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As the Israeli military occupation of Palestine drags on amidst promises of ‘disengagement’, women in Palestine and around the world are bearing witness to the brutality of the occupation and demanding that it end.
Kelly is a peace activist who was arrested recently in the Palestinian village of Bala’in by the Israeli army while participating in a march opposing the Israeli annexation wall currently being constructed in Palestine. We spoke to her by phone in the detention facility:
Kelly’s description of the lack of legal representation for detainees closely resembles the accounts made by Palestinian women detained in Israeli prisons. There are currently over 7000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, many of them being held without charges – at least 130 are women.
Hava Keller is the head of the Women Prisoner’s Society, based in Israel:
Recently, the Israeli government released several hundred Palestinian prisoners. None of those released were women.
Ayman Abu Eita is a Palestinian from Beit Sahour village who was held for several years in Israeli prison before being released.
While many female Palestinian prisoners remain in prison, their counterparts on the outside have had to contend with another type of prison: the prison of occupation. For while Palestinians recently elected a President, the Palestinian Authority has little real control over the reality on the ground. The borders of the Palestinian areas are tightly controlled by the Israeli army, and all Palestinian roads and towns are blocked by Israeli checkpoints. Ala is a student from the Palestinian city of Qalqilia. She describes an Israeli military invasion, a common occurrence in the walled-in city of Qalqilia:
Invasions like the one just described are numerous in the city of Qalqilia and elsewhere in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli government is also currently constructing a wall through Palestinian land, creating new borders for the state of Israel that will annex up to 40% of the Palestinian West Bank when the Wall’s construction is complete. Itadel Mamer lives in the Palestinian village of Battir, which is currently being enclosed by the Wall.
Jewish activists from the US and Israel have joined Palestinians in their call for an end to the occupation, for Palestinian human rights, and for self-determination. Kate Raphael Bender is a Jewish activist from California who was recently deported from Israel for protesting against the Wall that the Israeli government is currently constructing through Palestinian land. In this segment, recorded in jail, she discusses the issue of immigrant labor in Israel:
Within the Jewish community in the U.S., there is often a painful division on the subject of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Lan Harris, a poet from Washington DC, performs a poem on the subject:
While the debates continue to rage in the U.S., Palestinians live under the daily spectre of a military occupation that costs Palestinian civilians their lives on a nearly daily basis. Ala, a student in Qalqilia:
For the International Middle East Media Center in Palestine and the Women’s International News Gathering Service