Palestinian feminist Asma Al-Ghoul arrived to our meeting at a Gaza coffee shop sporting blue jeans and a T-shirt—in stark contrast to the Islamic headscarves and tent-like dresses worn by the vast majority of Gazan women. It's not just clothing that sets this 28-year-old secularist apart. She once publicly chastised a senior Hamas military leader—her uncle—who threatened to kill her, and she continues to publish gutsy articles, read banned books, and defy discriminatory policies. "Gaza needs all the liberal, secular people to stay here," she insisted, when I asked why she had declined opportunities to live abroad.
The Special Rapporteur Richard Falk urged the United Nations and the international community to draft a new protocol of international humanitarian law to address the situation of prolonged occupation and refugee status imposed upon the Palestinian people for over 43 years of Israeli occupation.
We have just visited the Gaza Strip where we met many courageous people trying to live relatively normal lives despite the crippling effects of the illegal Israeli blockade. The blockade was imposed to punish the Hamas-led government, but it is women and children who are paying the highest price. In our conversations with a range of women, we learned that despite the apparent "easing" of restrictions by Israel and Egypt, important socio-economic indicators such as poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and family violence are getting worse. Women in this conservative society find their domestic responsibilities made all the more difficult and time-consuming by the blockade -- and they bear the brunt of society's frustration and anger in such trying times.
The Palestinian Volleyball Union organized its first Women's Championships in 2010, won by a team from Bethlehem's Ibda center in the Duheisheh refugee camp. The team beat the Beit Sahour Orthodox Club three to one in the finals, hosted by the Catholic Action Center in Bethlehem on 12 November 2010.
طالبت كاتبة فلسطينية دول الإتحاد الإوروبي والولايات المتحدة واليابان بالضغط على السلطة الفلسطينية من أجل إطلاق سراح المدون وليد الحسيني المتهم بالالحاد. ودافعت زينب رشيد عن حق الحسيني في التعبير عن آرائه واستغربت قيام سلطة علمانية بالقبض عليه واعتبرت ذلك مناقض للدستور ولبيان الاستقلال.
In Gaza, an unspoken rule bans women from riding bicycles after they have hit puberty. But last Saturday, one young Palestinian woman decided to defy the taboo, sparking smiles - and a few threats - from fellow Gaza residents. In a spur of the moment decision, 28-year-old Palestinian journalist Asmaa Alghoul decided to join three of her friends, two Italian human rights workers and an American, on a tour of Gaza by bicycle. On a warm summer's day, the two men and two women set off from the Egyptian border town of Rafah and headed north to Gaza city, along 30km of coastal road. But to Asmaa, the ride was more than a sunny day trip: women on bicycles are frowned upon in most Muslim societies, and the young woman had not ridden a bike since she was 14 years old.
Last night, 25 armed, masked men set fire to a U.N. summer camp at a beach in Nuseirat, Gaza, destroying inflatable pools and tents and roughing up a group of guards protecting the facility. It was the second attack on a U.N. recreation facility in just over a month. On May 23, a group of 30 masked, armed men set fire to another U.N. summer camp facility under construction in Gaza City. They also threatened to kill the U.N.'s top relief official in Gaza.
The slim owner of Gaza City's Gallery cafe has sharp eyes and a sharp tongue. It's easy to imagine him conversing with artists and actors -- he is also a theater director -- far into the night. But he crossed a line. He allowed female patrons at his cafe to smoke hookah pipes and to talk with men. He ignored demands by plainclothes police to rein in "immoral" behavior. In early May, police interrogated and accused him of having extramarital affairs. To persuade him to confess, they beat him with a 2-inch-thick, leather-covered bamboo rod for 50 minutes, and later forced him to stand on one leg for two hours.
Weeks after an UNRWA recreation center in Gaza was set alight by masked gunmen, the Sharek Youth Forum said it has suspended work in the coastal enclave, after its offices were raided several times by armed groups. A statement issued Wednesday said the youth group's equipment had been confiscated and its staff harassed. " Gazan youth are being prevented from expressing their views by unchecked armed groups.