WOMEN FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN ISRAEL REPORT
Some 400 Israeli, Palestinian and international women gathered in the West Bank village of Beit Omar, under the slogan of “Women for Civil Disobedience as part of the Non-violent Popular Resistance to the Israeli Occupation”. It was the 2nd Conference marking the International Women’s Day.
The conference was organized by the “Lo Metsaytot” (“Women who will not obey”) Group, initiated by author and translator Ilana Hamemerman and the women committee of the Center for Freedom and Justice: center4freedom.org/ and with the cooperation and coordination with the Beit Omar Popular Resistance Committee and the Palestinian Solidarity Project http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/
Ebtesam Zidan, Chairwoman of the Palestinian Union of Women’s Struggle Committee, opened the session with a strongly-worded condemnation to the Israeli occupation brutal murder of 16 Palestinian innocent citizens in Gaza Strip. Ebtisam saluted the legendary steadfastness of Hana Shalabi who has been on hunger strike for the last 24 days in a protest against the Israeli occupation apartheid administrative detention laws. She also highlighted the Palestinian women’s resistance, side to side with Palestinian men, to the Israeli occupation, and spoke about the women’s achievements in the Palestinian society and system.
Khawla Abu Marir is the only Palestinian woman coordinating a popular resistance committee – the popular committee against the Israeli illegal settlement and apartheid wall of South Hebron Hills (Yatta). Khawla called for the escalation and expansion of peaceful popular resistance to include all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. She valued the participation and solidarity of the International and Israeli peace activists who join the Palestinian protests throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip and called for more solidarity activities with the Palestinians’ just cause not only in Palestine but all over the world. She spoke briefly about the Israeli colonial attacks and activities in South Hebron Hills, and the enormous colonial expansion inside the Palestinians’ land in that area. There have been other Israeli attacks such as demolitions, and lately the assassination of the 17 years old citizen Zakariya Abu Eram, who was killed two days ago in cold blood by the Israeli occupation forces. She added, To Whom It May Concern, Area “C” should be marginalized no more, all official and civil society organizations should pay more attention to women and to have more development plans and projects for this area to support people’s steadfastness.
While the fifteen years old Rand Waleed Abdul Razzak from Silwan in East Jerusalem emphasized the children’s role in the Palestinian struggle against house seizure, demolitions, children’s arrests and ethnic cleansing carried out by the Israeli occupation authorities and settlers in East Jerusalem. She pointed out the necessity of providing protection for children according to the international Children’s Rights treaties.
The Israeli speakers presented their perspectives of the Israeli occupation oppression system. Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanani presented the findings of the International (Russell) Tribunal of 2011 in Cape Town according to which Israel has “established an institutionalized regime of domination, amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. Israel is discriminating against and eliminating an entire nation on racial grounds in a systematic and institutionalized way, and therefore all collaboration with Israel should cease”.
Peled Elhanani, whose is an expert in Education, further added that “Israeli children have been learning for generations that their neighbors – whether they are Palestinian citizens of Israel or subjects of the State of Israel stripped of human rights – are nothing but a terrifying demographic problem and a security threat. Those very children have meanwhile grown up, their senses of truth, justice and human brotherhood have been dulled by racist education and they have been brought up to become politicians and generals who now declare openly and with the arrogance of all-powerful masters what was once concealed by hypocrisy: that the other face of the Judaization project is the elimination of the Palestinian people, fully and unreservedly supported by the United States and rich countries in Europe”.
Ilana Hamerman told the participants:”in the midst of “an ugly reality we have created a spot of clear and exquisite reality, a unique spot of women’s political opposition, humane and moral, against an evil Israeli military rule over millions of Palestinians. This opposition voice is heard in Israel, in Palestine and throughout the world. This is a feminine voice of courage, friendship and joy of life. This voice carries a message that has no parallel in this torn, bleeding and cruel land”.
She added: “We Israeli and Palestinian women refuse to be enemies. Our actions symbolize civil disobedience to evil, illegitimate and dangerous laws. We are enhancing our feminine power, the power to be free, to form friendships. We say NO to death and YES to life together. We shall pursue this path; we shall break through checkpoints and barriers within us and without. We are not afraid and we shall not give in.”
Louisa Morgenatti, former member of the European Parliament from Italy, who attended the conference, concluded the meeting by thanking the Palestinian and Israeli women “whose activity has rekindled our hope”.
Singer Rona Kenan performed pro-bono as an expression of her full identification with the message of the Conference and was received with enthusiast applause. The local Beit Omar girls’ Debbka Dance group swept all present into a whirlwind of dancing.
The conference was provided with a Hebrew-Arabic-English simultaneous translation service that facilitated the free flow of communication between the women. Regrettably, Knesset member Hanin Zuabi who was scheduled as one of the speakers had to cancel at the last moment owing to a demonstration planned by Israeli right-wingers in front of her Nazareth home.
The conference accomplished its goals on developing and expanding popular resistance efforts, the empowerment of women by officials and NGOs, and increasing female participation in political decision making within Palestinian society. Additionally, conference participants spent time discussing allocating more time and resources to organizing micro economic self-sufficiency projects in communities in order to achieve an independent source of income for women. Lastly, the conference was effective in increasing further cooperation and coordination between Palestinian and Israeli women activists in their efforts to bring about freedom and justice for all people who live in the area.
The conference organizers extend their appreciation to all those who put their time and resources into ensuing that the event was a success. The following incomplete list are individuals who need to be thanked for efforts and support – Ebtisam Zidan, Khawla Abu Mrir, Nurit Alhanan, Le’a Zsemel, Rand Abdul Raziq, Nitza Aminof, Dr. Carmel Shalev, and all of the moderators including Iman Abu Mariya, Ofra.
AFGHAN WOMEN’S FREEDOM FROM THE CLUTCH OF FUNDAMENTALISM, OCCUPATION AND PATRIARCHY IS ONLY POSSIBLE WITH THEIR OWN STRUGGLE
Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan’s statement on the International Women’s Day
Afghanistan’s women spent another year under the burden of occupiers, dominance of a Jehadi-Mafia government and terror of the Taliban, the result of which was an increase in poverty, homelessness, immigration, loss of dear ones, domestic violence, rape, self-immolation, a high maternal and infant mortality rate and thousand other miseries.
According to figures from the UN, almost 5000 cases of violence against women were recorded last year, though the actual figure is several times higher than this. The last ten years of US and NATO occupied Afghanistan has been a burning hell for women and young girls who have been raped or gang-raped. According to a report of the European Union there are tens of women in jails who are rape victims but are imprisoned for being a “criminal”; rapists are high-ranked government officials or people related to them and Afghanistan’s corrupt judiciary made up of a number of stone-aged clerics can’t deal with or prosecute them. According to the State of the World’s Mothers 2011 report fifty mothers die every day in Afghanistan while giving birth, something that doesn’t hold the slightest importance in the eyes of the treacherous Afghan government officials, minister and ministry of women’s affairs, decoration pieces in the parliament, NGOs and finally the US and west, that occupied Afghanistan under the pretext of women’s rights.
US and its allies occupied Afghanistan ten years back under the excuse of uprooting terrorism, Al-Qaeda and Taliban. According to data collected by Professor Marc Herold, US took its revenge on Afghan civilians by bombarding and killing about the same number of civilians killed in the September 11th attacks in New York in just the first few months of Afghanistan’s occupation. Most of our people wanted the obliteration of the barbarous and criminal Talib regime but not at the cost of losing their independence. RAWA, just a few days after the start of the US attacks, said in a statement, “The actual issue our people face is the eradication of the plague of Taliban and Al Qaeda -though they (our people) didn’t have any part in its cultivation and germination- and the establishment of a government based on democratic values… Our compatriots, therefore, must rise up for a thorough demolition of Taliban and their Osamas…” RAWA’s demand along with the people of Afghanistan’s was that the Taliban dominance be abloshed by the uprisings and struggles of the people of Afghanistan and not by invasion of foreign aggressors.
The US government and NATO who were looking to invade and stay in Afghanistan for their own military, economic and strategic aims, misused the troubles and miseries of our women and have been busy playing a cat and mouse game with the Taliban for the past ten years. After shedding the blood of thousands of innocent women and children, young and old, they have now started another treacherous game of “peace and negotiations” with the Taliban. First they divided the sanguinary Taliban into “moderate“ and “extremist” and have now gone so far that Joe Biden, the vice president of US, announced that “Taliban are not our enemies”! This is true, the Taliban were a project of the US that was run by ISI, they can never be their enemies, they are the deadly enemies of our people, freedom, women, democracy and justice.
The first victims of a deal with the bloodthirsty Taliban will be the women of our country. By endorsing medieval laws for women, Karzai’s mafia-puppet regime wants to pave the way for association with the Taliban, these lackeys of Pakistan. The most recent example of these inhumane laws is the statement of a stooge government body called the Ulema Council of Afghanistan, which is a copy of the laws of the Taliban era of ignorance and terror. Karzai also shamelessly backed the statement.
The US aggressors proved RAWA’s perpetual claim that this country is always at war with the Afghan people and at peace with criminals. The US’s dark and blood-stained history shows that they have always collaborated with the most treacherous regimes, elements and bodies and conspired for the annihilation of governments and movements of the people. The US doesn’t care about the kind of government that takes power in Afghanistan, what only matters is that the regime should be made up of traitors who they reign, which doesn’t oppose their permanent military bases, allows them to use this land for threatening and controlling Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and India; allows Afghanistan to become a place where the US and other imperialists use it to suppress every kind of revolutionary movements of the people in the region, and in general a government that protects the interests of the US and its allies. Now it’s of least importance to the US and NATO if that government is headed by a Talib or a Northern Alliance criminal, or some other criminal which oppresses the Afghan people.
Like every puppet ruler, Karzai uses all his power and abilities to serve the aims and policies of his foreign masters, especially the US, so he looks more useful to them and his corrupt regime can stay in power longer. The Traditional Jirga, which was a gathering of spies and traitors who do not have a speck of honour or patriotism, for agreeing to and legalizing the long-term presence of the US and its bases, was another effort in the same matter.
The limitless and boundless costs of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the deep economic crisis in the capitalist societies and the huge anti-war, anti-capitalist system movements of the people in the western countries, has forced the US and other imperialists to deceive their people and reduce their military forces in some places and attack other nations instead and allow their plunder. The most recent example we saw was Libya, where the country was destructed and a fundamentalist regime of the kind of the savage Taliban was implemented upon its poor people.
Although the US and NATO talk about the exit of their forces in 2014, this is just a reduction and not a complete withdrawal. The US, now busy signing the agreement of building their permanent bases with their Afghan stooges, will in no way leave Afghanistan due to its important strategic position in Asia, unless they are driven away humiliatingly by our nation like the English and Russians.
After ten years of killing and destruction, the US and NATO leave a government to our people which is occupied by Northern Alliance, Taliban and Gulbuddini criminals and spies of foreign countries at every level; a country that is second in corruption in the world; a country that is the biggest producer of drugs in the world with two million addicts despite the influx of millions of dollars; a country that has half a million internally displaced persons and largest number of refugees in the world; a country whose 7 million out of 27 million people suffer from hunger; a country whose most important posts are occupied by the most infamous and traitorous people like Fahim, Khalili, Atta, Farooq Wardak, Rahim Wardak, Ismail Khan, Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi, Spanta, Karim Khuram, Hadi Arghandiwal, Dostum and countless other murderers and plunderers.
Despite all the treacheries of the US and west, a handful of stooge intellectuals and so-called analysts without a conscience, tirelessly propagate for the permanent presence of the US through the government media every day, as if the fortune and prosperity of our country is tied to this military agreement, as if peace, stability and comfort of our people and women is only attainable if the US permanent bases exist. These intellectuals who have sold their souls and are blinded by the dollars the US pays them, cannot or do not want to see the extensive damage and crimes the US and its Afghan accomplices have committed. Maybe they will come to at a time when their own loved ones are killed by the ruthless NATO and US soldiers and then urinated upon or their fingers are cut and kept as trophies. They try to act stupid and ignore this important historical lesson that no nation can prosper by linking itself to an alien nation, and that like the US which has a history marked by the blood of countless, unless its people unite and make sacrifices for gaining grand values like democracy and their rights.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the International Women’s Day announces to all the women in Afghanistan that our freedom from the grasp of foreign occupiers, Northern Alliance mafia, vicious Taliban and other anti-women elements, is only achievable by our unity and struggle. It is impossible that domestic violence, rape, beating and self-immolation among women be ended by seminars or some discussions of the NGOs. It is only attainable by the organization of women of all ethnic backgrounds and tribes into an anti-fundamentalist movement against the occupation.