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(en) Italy, FDCA, Cantier #24: Gaza, Palestine the war, women - Meri Calvelli - Head of ACS mission in Palestine. - Association of Cooperation and Solidarity (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 13 Apr 2024 10:04:54 +0300

Brief historical notes of the feminist struggle in Palestine ---- The active participation of Palestinian women in political and social life dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, during the period of the British Mandate in Palestine. However, it is with the Nakba of 1948, which marks the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Palestinian diaspora, that women begin to play increasingly visible roles in resistance and support for their communities. ---- During the 1960s and 1970s, with the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), women actively participated in the national struggle, although their contributions were often marginalized in dominant historical narratives . This period also saw the rise of the first women's organizations that sought to specifically address women's issues within the broader context of the national struggle.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, during the first and second intifadas, Palestinian women assumed prominent roles, not only as active participants in the resistance, but also as community leaders, human rights activists, and advocates. of participation and peace initiatives. This period also marked a growing awareness and mobilization around gender issues, with the creation of further women's and feminist organizations aimed at promoting women's rights with

a new generation capable of

represent yourself.

Social challenges and current context

And it is precisely the women of the new generation who, both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, have faced a series of challenges linked both to the context of the conflict and to deeply rooted patriarchal structures that include domestic violence, limitations in access to education and at work, legal and social discrimination, and a disproportionate impact of employment violence.

Organized in associations or individuals, they continued to fight, becoming protagonists and participants, while addressing the internal Palestinian divisions between Fatah and Hamas, different authorities and division of political factions, as well as the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation.

They have always remained active both in non-violent resistance and in supporting victims of violence, in promoting education and the economic empowerment of women.

The struggle of women in Palestine is therefore characterized by a double dimension: that against the occupation and for national self-determination, and that for women's rights and gender equality within their own society.

These challenges demonstrate a strong and notable resilience.

"MARCH is women's month

but in Palestine the occupation limits this right"; the spring that should bloom everywhere, March 8, which represents "International Women's Day" in the world, would have been a global opportunity to celebrate the progress made towards gender equality, as well as to draw attention to the rights of women and the challenges they still face in many parts of the world.

In Gaza, for example, the construction of a very important structure for that territory was planned: THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S HOUSE, which would have allowed the union and organization of all women's associations and committees existing in that territory.

Rights, political, economic and social participation., local and international organizations united to promote gender equality, offering education programs, legal support and economic initiatives.

The horror of the war in Gaza

... But then the horror of the Gaza war also destroyed this passage together with the difficulty of possible solutions; Palestine is facing yet another war, a shocking new military attack, a new unprecedented Nakba, even stronger and more powerful than the first "Nakba", the "Catastrophe" that began in 1948, which led to the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from one's own homes and one's own land and never again resolved or finished. All

this is a source of profound pain and suffering for the people involved, for the entire civilian population. Gaza is completely destroyed and despite this war, it has now filled the news pages of newspapers and the media for almost 5 months, with its character of unprecedented war, it cannot give us the idea of what they can be and how they can be

carry out intense military operations, in the field, on homes and on the population. Air attacks, ground fighting and bombings that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, including 8000 women (femicides?) and children, many children (infanticides?).

Civil infrastructures, such as hospitals, schools and homes and logistical and human livability infrastructures, water, electricity, communication, roads etc... have been hit to the point of total demolition, crumbled and made to disappear from the human mind and memory. I challenge anyone to be able to recognize that territory. (personally I knew that strip inside and out, after over 20 years of living there; today I can't recognise, through the photos and videos that reach us, even a corner of the pavement or road along the seafront. )

If we then move on to the humanitarian situation, the situation is almost indescribable; already previously described as highly critical, due to the imposed and perpetual blockade, prolonged beyond the impossible, where, both Israel and Egypt, allowed nothing but restrictions on movement, both for people and for things. A situation that every "international organization" that arrived on site defined as disastrous and unlivable.

Besieged for 16 years (occupied and sealed), everything that was built inside was destroyed, the population once again displaced in makeshift tents and with an uncertain and unaware future. Gaza, a place where unfortunately only weapons speak and desperation takes the place of reason and justice.

Now, after the Hamas attack on October 7, on Israel, which unlike Gaza was suffering some attacks in the distance, as a response to the unliveability, the situation has seriously worsened:

Limited access to basic necessities: Restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip have seriously affected

limited access to private property

but necessities, including food, medicine and fuel.

- Health system under pressure: Gaza's health system is extremely overloaded, with shortages of medicines, medical equipment and health workers. The health infrastructures have been damaged or destroyed, the few remaining hospitals are attacked daily, with the killing of the hospitalized wounded and displaced people who have sought shelter around the structures.

- Limited or no access to drinking water: Most of the water in Gaza is polluted and undrinkable. The water crisis is exacerbated by damaged or totally destroyed water infrastructure and limited access to the fuel needed to operate desalination and water treatment stations.

- Energy crisis: frequent power cuts, with electricity available only through solar panels where it is possible to install the system in emergency for a few hours a day.

- Housing conditions: most of the 2 million and 300 thousand people no longer have a home, if they are lucky, they only have makeshift tents that can be brought in or built with wood and plastic. The population has been living in overcrowded conditions in confined spaces for 5 months.

International humanitarian organizations continue to ask for unhindered access to provide aid and support to the people of Gaza but the response continues to be evaded and denied.

The IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE is the only and first step that must be imposed by the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY and respected by the parties to stop the loss of human lives and allow the entry of humanitarian aid.


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