Counselor Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United
Nations, Nadya Rasheed, presented the UN on Wednesday with an in-depth
look into what Palestinian women face living under Israeli occupation.
Her statement was from a debate in which the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee of the United nations General Assembly considered the agenda item on the Advancement of Women.
Rasheed said that over six years, all sectors of Palestinian society throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have suffered from the brutal measures employed by the Israeli occupying forces.
She mentioned that any investigation or analysis of violence against the Palestinian people reveals an abhorrent situation in which their human rights are being seriously violated and gravely breached by the occupying Power, trampling their human dignity and controlling almost every single aspect of their lives.
"During this time, the occupying Power has continued to kill, injure and maim Palestinian civilians, including women and children, to destroy homes, properties, vital infrastructure and farmlands, to confiscate land, to construct the expansionist Wall, to build and expand settlements and bypass roads," she said, "to arrest, detain and imprison thousands of Palestinians, and to cause the further deterioration of the already dire economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people by persisting in its imposition of the severest restrictions on movement, including medical and humanitarian assistance, throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem."
Rasheed asserted that not a single day has gone by nor has a single minute passed – during which Israel, the occupying Power, has not deliberately engaged in the violation of international law, including humanitarian law and human rights law, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and in especially in the Gaza Strip.
Counselor Rasheed pointed out that the Palestinian women have borne the brunt of these illegal Israeli policies and as such the consequent reality for Palestinian women has been one of a constant and merciless assault of harassment and humiliation, violence and terror, and punishment and discrimination.
"As a result of some of the violations of human rights mentioned above, such as home demolitions, women who are traditionally the central figure in the homes, caring for their children and managing the domestic affairs inside the home, suddenly find that the center of their existence has been pulled from under them, she highlighted.
Rasheed shed the light that the Palestinian women found themselves reliant on the charity of relatives or international humanitarian organization to provide a roof over their head and food for their children.
She also mentioned to the general situation the Palestinian people lives rising that restrictions of movement of Palestinian people and goods, including the imposition of over 600 checkpoints throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, has indisputably crippled the Palestinian economy, transforming villages and towns into isolated prisons.
"Such restrictions have not only held the Palestinian civilian population as captives, but have also led to the needless deaths of Palestinian women and children on far too many occasions. One particularly horrifying effect of these restrictions on Palestinian women: Pregnant women being forced to give birth at military checkpoints," she said.
Rasheed asserted that the Palestinian women face terrible conditions, often delivering in the back of cars or as one Palestinian woman sadly recalled, "Behind a bush, in the dust, like an animal." Since September 2006, at least 69 Palestinian women have encountered this horrible fate.
"Many of the mothers and their children have suffered grave complications and even death. In addition, the psychological effect on Palestinian women cannot be understated, as stories of traumatic experiences faced by pregnant women transversing checkpoints are well-known," she said.
Counsellor Rasheed affirmed that each and every time an Israeli occupying force knowingly turns away a pregnant women is a patent violation of international law since these repressive and dehumanizing measures, are unmistakably in blatant contravention of international humanitarian law as embodied in the Fourth Geneva Convention and The Hague Regulations, which are applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and which are obligatory to Israel, as the occupying Power.