Palestinian women prisoners struggling for justice, dignity and freedom

Palestinian women prisoners are continuing their battle for justice, dignity and freedom from the occupation prisons. There are currently 32 women prisoners jailed in occupation prisons, with most of them held in Damon prison, while Fatima Shaheen and Etaf Jaradat are held in Neve Tirza prison; three Palestinian women are jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, and one minor girl is behind bars. (There are over 1132 administrative detainees in total, out of nearly 5000 Palestinian political prisoners.)

Shaheen and Jaradat carried out a hunger strike for several days in late July — joined by several male prisoners, including Zakaria Zubaidi, of the Freedom Tunnel prisoners, as well as those in the Ramleh prison clinic — after they were subjected to increasing restrictions and moved to the Neve Tirza prison for Zionist criminal prisoners. The two were transferred suddenly and, after they objected, the guards bound their hands and feet, and their fellow prisoners erupted in outrage. They suspended their strike on 27 July after a commitment to follow up on their situation.

Fatima Shaheen

Shaheen, 33, was shot by occupation soldiers on 15 April 2023 and injured in the spine and abdomen; she was told that she would be unable to walk in the future and is using a wheelchair. Jaradat was transferred to the Ramle prison clinic (and then Neve Tirza) from Damon prison solely to provide assistance with daily life activities to Shaheen, whose severe injuries prevent her from doing those activities.

Etaf Jaradat

Both of them have been held in poor conditions, with Jaradat provided only a chair to sleep on for weeks, despite the fact that she was moved to accompany Shaheen. Meanwhile, Shaheen was denied access to any telephone contact with her family, and the two have been held in a tiny cell with poor ventilation. Jaradat is also cut off from access to her family, including her imprisoned sons, Omar and Ghaith Jaradat.

However, the women prisoners have been continuing to take collective protest steps to demand improvement in their conditions of confinement, and have been subjected to sanctions and collective punishment by the Zionist prison administration, incluing preventing them from using the public telephones, closing the “canteen” (prison store) and denying them family visits.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses our strongest solidarity with the Palestinian women prisoners, and Palestinian women in Palestine and everywhere in exile and diaspora, struggling for justice and liberation for all of Palestine, from the river to the sea. We urge women’s organizations and feminist groups around the world to show their solidarity with Palestinian women and to highlight the struggle of the Palestinian women prisoners, escalate the campaigns to boycott and isolate the occupation, its institutions and complicit corporations, and resist with all Palestinian prisoners as they confront fascism with their bodies and their lives. Palestinian women prisoners are on the front lines of struggle for national and social liberation, and we urge their immediate release, the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners — and the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.