Palestinian National Women’s Day 2023
Palestinian women endure the effects of the settler-colonial Israeli occupation, which is a violation of both international law, including international humanitarian law, and international human rights law. Since January 2023, the systematic ethnic cleansing and apartheid mechanisms such as; extrajudicial killings and executions, arbitrary arrests, including unlawful administrative detention, as well as torture and cruel treatment of Palestinians have escalated dramatically affecting all segments of the Palestinian society, including women and girls.
Furthermore, the establishment of illegal settlements and its associated regime, including enforced military roadblocks, checkpoints, pillage of natural resources, land confiscation, property destruction, and ongoing crimes committed with impunity by Israel, the occupying power, and its terrorist settler militias increased. Additionally, the prolonged illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the denial of access to basic human rights needs, such as health, education, employment, movement made the lives of Palestinians, including women and girls, unbearable. The recent Israeli large-scale aggression on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip severely impacted the already-excruciating life conditions of women and girls.
October 2023: Israeli violence against Palestinian women and girls
• Since 7 October, the Israeli large-scale aggression on the Gaza Strip resulted in the killing of over 5,300 Palestinians, including more than 2,000 children and more than 1,119 women. According to the Ministry of Health, 62% of Palestinians killed are women and children. Moreover, more than 15,000 have been injured.
• On the evening of 17 October 2023, the Israeli occupation forces deliberately targeted Al-Ahli Baptist hospital in the middle of the Gaza Strip after several unjustified and unlawful evacuation orders. More than 471 Palestinian civilians, most of whom were children, were bombed into pieces. Hundreds of injuries were reported. This has been regarded by OCHA as the deadliest Israeli attack on Palestinian civilians.
• At least 43% of all housing units in the Gaza Strip have been either destroyed or damaged since the start of the aggression .
• More Health issues are rising in the Gaza Strip due to the consumption of saline water with over 3,000 milligrams per liter of salt content from agricultural wells. Reflecting an immediate health risk, raising hypertension levels, especially in babies under six months, pregnant women and people with kidney disease.
• The collective punishment of cutting-off electricity by the Israeli occupation on the Gaza Strip, combined with the ban on the import of fuel to run backup generators, enters its 20th consecutive day, with devastating consequences on the access to health care and drinking water.
• According to UNFPA, 50,000 women are currently pregnant in the Gaza Strip, and 5,500 are expected to deliver in the next month. These women face extreme challenges amid the siege, lacking access to safe delivery services.
• According to OCHA, the number of displaced Palestinians due to the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip has been recorded to be more than 1.4 million Palestinians, including 500,000 Palestinian women and girls. Displaced Palestinians, including women and girls, are facing detrimental conditions with the continuous Israeli airstrikes, in addition to the lack of water, food and electricity.
• The large-scale aggression on the Gaza Strip has tragically resulted in a growing number of Palestinian widows, as an estimated 900 women have become the heads of households following their male partners’ deaths.
• Israeli airstrikes targeted Palestinian schools, including UNRWA designated emergency schools, where displaced Palestinians, including women and girls sought shelter. The number of displaced Palestinians exceeded the capacity of UNRWA schools with up to 70 people accommodated in one classroom.
• According to the Ministry of Health, since 7 October, 104 Palestinians, including 27 children, were killed by the Israeli occupation forces and settlers in the West bank, including East Jerusalem. More than 1,700 injured Palestinians, including at least 160 children, were also reported.
• According to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, since 7 October, the Israeli occupation forces detained more than 1,215 civilian Palestinians, including children, journalists, and women.
- According to OCHA, at least 84 Palestinian households, comprising 545 people, over half of whom are children, have been displaced from 13 herding/Bedouin communities in the West Bank since 7 October, due to the escalation of settler violence in the occupied West Bank.
Since January 2023: Israeli violence against Palestinian women and girls
• Since the beginning of 2023, two women and one girl were unlawfully killed by Israeli occupation forces, one of them during an Israeli military invasion on Jenin refugee camp. In addition to using Palestinian girls and children as human shields by Israeli occupation forces during the constant Israeli military invasions.
• Until October 2023, 50 Palestinian women suffer in Israeli detention centers under no legal basis, suffering from ill- treatment, torture and inhumane abuse, according to the Commission of Detainees and EX-Detainees Affairs.
• By the end of 2022, Israel, the occupying power, demolished more than 952 Palestinian structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which resulted in the displacement of more than 1030 Palestinians, including women and girls, disrupting their access to livelihoods and services.
• In addition, from January until March of 2023, more than 235 Palestinian structures were demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, by Israeli occupation forces, resulting in the displacement of more than 315 Palestinians. While in May the Israeli occupation demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish 43 structures, including 11 homes, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
• Palestinian women and girls also suffer from settlers’ terrorism, including constant attacks on civilians, their homes, properties and farms. On February 2023, at least 400 Israeli settlers attacked several Palestinian villages in Nablus, including Huwwara, killing one Palestinian and injuring hundreds of others. Settlers burned down more than 30 homes and at least 100 cars. This terrorist attack resulted in the displacement of several families, including women and children.
• In June 2023, Israeli settlers attacked the village of Turmus Ayya and the village of Um Safa and set fire to dozens of Palestinian cars and homes, displacing entire families, including women and children.
• OCHA has recorded over 113 settler attacks against Palestinians civilians from 7 October to 22 October 2023. These attacks resulted in casualties or property damage, including incidents where Israeli forces were involved in such attacks.
• Settler attacks amounts to an average of 7 attacks per day, more than double of the daily average attacks since the beginning of 2023.
• Israel, the occupying power, must immediately end its large-scale aggression on the Gaza Strip, its massacres against civilians, most of whom are women and children, lift the blockade and punitive siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and allow access of food, water, fuel, electricity and health services without conditions.
• The international community has a responsibility to end the illegal and abhorrent policies and practices carried out by the Israeli occupation. Thus, Israel, the occupying power, should immediately end all practices of collective punishment, ethnic cleansing and forcible transfer and displacement of Palestinians.
• The international community must fulfill its responsibility in relation to the protection of women and girls in times of war, and must take collective and individual practical measures to protect the rights of Palestinian women and girls, and stop the Israeli large-scale aggression on the Gaza Strip and the massacres of civilians.
• Israel, the occupying power, should be held accountable for committing systematic violations and crimes against Palestinian women and girls, which amount to persecution and crimes against humanity, aiming at bringing an end to its illegal settler-colonial occupation and apartheid regime.