Israel/Palestine

The posters put up Tuesday in Mea She'arim, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox ) neighborhood of Jerusalem, answered some questions about what to expect during the week-long Sukkot holiday, and especially the mid-holiday Simhat Beit Hasho'eva celebrations. On one hand, contrary to rumors, women will not be forcibly prevented from entering the neighborhood. On the other, women are definitely not invited. But that is not a good enough reason for a group of non-Haredi women to cancel a planned march through the neighborhood Friday morning to protest discrimination against women. On the contrary: They are threatening to petition the High Court of Justice against the police for having given them a permit to demonstrate only outside the neighborhood rather than in Shabbat Square, as they had wanted.

The day starts early, at a petrol station alongside a roaring Jerusalem road. The mood among the 15 Israeli women is a little tense, but it's hardly surprising – they're about to break the law and with it one of the country's taboos. They plan to drive into the occupied West Bank, pick up Palestinian women and children and take them on a day trip to Tel Aviv.Today's is the second such trip – another group of women went public with a similar action last month. It is hoped that these will become regular outings, designed to create awareness of the laws that govern movement for Palestinians, and to challenge the fears that Israelis have about travelling into the West Bank.

During the visit by leaders of the Palestinian community to Libya a few months ago, MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad ) stood out in particular - the only woman in the "Arabs of 1948" delegation invited to visit Muammar Gadhafi. When we met with Gadhafi in his tent in the town of Sert, this remarkable woman showed courage that is rare in these parts. The leader preached to us and advised us to practice one of the tenets of Islam - marry four women and bring many children into the world to fight the Israelis. Zuabi, who is known for her struggle for the rights of Palestinian women in Israel, did not hesitate and pointed out to Gadhafi that his philosophy was not acceptable to her because it oppresses women. The tent went silent. It's not customary to interrupt the leader, we had been told in the briefing before the meeting. Gadhafi listened and simply went on with his speech.

WE DO NOT OBEY: More women follow Ilana Hammerman`s footsteps: we shall not obey illegal and immoral laws. On Friday, July 23, we went on a trip - a dozen Jewish-Israeli women with a dozen West-Bank Palestinian women and four of their children, one of them a baby. We drove through the interior hill country (`Shfela`) and toured Tel Aviv and Yaffa together. We ate at a restaurant, bathed in the sea and had a great time on the beach. We returned via Jerusalem and watched its Old City from afar. 

The most widely mentioned text in Israel over the last few weeks has been the famous quotation by Pastor Martin Niemöller from 1946, which begins: "First they came for the Communists". Cited by journalists, politicians and academics, or by commenting readers on websites (known in Hebrew as "the talkbackists"), the quotation serves to communicate one idea: the increasing persecution of Palestinian citizens has led to verbal threats against Jewish radical left activists, and is now directed at proposed laws against Zionist-left activists, university professors, journalists, artists and others. The warning from the quotation is clear: "Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."

Nick Kristof observes ethnic cleansing and collective punishment first-hand: On one side of a barbed-wire fence here in the southern Hebron hills is the Bedouin village of Umm al-Kheir, where Palestinians live in ramshackle tents and huts. They aren’t allowed to connect to the electrical grid, and Israel won’t permit them to build homes, barns for their animals or even toilets. When the villagers build permanent structures, the Israeli authorities come and demolish them, according to villagers and Israeli human rights organizations.

The year 2009 has highlighted the recurring situations confronting defenders in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. These situations are closely linked to the nature of their activities but they are also related to broad political trends at the national and international levels. It is in this context that the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF) increased its responsibilities and provided assistance to 36 defenders in 2009.

La Fondation euro-méditerranéenne de soutien aux défenseurs des droits de l’Homme (FEMDH) qui a pour objectif de soutenir les défenseurs dans les pays du sud de la méditerranée publie aujourd’hui son rapport annuel 2009. Le rapport met l’accent sur les actions entreprises par la FEMDH au cours de l’année 2009.

Adoptée par le Parlement européen ce jeudi 17 juin à une très large majorité (470 votes pour, 56 votes contre et 56 abstentions)

قامت اصوات – نساء فلسطينيّات مثليّات باصدار كتابها الثالث "وقفة بنات: سرد شخصي". اليوم وللمرة الثالثة، تتخذ النساء العربيات قرار عدم التزام الصمت بعد؛ تختار الحديث عن أكثر الأوقات والأمور حميمية وتحديًا لهنّ، يتحدثن عن مسيرات خروجهن إلى العائلة، إلى المجتمع وعلى الأخصّ إلى أنفسهنّ. جائت فكرة كتابة هذه القصص من حاجتنا إلى الكلام والمشاركة وتوثيق تجارب حياتنا كجزء من مسيرة التمكين الذاتي لأنفسنا كأفراد وكمجموعة. قصصنا هذه لا تعرض فقط من منظور ديني، سياسي ، أبوي واجتماعي، بل أيضًا من منظور التجربة الشخصية الداخلية والصراع مع هويّتنا الجندرية وتوجّهنا الجنسي. ليس "وقفة بنات" مجرّد توثيق لنضالنا ولنضال الفئات المهمّشة في المجتمع الأبوي المغاير . بل هو معدّ، أيضًا، لفتح نافذة من الأمل لأولئك الذين يتساءلون حول جنسانيّتهم وميولهم الجنسية وهويّتهم الجندرية. ورسالة لمَن يظنون أنهم وحدهم أو غير طبيعيين في عالم يدين كل ما هو خارج حدود خطّها المجتمع الحديث والديانات التوحيدية الثلاث وتوقّعات الآباء لإتباع المعايير الاجتماعية المقبولة. 

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