On the eve of March 8th, International Women’s Day, 116 female detainees are still imprisoned in Israeli prisons and facing ongoing violations of their rights and inhuman living conditions, says a report by the Palestinian Prisoners Society.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) issued a press release revealing that Israeli soldiers have arrested 5500 Palestinian women since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
These arrests included many arrests of girls under the age of 18, elderly women and women who spent several years in detention centers such as Majeda Al Salayma, Zahra Qaroush, Rabeeha Thiab, Samee’a Hamdan and others.
The widest arrest campaigns carried out by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian women were in the period between 1968-1976 and during the first Intifada, which began in 1987.
Female detainees are tortured, threatened with rape and subjected to different sorts of physical, psychological and verbal abuse.
Over the years, Palestinian female detainees carried out repeated hunger strikes in protest of the Israeli violations and were equal with Palestinian men in their commitment to the struggle against the occupation and in defending the land and honor of the Palestinian people.
Several female detainees gave birth while in detention, often in dark rooms, with no medical support, and behind bars. Detainees Umaima Al Aagha, Sameeha Hamdan, Majeda Al Slaima and Mirvat Taha were some of those who birth while in detention under harsh conditions.
The PPS also reported that there are a number o female detainees who spent more than ten years in detention, such as Itaf Oleyyan, Zahra Qaroush, Nadia Al Khayyat, and Fatima Al Barnawi who was the first Palestinian female detainee in Israeli prisons.
In 1996 female detainees in Israeli prisons refused a deal of the conditional release of some of them, and insisted that all the female detainees should be released. They all remained in detention until 1997 when Israel released all female detainees.
After the current Al Aqsa Intifada began in 2000, Israel resumed its policy and started arrested dozens of Palestinian women, and underage girls. Since 2000, more than 450 women and underage girls have been arrested by Israeli authorities. There are currently 116 women imprisoned, mainly in Telmond detention facility for women.
There are currently 16 imprisoned mothers including Faten Dhraghma, Erena Sarahna, Fida Abdullah, Manal Ghanim and her two year-old child Wael.
According to the PPS report, there are currently eight underage female detainees in Israeli prisons;
Ni’ma Al Bakhayry, 14, from Hebron.
Isra’ Khaleel, 14, Hebron.
Aya Oweiss, 17, Jenin refugee camp.
Yasmeen Al Rajabi, 17, Hebron.
Firyal Ja’ara, 17, Bethlehem.
Samah Abdullah, 18, Nablus.
Hiba Yaghmour, 15, Hebron.
Ni’ma Al Naqayra, 15, Hebron.
In several cases, Israeli soldiers arrested women and girl as a means to pressure their brothers or husbands to confess by holding the women and threatening to rape and abuse their female family members. This type of ‘baiting’ is a direct violation of the principles of human rights and the fourth Geneva conventions.
* Information collected from the Palestinian Prisoners Society, The Palestinian Human Rights committee, and other related sources.