calls upon the international community to uphold its legal and moral obligation and to take effective procedures to ensure that Palestinian women fully enjoy their rights. It also calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to take necessary steps to exert pressure on Israel to end its violations against women.
Al Mezan calls on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to join the International Criminal Court to pursue Israeli officials who have committed or ordered war crimes and bring them to justice. It also calls on the PA to join international human rights conventions particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.