In commemoration of International Women’s Day, the State of Palestine takes this opportunity to remind the World and the international community of the impact of the prolonged Israeli occupation on women’s rights. Palestinian women and girls suffer from systematic and widespread violations of their fundamental rights, including the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, the right to self-determination, the right of return and access to services in violation of international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and relevant United Nations resolutions.
Palestinian women and girls are regularly subjected to violence, threats, intimidation and discrimination as a result of the illegal Israeli policies and practiced, such as, but not limited to, extrajudicial killings and injury, home demolitions, confiscation of land, destruction of property, forced displacement, arbitrary detention, harassment, collective punishment and settlers’ terrorism. Below are few of the violations that Palestinian women and girls are subjected to.
Unlawful killing and injuries
In 2019, 144 Palestinians were unlawfully killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The numbers included 9 women and 28 children. Since the beginning of 2020, 12 Palestinians were illegally killed by Israeli occupation forces, including 3 children.
Moreover, a total of 15491 Palestinians were injured in 2019 by Israeli occupation forces, including 732 women and 227 girls. In 2020, 1102 Palestinians were injured including 5 women and 5 girls. Since 30 March 2018, more than 2000 women and 600 girls were injured during the “Great March of Return” demonstrations as a result of gas inhalation, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
Unlawful Detention and ill-treatment of detainees
In 2019, Israeli occupation forces intensified arbitrary arrest campaigns against Palestinian children and women. According to the Statistics of The Palestinian Prisoners Society, 128 Palestinian women and girls were arbitrarily detained by Israeli occupation forces in 2019, and hundreds were summoned in for interrogation. Currently, 44 women and girls languish in Israeli detention centers under no legal basis.
Female detainees suffer from harsh imprisonment conditions including medical negligence, denial of education, denial of family visits, solitary confinement, overcrowded cells which are often filled with insects and dirt and lack natural light. Personal health and hygiene needs are not provided for female detainees even for pregnant women and those on their menstrual cycle.
Moreover, women detainees are subjected to psychological torture and ill-treatment throughout the process of their arrest and detention, including sexual violence, such as physical torture, insults, threats, violent body searches, and sexually explicit harassment. These techniques of torture and ill-treatment are used are used by Israeli occupation forces to humiliate Palestinian women and coerce them into giving confessions.
Demolitions and Displacement
Palestinian women and girls live under the omnipresent threat of having their homes demolished or of being forcibly evicted. The result of intimidation and possibility of losing their livelihood has profound economic, social, and psychological consequences on women and their families, who are often left homeless, or resulted to live in over-crowded, or less than adequate conditions. Such illegal actions taken by Israeli occupation forces violate the right of Palestinian women and girls to adequate housing as well as their right to family and private life.
According to the Statistics of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli occupation forces demolished 632 structures in various regions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2019, resulting in the displacement of 914 Palestinians, including women and girls. Since January 2020, 87 structures were demolished by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, causing the displacement of 163 Palestinians, including women and girls.
Illegal settlement and settlers’ violence
The Wall and its associated regime, including the establishment and expansion of illegal settlements, increase settlers’ violence against Palestinian people, particularly women and girls. Women and children are afraid of leaving their homes alone because of the constant settlers’ violence during the day and night. Settlers’ violence is explicitly increasing against Palestinians due to the lack of accountability for the perpetrators.
In 2019, 817 cases of Israeli settlers’ aggression against Palestinians, including women and girls, have been documented, as 2 Palestinians were killed and 113 were injured. The highest numbers of these attacks were documented in Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah. Since the start of 2020, 87 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians have been documented in the West Bank including 30 incidents in Jerusalem.
- Israel, the occupying power, should be held at account for the violations it is systematically committing against the Palestinian people, in particular women and girls;
- The international community has a responsibility to end the illegal and abhorrent policies and practices carried out by the Israeli occupation. Thus, the international community is under the obligation to provide protection for the Palestinian people, especially women and girls, in accordance with their duty to respect and ensure respect of international humanitarian law, international human rights law;
- The international community must continue to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families.
Photo credit: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com
 According to the statistics of Al-Haq Organization for 2019.
 OCHA, Humanitarian snapshot: Casualties in the context of demonstrations and hostilities in Gaza | 30 Mar 2018 – 31 October 2019, available at: https://www.ochaopt.org/contenl/humanitarian-snapshot-casualties-context demonstrations-and-hostilities-gaza-30-mar-2018-3
 According to the statistics of The Commission of Detainees and EX- Detainees Affairs, March 2020.
 OCHA, Settler related violence, available at: https://www.ochaopt.org/page/settler-related-violence