Womens’ Organizing Conference

On Saturday, March 10th, 2012, more than 400 Palestinian women, supported by Israeli and international activists, gathered in the village of Beit Ommar for the second womens’ organizing conference of popular resistance to the occupation. Women of all ages arrived in the village from various parts of the West Bank, and were joined by both Palestinians and Israelis who had taken the trip from Israel. After a cup of tea or coffee, registration and social mingling, close to 400 women found their seats in the main hall.
The topic for this conference was “Practicing Civil Obedience”. Banners at the conference center showed slogans like “End the occupation” and “Tear down the wall” and expressed support for Hana Shalabi, the Palestinian political prisoner on hunger strike for more than three weeks.

Representatives from different groups were present, at the conference and gave updates of the current work and activities being done by women against the occupation. Translation in Hebrew, Arabic and English was available for all conference participants. The conference opened with a moment of silence in a mark of respect for the dead after Israel’s recent bombing of Gaza.

Introductory speeches were held by Mrs. Ebtesam Zidan, Chair of the Palestinian Women’s Struggle Committee Union and Ilana Hammerman, founder of the Lo Metsayat Group. After the introduction, Rona Konen gave a musical performance. The conference then continued with a panel discussion, discussing civil disobedience initiatives. The Israeli lawyer Lea Tzemel gave a good talking from the legal point of view, giving a harsh criticizing of the Israeli legal system.

After lunch, professor Nurit Elhanan-Peled gave a speech about The Apartheid Report, arguing that Israel is in fact an apartheid state. Another panel discussion started, discussing non-violent resistance where 15-year-old Rand Waleed Abdul Razzak raised her strong voice on behalf of the young people, telling about settlers with weapons taking over their houses with the help of the soldiers, and daily arrests, both violations making life so unlivable.