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International Women’s Day: Statement from the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
13 April 2015

Ramallah (Nisaa FM) - Fight Back News Service is circulating the following March 8 statement from the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees extend our solidarity and commitment to joint struggle to all activists and campaigners for freedom around the world who are confronting the forces of colonialism, exploitation, occupation, discrimination and racism and struggling for freedom, equality, justice and dignity; to those who defend self-determination of peoples, sovereignty over their resources and capabilities, and liberation from all forms of oppression; and to those who seek true peace with justice.

On this International Women’s Day, the rights of women around the world are violated in numerous ways: through wars and armed conflicts, through the power and oppression of racism; through reactionary forces in many regions, including in the Arab world, where such forces carry the support of imperialism to benefit its clear colonial objectives for control of peoples and their resources. Imperialism in our region has resulted in an increasing number of victims of its policies and ever more risk to the lives of people, especially women and children.

In Palestine, which is still under the yoke of Zionist settler colonialism, the Zionist movement seeks to proclaim its “democracy” and “progressiveness,” but in reality is committed to a mission of racism, murder, destruction and criminality. Palestinian women are struggling for the freedom of their people, and their message is one of insistence on freedom and refusal to compromise our rights, whether national or social, and thus continue their legitimate struggle for the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, the right of return of Palestinian refugees, the right of self-determination, of full sovereignty, and the right to Jerusalem as capital of an independent Palestinian state. At the same time, Palestinian women struggle for full equality in all economic and social fields, ending all forms of discrimination against them in the legal and social fields and the development of laws in line with international conventions upholding the rights of women.

March 8, 2015 comes not long after months of barbaric aggression launched by “Israel” in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 2260 martyrs including many women and children, destroying tens of thousands of homes and displacing hundreds of thousands. Nearly 100,000 are still living without proper shelter, while the siege on Gaza has tightened, leading to further aggravation of the health, social and economic conditions of our people. In the West Bank, the occupation practices its strategy for control over all of Palestine through the brutal repression of our people, through ongoing land confiscation, home demolitions, military invasions, the targeting of our people for arrest, killing and wounding. The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has increased to 6500, including 22 women and about 200 children, suffering from harsh conditions of detention and many abuses committed against prisoners, especially as Israel refuses to recognize them as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. Simultaneously, the project to Judaize Jerusalem continues, as do the racist assaults on our people in the occupied lands of 1948 and the intensification of discrimination and oppression, and the apartheid wall continues to be built, intensifying racism and apartheid in Palestine.

In Diaspora, more than half of the Palestinian people are suffering as refugees, especially those displaced from the camps in Syria and especially the besieged Yarmouk camp. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are facing extremely difficult conditions that have only become more severe after tens of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians fleeing Syria have come to the overcrowded camps in Lebanon.

All of the above only confirms that the Palestinian people are confronting a criminal strategy of colonialism and demand that the world act to stop these crimes, applying international law and holding the Zionist state and its war criminals accountable for their crimes against the Palestinian people.

The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees salutes March 8 this year and emphasizes the following:

The continuation of the struggle of Palestinian women for freedom and self-determination until we achieve our national rights;
The need to confront all crimes and violations by the occupation forces against Palestinian women;
The escalation of the boycott of Israel, divestment, and sanctions;
The struggle for unity with a real national strategy to confront the occupation and support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people;
The urgency of lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip and of reconstruction;
The necessity to release Palestinian prisoners and force Israel to apply international conventions to their treatment, in particular the Geneva Conventions;
The importance of developing the Palestinian social and economic structures to protect the rights of women and children and defend the equality of women, in line with international conventions signed by Palestinian officials, and to end all forms of discrimination against women;
The need to confront the reactionary forces that practice terror against the people, especially women, through the use of religion, and the promotion of the progressive, democratic political trend.