Palestinian and Israeli Women Demonstrate for the Same Cause, but On Different Sides of the Wall

By SarinoElu

Palestinian and Israeli women joint a demonstration held at the foot of the separation wall at the Qalandia checkpoint, one day before International Women’s Day. The Saturday demonstration took place under the banner “Women Break the Wall.” The Movement of Democratic Women in Israel (TANDI) has issued a statement calling for “Solidarity between all women for the common struggle of equal rights for women in all walks of life.”

“We will demonstrate for the rights of every woman, regardless of age, religion, race, or nationality, to live in security and dignity, and to be free to realize her potential without hindrance, without discrimination, and without political, social, or economic oppression. This demonstration will make tangible the commitment of women to fight all such barriers, and their common call to put an end to discrimination, oppression, and occupation.”

About 1,000 Palestinian women marched from the Qalandia Refugee Camp toward the checkpoint that separates Jerusalem and Ramallah, attempting to reach the about 500 Israeli citizens (of both Jewish and Palestinian backgrounds) on the other 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.

The proposal to celebrate International Women’s Day by holding this demonstration was first raised at the Cana’an Conference, held in Berlin last December. The conference participants welcomed the initiative, seeing as it will enable women on both sides of the separation wall to “come together in an act of solidarity.” Among the organizations that proposed the demonstration are Isha L’Isha – the Feminist Center in Haifa, Mahapach-Taghir, the Movement of Democratic Women in Israel (TANDI), Women Against Violence, Women in Black, and the Coalition of Women for Peace.

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”.