On International Women’s Day…the bloodiest year for Palestinian women | Mirror

Ramallah- This year was the bloodiest year for Palestinian women in the history of the years of occupation, in light of the comprehensive aggression and ongoing genocide against the population of the Gaza Strip, in addition to the war crimes and grave violations to which they were exposed, most notably field executions, systematic arrests, and the accompanying assaults. Horrific violations, including sexual assaults.

On the occasion of Women’s Day, which falls on March 8 of each year, prisoner organizations (the Commission for Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, and Al-Dameer Foundation for Prisoner Care and Human Rights) said – in a report – that the history of targeting Palestinian women constituted one of the most prominent consistent and systematic policies since The first years of occupation, especially with the unprecedented escalation in the level and intensity of crimes witnessed by Palestinian women since October 7.

Arrests and enforced disappearances

The arrests of women, including minors, constituted the most prominent policy pursued by the occupation in an unprecedented manner after October 7, as the number of arrests among women reached about 240. This figure includes those who were subjected to arrest in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, as well as women from the territories occupied in 1948. While there is no clear estimate of the number of women arrested from Gaza, as a number of them were later released, it is certain that there are women still detained in the occupation camps, and are subject to enforced disappearance.

These institutions indicated that, as of the issuance of this report, the number of female prisoners languishing in occupation prisons, the majority of whom are detained in Damoun Prison, reached 60, including two from Gaza. Among the female prisoners are two minors, 24 mothers, and 12 administrative detainees. Among the female prisoners are a lawyer and a journalist, 12 are female students, and 11 are facing diseases and health problems, including two wounded, in addition to those who are wives of prisoners, mothers of prisoners, and sisters of martyrs, in addition to the presence of a mother of a martyr among the female prisoners. .

It is noteworthy that there remain 3 female prisoners detained since before October 7, and the occupation refuses to include them in the exchange deals concluded with the Palestinian resistance last November.

The detention of female prisoners hostage was accompanied by abuse and threats that amounted to threats to kill the targeted son or husband, in addition to the assaults they were subjected to during the arrest process, in addition to the sabotage operations that affected their homes, the intimidation of their children and sons, and the confiscation of their money and gold jewelry.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07: A protestor chants while holding a placard in reference to women's rights in Gaza marches during an International Women's day protest rally on March 07, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia.  International Women's Day is a global occasion dedicated to recognizing and honoring the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.  The day also serves as a call to action for accelerating gender parity and addressing ongoing challenges such as gender-based violence, lack of access to education, and economic inequality.  (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)
Holding female prisoners hostage was accompanied by abuse and threats that reached the point of threatening to kill a member of their family (Getty Images)

Sexual attacks against Palestinian women

According to reports, one of the most prominent crimes carried out by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian women was sexual assault, which included harassment, strip searches, in addition to the threat of rape. The United Nations had announced in an official statement that there were reliable reports of female detainees from Gaza being subjected to rape.

The aforementioned institutions were able to collect testimonies of female prisoners who were released specifically during the release batches that took place last November, testimonies of female prisoners inside prisons, and women whose relatives faced arrest and prosecution, in which they confirmed that they had been subjected to a number of sexual assaults.

Hasharon Prison formed a temporary station for detaining female prisoners, before they were transferred to Damon Prison, bearing witness to the strip searches to which the majority of female prisoners were subjected, according to dozens of testimonies documented by institutions, in addition to the humiliating and degrading conditions of detention to which they were exposed, and the attacks, including severe beatings.

In a testimony documented by these institutions of one of the female prisoners who was arrested after the seventh of October, she confirmed that during the process of arrest and investigation she was subjected to assaults and sexual and verbal harassment. She was insulted using obscene terms and threatened more than once. The soldiers used to throw cigarette butts and leftover food at her to humiliate her. She was also subjected to… The prisoner was beaten more than once by the occupation soldiers, which caused her pain throughout her body, and no treatment was provided to her.

Among the testimonies that were documented was the testimony of one of the female prisoners, in which she said, “I and other female prisoners arrived at Hasharon prison. They put us into a cell with a floor full of water, and in which there was an unusable bathroom. Then we were transferred to another cell, where we were subjected to a strip search by female guards. The female guards beat me in the face, after I was severely beaten during my arrest.”

In another testimony, “three female guards were present who treated me brutally and in a very humiliating manner. They insulted me with the worst words all the time without stopping. They forced me to walk with my limbs tied and a blindfold over my eyes. And all the time during my transfer, the female guard was saying: This is not your country, leave it.”

People carry banners and flags during a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza, under the slogan 'No feminist struggle without Gaza', marking International Women's Day in front of UN Women office in Sin El Fil, Lebanon March 8, 2024. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
After the release of female prisoners from Gaza, they gave harsh testimonies about their arrests (Reuters)

Harsh testimonies detailing their arrest

With the release of dozens of female prisoners from Gaza, they gave harsh testimonies about their arrests, their transfer to the camps, the humiliation, abuse, deprivation of all their rights, the threat of rape, and their forcing them to remove their hijab throughout the period of detention, in addition to being stripped naked.

Today, female prisoners are suffering from the starvation policy practiced by the prison administration after October 7, by depriving prisoners of additional food supplies from the canteen, in addition to being deprived of treatment, which falls within the framework of medical crimes. The state of overcrowding imposed by the prison administration has also caused Its burden on the female prisoners, which led to many tragic detention conditions inside Damoun Prison, forcing many of the female prisoners to sleep on the floor, in addition to the severe shortage of clothes and blankets, which became more severe in light of the harsh cold wave. Some of the female prisoners remained in their clothes, which She was arrested in it, and could not replace it.

Female prisoners also suffered from the prison administration deliberately providing them with undrinkable and dirty water.

Facing charges of incitement

Palestinian women, like all segments of Palestinian society, were targeted by administrative detention operations that escalated in a manner unprecedented in history, as the number of administrative detainees as of the end of February reached 3,558, including 12 female prisoners in administrative detention, including a journalist, a lawyer, and female university students.

In addition, the rest of the female prisoners, the majority of them, were charged with incitement on social media sites, which after October 7 constituted the most prominent pretext used by the occupation to arrest Palestinians in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, as well as from the territories occupied in 1948.

It is noteworthy that one of the most prominent milestones that made a difference in the history of the issue of female prisoners was the exchange deal that took place in November, when 71 female prisoners were released at that time, a number of whom were serving sentences for years reaching 16 years, and they were among 240 who were liberated during 7 stages included in the deal. The exchange that took place at that time.

It is worth noting that the occupation re-arrested two female prisoners who were released as part of the deal, while it summoned two female Jerusalemite female prisoners to civil courts, claiming that there were files against them while they were in captivity.

According to human rights reports, the Israeli occupation continues to violate the rights of Palestinian female prisoners in detention and interrogation centers and prisons, in hospitals, medical clinics, barriers and checkpoints, and these violations affect all categories of Palestinian women, including teachers, students, mothers and children.

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