Palestinian women in Jerusalem are under constant attack by both Israeli state forces and at the hands of vigilantes, a coalition of groups stated Saturday.
Speaking as “women, mothers, sisters, daughters and youth,” the Jerusalemite Women’s Coalition is calling “for the protection of our bodily safety and security when in our homes, walking in our neighborhood, reaching schools, clinics, work places and worship venues.”
More than 60 Palestinians have been killed so far this month. While the majority are young men, and at least 15 of those slain were under 18 years old, women have also been targeted by Israeli occupation forces.
Killed at checkpoints
On Sunday, Dania Irsheid, 17, was shot dead at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron, where eyewitnesses reported that soldiers searching her schoolbag demanded to know “where is the knife.” When she replied that there was no knife and raised her hands, she was shot seven or eight times, witnesses said.
Bayan Ayman Abd al-Hadi al-Esseili, 16, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on 17 October. The soldiers claimed that she had tried to attack them with a knife near the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron.
In September, Hadil Saleh Hashlamoun, 18, was shot and left to bleed at an Israeli checkpoint in Hebron. Israeli soldiers claimed that she had tried to stab them, but like in the slayings of al-Esseili and Irsheid, no injuries were reported and eyewitnesses rejected this version of events.
Photographs of Hashlamoun after she was shot were circulated and mocked by Israelis on social media. The images showed the woman, who had in life had worn very modest Islamic dress, clad only in her underwear.
In the Jerusalem village of Issawiyeh, 65-year-old Huda Darwish died on 19 October after Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters in the area. The driver of a car carrying Darwish was delayed while attempting to exit the village through an Israeli checkpoint, and Darwish died shortly after reaching hospital.
And in Gaza City, 30-year-old Nour Rasmi Hassan was killed along with her two-year-old daughter Rahaf in an Israeli airstrike on their home. Hassan was five months pregnant at the time; three of her other children were also injured.
In Afula, a city in northern Israel, police officers shot a Palestinian woman, Israa Abed, multiple times while her hands were up on 9 October. Israeli media claimed that the woman was wielding a knife and attempted to stab a bus driver. But videos show that Abed posed no threat at the time that she was shot and seriously injured.
The Jerusalem coalition claims that women live in a “state of fear and horror” as Israel “regularly executes Palestinians in the streets.”
Palestinian women there are in a particularly precarious position in Jerusalem, abused by the Israeli state which rules their immediate environment but not falling under even the hypothetical protection of the Palestinian Authority.
“We, the women of occupied East Jerusalem, are politically orphaned,” the groups state. “We are victims without protection, as the Palestinian Authority has no right to protect us in our city, and the Israeli state treats us as terrorists that should be humiliated, attacked, violated and controlled.”
The extent of Israeli control goes well beyond the current violence, extending to the “water, cell phones, Internet, mobility, health [and] economy” of Palestinian women in Jerusalem.
The groups call on the international community to pressure Israel to observe UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which “reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”