Palestinian Women and Children Defy Israeli Laws and Visit Jerusalem

19 December 2011

On Saturday, December 17, 2011, several dozen Palestinian women and their children from several villages and towns in the West Bank were supported by a group of Israeli women as they visited Jerusalem, defying the arbitrary Israeli laws that make Jerusalem and the rest of Israel forbidden zones for most Palestinians living in the West Bank. Occupied East Jerusalem is held out by many Palestinians as the future capitol of their state, and it is a city of great religious, cultural, and historical significance to Palestinians. This past Saturday was a continuation of Israeli-Palestinian women actions which challenge the apartheid policies of Israeli Authorities, that have been occurring for the past year and a half.

Young Israeli mothers from Tel Aviv and Jaffa and their children joined the Palestinian families for creative workshops and joint games in a public park. The mixed group of almost 80 Israelis and Palestinian women and children enjoyed a delicious picnic meal based on Palestinian cooking. Many Palestinian women activists from Beit Ommar have taken the led in organizing these actions to challenge the occupation.

Asked by a correspondent how they feel about this action and the risks involved, as well as the idea of cooperating with Israelis, one of the Palestinian organizers said: “Our life is hard. We and our children need a break, this is a good opportunity to feel free and happy. Just like the Israeli women, our goal is to make a political statement against the occupation of Palestine. We defy the illegal, inhuman, Israeli system that constantly oppresses us”.

The group issued a statement helping to contextualize the political implications of these actions which read:

“We hereby, publicly reassert, that we do break and shall continue to break the laws and orders that limit the right to freedom of movement of the civilian population in the West Bank. We challenge the wisdom, morality and legality of such decrees. We seek the path of civil disobedience against an arbitrary system that, for the past 44 years, has deprived millions of people of their human and civil rights, placing them under a military regime and behind walls, barriers and checkpoints.”