Israeli Women Visit Beit Ommar

28 August 2011

This past Saturday, twenty-eight Israeli women visited Beit Ommar at the invitation of the Beit Ommar Women’s Committee. The event was organised to give the women a chance to eat together, mingle, and discuss the challenges that citizens of Beit Ommar face on a daily basis.

Iman Abu Maria started the discussion by illustrating the situation in Beit Ommar. She highlighted the problems caused by the five illegal settlements which surround Beit Ommar, including the regular settler assaults on Palestinian farmers cultivating their own land.

The issue of escalating violence from the Israeli military was also discussed, both in terms of the growing number of nighttime raids carried out in the town, and the increasingly violent repression of the town’s weekly peaceful protest against the illegal settlement of Karmei Tsur. Iman also drew attention to the case of Majde Za’aqiq, a local elementary school teacher and member of the popular committee, who remains in jail awaiting trial for fabricated charges of stone throwing (report here).

After Iman finished speaking, four members of the popular committee discussed the town’s plans for September. On September 17th, the popular committee plans to host a demonstration in remembrance of the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Part of this demonstration will involve releasing one thousand black balloons, each with a name of a Palestinian who was killed during the 1982 massacres.

The meeting was successful in attempting to demonstrate to the Israeli women the plight of the Palestinians in Beit Ommar. A positive discussion was held afterwards during which there was agreement that the occupation was unjust, and the cause of much suffering. The Israeli women departed with a promise to help the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, equality, and freedom – in any way they can.