Info Service on Health Issues (Nov09/04)
Third World Network
women suffer as Israel violates CEDAW
the Israeli occupation of Palestine
severely affects the entire population, women and children bear specific
consequences. This article describes the various forms of abuse and
human rights violations suffered by women under occupation.
following story is reproduced with permission from IPS and South-North
Development Monitor SUNS #6810, 9 November 2009
Middle East: Palestinian
women suffer as Israel violates
By Mel Frykberg,
IPS, Ramallah, 5 November 2009
women continue to suffer abuse and denial of basic human rights at the
hands of Israeli settlers and soldiers in the Occupied Palestinian
This is in flagrant violation of Israel's obligations as a signatory
to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is the first international human rights
treaty devoted to the rights of women.
According to the Convention, discrimination against women represents
a violation of the principles of equality and human dignity, and is
considered an obstacle to the participation of women, on an equal footing
with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their
The Convention obliges all state parties to take appropriate measures,
legislative and non-legislative, to prohibit all forms of discrimination
against women. Israel
is a state party to CEDAW which it ratified in 1991. The Palestinian
Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) in Ramallah recently
released a report "Submission to the Field Mission of the Special
Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights
of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories".
In the report, WCLAC says women and children bear specific consequences
of the Israeli occupation.
"The Israeli occupation impacts on the lives of Palestinian women
at every juncture. From sexual harassment and assault, discriminatory
treatment of Palestinian female prisoners to being forced to give birth
at Israeli checkpoints," Dima Nashashibi from WCLAC told IPS.
Palestinian women have regularly been attacked and assaulted by Israeli
settlers in the occupied West Bank
where they are often the only people at home during the day as their
men folk are at work. The women and their children have been shoved,
stoned and shot at or have had teargas canisters thrown into their homes
while Israeli soldiers looked on and did nothing to stop the settlers.
"I couldn't run. My pregnancy was too far advanced and there was
nowhere to hide," Amna Salman Rabaye, 31, from the Bedouin village
of At Tuwani in the southern
West Bank, told IPS.
Rabaye was seven months pregnant at the time and was grazing her sheep
when a security guard from the adjacent illegal Israeli settlement of
Ma'on assaulted her.
"We saw a group of masked Israeli settlers armed with sticks and
chains heading towards us. The younger shepherds ran and managed to
escape leaving me with the flock of sheep," Rabaye told IPS.
"It was physically impossible for me to run and I also didn't want
the settlers to kill or steal my sheep. The security guard pushed me
over." Fortunately, Rabaye didn't miscarry.
Giving birth in the occupied territories can be a deadly game of Russian
Roulette. "We are continuing to have cases of Palestinian women
being forced to give birth at Israeli checkpoints," says Mutasem
Awad from The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Ramallah.
"Sometimes, the women don't have the necessary Israeli permits
to pass through while at other times, they are delayed for hours leading
to the death of newborns," Awad told IPS.
Even if the women are able to reach local health centres, the doctors
employed there are not always available to give the women the necessary
attention due to Israel's
strict limitations on Palestinian movement.
The more than 600 Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks, which cripple
Palestinian movement in the West Bank,
have also adversely affected the education of female students.
Female students in this conservative society, in greater numbers than
males, prefer to stay at home to avoid being harassed and humiliated
or exposed to attack at the checkpoints.
Palestinian women and children in East Jerusalem
have also been subjected to home evictions and violence by Israeli security
forces and settlers as well as threats of sexual assault.
"My daughter was assaulted by Israeli soldiers and police when
they evicted us from our homes and threw us on to the streets,"
Nadia Hanoun told IPS.
The Hanouns, and a number of other Palestinian families, have been forced
to live in tents outside their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers who claim
that the Hanoun's and other Palestinian homes belong to them.
According to CEDAW, it is the responsibility of the state and the Israeli
occupation forces to prevent and punish such acts of violence and ensure
reparations. This is not being done.
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