On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2014, it is an important day around the world, Palestine is no different. So on this the 103rd Women’s Day, we held the Fourth Women’s Conference: Resist for Change, in Beit Ummar.
Palestinians and women from many countries got together to discuss the situation in Palestine for women. As we know Palestinians suffer due to the illegal Israeli occupation. Israel took and continues to take our homes and land. They killed our husbands and children. And it must stop!
In Jordan Valley 95% of the land has been taken for so-called ‘military zones’ or illegal settlements, with most of the area controlled by the Israeli Army. Without land families of the Jordan valley cannot maintain their animals, so they can’t afford food. When there is no job, and with many children to take care of, women are forced to work in the illegal settlements that curtail their freedom and steal their land. The settlers pay only around 60NIS per day with no insurance or any kind of assistance for them or their family.
In Beit Ummar the situation is complicated. The agricultural land is in so-called under the failed Oslo Accords, Area C and the built up area in Area B. Palestinians face settler attacks and women see their children arrested by the illegal occupation. In 2010 a 17-year-old Palestinian, Yousef Ikhlayl, was murdered by a settler. For us as women is very hard to lead a normal life everyday with the fear we feel. We are afraid of our children and husbands being arrested or even killed by settlers.
Today, on a day for women, Palestinians women from Bethlehem, Beit Ummar, Hebron, Jordan Valley and other countries have discussed the issues facing us and made a resolution about what we should do to resist the Israeli occupation and fight for our existence. We will organise committees in the south, middle and north of Palestine to support the people, bringing Palestinians and internationals together to learn about and understand our resistance and history, document through film and receive volunteers from all of Palestine and the World to fight together. Thus, we invite all Palestinians and internationals to join us and support our people.
Sireen Khudairi – female activist and Steering Committee member for SFP and Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign