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Israeli, Palestinian women protest on both sides of Israeli checkpoint

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Israeli and Palestinian women demonstrate against the occupation. Israeli security forces use tear gas to break up the protest.

Text by Yael Marom
Photos by Anne Paq, Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Palestinian women march toward the Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers broke up the joint Israeli-Palestinian protest against the occupation, a day before International Women’s Day, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women march toward the Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers broke up the joint Israeli-Palestinian protest against the occupation, a day before International Women’s Day, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Roughly 500 Israeli citizens (of both Jewish and Palestinian backgrounds) along with around 1,000 Palestinian women (from the West Bank), demonstrated on both sides of the Qalandia checkpoint Saturday afternoon. The protest was meant to demonstrate Israeli-Palestinian solidarity in opposing the occupation, ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday.

The 1,000 Palestinian women marched from the Qalandia Refugee Camp toward the checkpoint that separates Jerusalem and Ramallah, attempting to reach the Israeli side. As the women approached the checkpoint Israeli security forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and sprayed pepper spray at them in order to forcefully disperse the protest. Dozens of the women were wounded, at least 10 of whom were taken for further medical care.

On the Israeli side, hundreds of women — from Nazareth, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Shefa-‘Amr, Jerusalem and more — held signs reading: “Equality yes, racism no”, “Enough have died for the occupation”. They also chanted to tear down the separation wall. The three women candidates on the Joint List, Aida Touma-Suliman, Haneen Zoabi and Nabila Espanioly, also took part in the demonstration. Israeli security forces prevented those on the Israeli side from approaching the checkpoint’s gate.

Palestinian women approach the fence leading to Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers broke up the joint Israeli-Palestinian protest against the occupation, marking International Women’s Day, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women approach the fence leading to Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers broke up the joint Israeli-Palestinian protest against the occupation, marking International Women’s Day, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women march toward the Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers broke up the joint Israeli-Palestinian protest against the occupation, a day before International Women’s Day, March 7, 2015. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women march toward the Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers broke up the joint Israeli-Palestinian protest against the occupation, a day before International Women’s Day, March 7, 2015. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian woman suffers from tear gas inhalation during a demonstration against the occupation held one day before International Women's Day, at Qalandia checkpoint, West Bank, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian woman suffers from tear gas inhalation during a demonstration against the occupation held one day before International Women’s Day, at Qalandia checkpoint, West Bank, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian car is engulfed by tear gas used by the Israeli army to repress a women demonstration against the occupation one day before International Women's Day, in front of the Qalandia checkpoint, West Bank, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian car is engulfed by tear gas used by the Israeli army to repress a women demonstration against the occupation one day before International Women’s Day, in front of the Qalandia checkpoint, West Bank, March 7, 2015. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Joint List candidate Aida Touma-Suliman said that protesting along the separation barrier with Jewish and Arab women is the right way to take an active part in the struggle for women’s rights and against the occupation. “Instead of wasting money on settlements and occupation, we, women citizens of the State, deserve to benefit from those budgets in order to improve our lives. The women on the other side of the fence deserve to live lives free of occupation and checkpoints.”

Fida Tabouni, who took part in the demonstration, said, “You can’t talk about women’s rights without talking about the occupation. You can’t talk about International Women’s Day without discussing women Palestinian prisoners. For us, to talk about a patriarchal society is also to talk about a militaristic society.”

Another protester, Iris Stern Levi of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said: “There is an entire nation behind this wall, and we are responsible for that, whether passively or actively.”

Responding to the wounding of Palestinian women at the demonstration, MK Dov Khenin said: “The message of peace and hope was received with tear gas.” Asking what the Israeli security force were so afraid of, Khenin added, “we represent hope. The women here today are spreading such a strong message that it will succeed.”

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

Related:
PHOTOS: Israeli women who have stood up to the occupation for 26 years
PHOTOS: Palestinian, Israeli women protest occupation

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    COMMENTS

    1. Whiplash

      500 Israeli crack pots is that it? I don’t see Meretz chairwoman Galon, or Labor’s Livni or Shaffir. I guess no one in any Zionist party agrees that International Woman’s Day should be used to support ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Stop giving us that absurd victimisation routine – living in peace and harmony and mutual respect with your neighbours has nothing too do with ethnic cleansing and is the very opposite of a second Holocaust. Idiot.

        Reply to Comment
      • Mike

        Didn’t Jewish militia ethnically cleanse hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Israel in 1948 destroying over 200 villages and massacring thousands. That’s ?Begin and Shamir for you … carrying out Ben Gurion’s plan.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          NO. Most Palestinian Arabs fled from their homes to escape the war. A small number were expelled. Many fled in fear of Arab on Arab attacks as had happened in the civil war of 1936-1939 called the Arab uprising. The fact is that Palestinian Arab society collapsed under its own disunity and lack of belief in a Palestinian nation. If they had wanted a nation, all they had to do was to agree to the Partition Plan. Not one Arab would have lost his or her life or home. Instead the Palestinian Arabs led by Mufti Amin al-Husseini and Jamal Hussieni embarked upon a war to destroy the emerging Jewish state and kill its inhabitants. The Jewish people stood their ground and defended themselves. They won and the Arabs lost. After the war, Israel did not allow most of the Arabs who had fled to return.

          Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          Different methodologies give between 369 and 531 localities destroyed or ethnically cleansed and anywhere between 700,000 and 800,000 refugees. Different authorities cite between 10 and 70 massacres, with Israeli historian Benny Morris citing hundreds murdered. Thousands massacred might be an exaggeration.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Kathy Bramley

      Although the protest seems mostly made up of Jewish and Muslim Israelis and Palestinians, I want to apply the beatitude: blessed are ye when they revile and persecute you for my name’s sake. Good stuff. I am sure Nigeria’s Women without walls stand with you as well. All the best to everyone, especially the injured. Get well soon!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Gene Jackson

      I admire the courage of WOMEN, both Israeli and Palestinians protesting the occupation and warmongering of Prime Minister Netanyahu against its neighbors. The real citizens of that region are telling the world the truth.

      Reply to Comment
    4. katie

      There is strength and unity in numbers that is what people are afraid of…
      My thoughts are with you all in these protests..
      Unity, hope, strength and honour.
      Go girls! 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    5. Cathy Porter

      Wow! Does anyone not see thru this thinly disguised anti-
      Jewish/Israeli agenda?

      Reply to Comment