A call for women’s and feminist organizations to announce Women’s Day to be a day of solidarity with the administrative detainee Hana Al-Shalabi and all female prisoners and women in the families of Palestinian prisoners .
Women’s Day, which marks the eighth of March, is a symbolic day to remind us of the struggle that women of the world go through to break the chains of sexism because they are women. However, there are different categories of women, whilst some women struggled for liberation and equality – for example against discrimination in terms of the right to vote and be elected, women were sexist towards women of other ethnic groups or on the basis of gender and race. There are debates and fundamental differences in how to deal with certain issues between the masses of women by the intellectual and ideological affiliation to different streams and sometimes contradictory or conflicting.
In Palestine, Women’s Day is a day of struggle. Despite the achievements of some significant things, were achieved as a result of long paths of struggle, we shouldn’t celebrate yet, we are still Palestinian women, whether in Palestine 1948 or in the West Bank and Gaza or the Diaspora suffering from colonialism, occupation, discrimination and racism. Women of the West Bank and Gaza Strip suffer from the consequences of the occupation, and in Palestine 1948, we suffer from racism institutionalized in the laws and the fact that the state is the state of Israel, the state is built on our land and tore our families apart.
Palestinian women suffered the most from the occupation and the establishment of the Jewish state. They experienced the migration, separation, and non-settlement in neighbouring countries, they continue to live in risk of institutionalized discrimination, the risk of local displacement and uprooting, as in Negev, and continue to live at risk of having their families torn apart by the law of racial citizenship…
Our women have suffered of captivity in the past during the Mandate period, and have suffered from emergency laws used by the British Mandate also from and administrative detention.
For example, the arrest of Palestinian activist Sathej Nassar, the Editor of “Carmel” magazine, and wife of Najib Nassar the activist, she was arrested under administrative detention for a year without providing an indictment against her; she was called a “very dangerous woman.” She was arrested on 23/03/1939, according to Emergency Law No. 15 B, which permits administrative detention, and was imprisoned in Bethlehem until 23/02/1940, and this was the first arrest and imprisonment of a Political Palestinian woman.
The Mandate government arrested many women and put them in prison for years up to seven to ten years for hiding or smuggling arms, and this happened during the general strike and the great revolution in 1936. In 1937, the feminist activist Maseel Maghanam wrote a book in English titled: “The Arab Woman and the Palestine Problem”: “do not talk about women’s rights as long as we under occupation.” She meant that they needed complete liberation of the entire system of occupation that suppress freedoms and initiate violence.
In the case of Palestinian women, the Jewish state helped in the continuing violence and the killing of women and even the failure to provide awareness and prevention, and even have the upper hand in the harsh living conditions experienced by Palestinian families (e.g. unemployment, poverty, displacement and home demolition, which can be one of the factors that cause some types of violence against women). Palestinian women still pay the price, and suffer from the occupation and its consequences; the Separation Barrier dismembered families and hindered human family communication.
Our women pay the price in captivity, detention, investigation and insults, and pay the price of the longest-lived Israeli occupation and colonialism, after the end of the apartheid system in South Africa.
Women and young girls pay the price of their family members’ captivity, and suffer discrimination in prison against them and their families because of the policies of prison administration, which prevent any contact between the political prisoners and their family, which isn’t the case for the political Jewish prisoners or for Arab or Jewish criminals. They don’t allow the Palestinian captive to hug his family, even in the most difficult moments, as cases of death.
Palestinian detainee Hana Al-Shalabi announced that she is on hunger strike to protest against her administrative arrest again after she was released in “Wafaa Al-Ahrar” deal in October 2011.
Administrative detention is arresting the person without being presented for any trial and without providing an indictment. There are 307 administrative detainees in Israeli prisons, including 3 women, and the total number of women detainees is 6 to date after the majority were released in the latest deal.
Let’s announce the eighth of March, a day of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, to unite frameworks and women’s movements behind this cause.