On 8 March, the world observes the United Nations International Women’s Day, which this year focuses on stopping violence against women. On this occasion, Al-Haq is pleased to release two videos that focus respectively on administrative detentions and house demolition, which are two common features of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. The videos highlight the impact of these illegal practices on the lives of Palestinian women.
The first video features an interview with Shirin Mousa Halahleh and her husband, Thaer Aziz Halahleh. Shirin discusses the psychological harm she suffered as a result of the multiple violent arrests and arbitrary detentions of her husband by the Israeli military. Shirin also describes these illegal measures’ impact on her health condition, daily life and her relationship with Thaer.
The second video focuses on house demolitions and their affects on the lives of three Palestinian women: Laila Abu Rjelah, a resident of ‘Abasan al-Kabira (Khan Younis governorate, Gaza Strip), Muntaha Ali Je’bas, a resident of Jerusalem, and Yusra Salim Mousa, from al-Khader village (Bethlehem governorate). Despite the recurrent demolitions of their properties by the Israeli forces, Laila, Muntaha and Yousra have rebuilt their homes and are determined to continue to live on their land. They strive to conduct normal lives despite the looming threat of future demolitions.
The two videos show how Israel’s illegal polices resulted in violations of these women’s rights to freedom from unlawful and arbitrary interference with their privacy, home and family life, the right to access to health and the freedom to chose their residence. Furthermore, those practices impacted the women’s livelihood and exposed them to psychological distress. Psychological violence is only one of the possible forms of violence against women, along with physical and sexual violence. The phenomenon of violence against women is a severe human rights violation and precludes women from playing a central role in society. In addition, the difficult socio-economic conditions, a result of Israel’s ongoing occupation, have contributed to increasing levels of violence against Palestinian women in the private sphere.
Al-Haq firmly condemns all violations of women’s rights by Israel and any act of violence perpetrated by the Israeli military against Palestinian women. As the Occupying Power, Israel must comply with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. In particular, Israel must abide by the United Nations Convention on the Eliminations of All Forms of Discriminations against Women (CEDAW), which it ratified in 1979. Al-Haq calls upon the Palestinian authorities to protect women’s rights and effectively promote their active participation in the social and political life of Palestine.