8 March: Palestinian women in Israeli jails

Since Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 1967, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian women have been arrested or detained under Israeli military orders.

The majority of Palestinian women prisoners are subjected to mental pressure and torture through the process of their arrest. Beatings, insults, threats, sexual harassment and humiliation are all used by Israeli interrogators to intimidate women and force confessions. Harsh imprisonment conditions, such as the lack of fresh air, sunlight, cold damp cells in the winter and overheated cells in the summer, insects, dirt and overcrowding, combined with stress, poor diet and isolation from families all negatively impact on women’s health.

Pregnant prisoners transferred to the hospital to give birth are typically chained to their beds until they enter delivery rooms, and shackled once again minutes after delivery.

In the last 45 years, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained under Israeli military orders – around 20 per cent of the entire Palestinian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Shireen Issawi

“They think they can taunt our nerves, but we are strong and we will win, and Samer will receive his freedom.”

Shireen, her four brothers, and her sister, have all been held in Israeli detention at some time or another. Her brother Samer has currently been on hunger strike for over 200 days in protest at his incarceration, and Shireen was arrested in December 2012 whilst trying to attend his court hearing. Another of her brothers, Medhat, is also currently imprisoned – he was arrested in May 2012 whilst participating in a peaceful march against the political imprisonment of Palestinians. In 1994 her brother, 16-year old Fadi, was killed by live Israeli gunfire at a protest in Issawiya.

Hana Shalabi

Under Administrative Detention, Palestinians can be held indefinitely without charge or trial. Hana Shalabi was released from over two years in administrative detention on 18 October 2011, as part of a prisoner exchange deal. Hana was re-arrested less than four months later on 16 February 2012. She endured a 43-day hunger strike in protest at being imprisoned again without charge, which ended after international pressure against her detention. In violation of the Geneva Convention, Israel exiled her to Gaza.

Reema Oleyyan Awad

Reema and her 18-month-old daughter Qamar were arrested in January 2013 whilst trying to access Palestinian land in the south Hebron Hills, which has been illegally confiscated by the Metzpeh Yair settlement outpost.

Kifah Awni Othman Qatash

In 2005 Kifah Qatash stood for municipal elections on the Change and Reform list. Kifah was held for  368 days in detention without charge or trial, based on secret evidence not available to her or to her lawyers. Kifah suffers from numerous health problems, and her health was put at extreme risk during her interrogations and detention.

thanks to: Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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