Hundreds Attend Women’s Day Organizing Conference in Beit Ommar
On Saturday, March 12th, 2011, over three hundred women gathered together in the Palestinian village of Beit Ommar for conference organized by the Center for Freedom and Justice, with the support of the Palestine Solidarity Project. Among the participants were approximately 100 Israeli women solidarity activists and about 20 internationals. The 200 Palestinian women attendees came from Beit Ommar and from surrounding villages such as Surif, Al-Arroub Refugee Camp, Al-Jab’a, and Halhoul.
The conference was a new step in a long-standing political cooperation between a group of Israeli women anti-occupation activists and Palestinian women from Beit Ommar area, which began last year with a highly-publicized campaign of Israeli women bringing Palestinian women to the sea and other areas of historic Palestine in defiance of the laws that prohibit such movement without Israeli military permit. Approximately 70 Palestinian women, age 17-50, and 30 Israeli women participated in the campaign of defying the checkpoints, which was inspired by Israeli journalist Ilana Hammerman, who was being investigated for a similar act which she then wrote about in an Israeli newspaper. The conference was organized to expand the joint work between women and marked International Women’s Day. Participants strategized about how to end the Israeli occupation and to increase partnership initiatives between Palestinian and Israeli women. The conference started at 10:30 in the morning, and lasted for six hours. The conference included performances of traditional Palestinian song and dance. A theatrical piece about the occupation was also performed for the hundreds gathered.