So far 2023 has been a grueling year for Palestinians. In just two months Israeli occupation forces and settlers, under apartheid Israel’s far-right settler-colonial government, have carried out violent attacks and pogroms. At least 70 Palestinians, including 14 children have been murdered by Israel.
During its brutal establishment through the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns, Zionist militias and, later, Israeli forces committed massacres and used rape to terrorize Indigenous Palestinians and to induce their mass ethnic cleansing–the Nakba. Ever since, apartheid Israel has continued its oppression in an ongoing Nakba, directing its violent misogyny to Indigenous Palestinian women, viewing them as a “demographic threat”.
Generations of Palestinian women, along with the wider community, have endured multiple forms of systemic racism and colonialism. Simultaneously, Palestinian women have led the internal struggle for social and gender justice. They have defied all forms of oppression and played a leading role in shaping and articulating our collective vision towards liberation and social emancipation.
On this International Women’s Day, we are sharing stories of Palestinian women who embody resistance and steadfastness- Sumud.
We reiterate that justice is always a feminist issue, including in Palestine, and the rights of women are fundamental to our movement’s pursuit of a safe, just and dignified world for all.
Shireen Abu Akleh
The icon of the Palestinian press, Shireen was part of every Palestinian and Arab home. She did not leave a Palestinian village, city, or camp without reporting a journalistic story about it or from it, until she was assassinated by apartheid Israel’s occupation forces while she was covering their storming of Jenin’s refugee camp on 11-5-2022.
In difficult moments, I overcame fear. I chose journalism so I can be close to people. It is not easy to change reality, but at least I was able to convey that voice to the world, I’m Shireen Abu Akleh.
The sister of the two martyrs, Jawad and Dhafer Al-Rimawi
I know very well that lamentation will not bring Jawad and Zafer home, and I know that this pain will not be eased by anything. But I insist on speaking continuously, believing in the power of the word and its extended impact, and believing that talking about Jawad and Zafer and their lives is another form of resistance as well. This pain is not right for it to be repeated, it is not right for another sister to lose her two brothers, nor for a mother to live the heartbreak of her losing her children, nor for a family to bury their happiness in one day and forever. This injustice must end, and I know very well that it will end, and I know that the sun of truth, even if it is long in its absence, will shine one day, and I know with certainty that Jawad and Zafer are two names that will be immortalized in history and their stories will be told by generations.
Those responsible for killing my brothers must be held accountable. The Israeli occupation must end and its war criminals must be taken to court. How many more tragedies does the world need to see in order to act?
Umm Al-Abd, Halima Al-Kiswani
Halima was born in 1938 in the village of Beit Iksa, east of Jerusalem, and today lives in the Zarqa refugee camp in Jordan.
When the Zionist gangs attacked the village of Deir Yassin and committed the massacres there, my father, fearing that the Zionist gangs would attack women and kill children, had us flee the village towards the Jordan Valley.
Her song “Support one another people of Palestine” became famous last year and spread hope in the hearts of viewers, at a time when the Palestinians were facing difficult days and massacres in Gaza, Nablus and Jenin.
The mother of the martyr Razan Najjar, who was shot by Israeli Apartheid forces on 1-6-2018 while providing assistance to the wounded in the Great March of Return in Gaza Strip.
One week after Razan’s martyrdom, I volunteered with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society to prove that nothing can break the Palestinian women… When I see the wounded whom Razan was helping, this prompts me to continue her journey, as she sacrificed her life for the sake of the dignity of the wounded Palestinians in the Great March of Return.